Sunday, 22 July 2012

The School with No Walls

21st July 2012, I set off on a journey, with the folks from PAC and a 38th SSEAYP batchmate Yoki, from Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, to Kampong Speu Province, some 40 over kilometres away.

The mission for the journey was to check out the 'school with no walls, and the village where there is no formal school' - which means, the children have no school to study in.

Journey with us, as we unveil the story behind the school with no walls...

The village and school is in Kompong Speu province, Oral District, Rasmey Samaki Commune, Peam Ros Village. It is slightly over 68km along National Road 4 from Phnom Penh and about 30km along the red dirt road; I would say, it's a really long journey.

The red dirt road seemed unending as we drove past countless potholes and finally, after the gruelling 2 over hours, we arrive at this place which crops spread through the horizon.

The nearest school which we passed, on the dirt road, is about 10 over kilometres from this village. This village consists of approximately 80 over families, and a total population of over 200. There are 79 children in this village. We proceeded to visit one of the families to understand about their background. 

This is the house that we are visiting - look at the walls. Have you ever thought of living in such a Home?

PAC is providing jobs to the families in this village, by getting the parents to work on the crops, and at the same time, building new homes to house these families. This house lives a family with 6 children. 

And next to this house....

The sickly old grandmother, who is paralysed on one side of her body,
lies in the hut, susceptible to the weather.

We asked the children of the family if they can write and only 1 girl was able to show us what she can do. , This little girl is able to write Cambodian consonants and vowels upon our request. We were surprised and it seems that the family stayed in Prey Veng years back and moved to Kampong Speu because the former employer at Prey Veng did not pay them to work on the crops. The girl had education till Grade 4 but had to stop when they moved to this village, as there is no government school for the children to go to.

The girl could also write most English alphabets, and some with prompts.

When asked if she wants to go to school, we could see that her eyes lit up. It really pains to see these children who have so much potential to learn and who wants to learn, but have no school to go to. Now this girl goes to the community school in the village, to study in Grade 2, which is the highest grade that the community school is providing for the villagers. While the young girl goes to school after lunch, we spotted the elder brother of this girl, working on the crops amongst some other children and youths, to earn income for the family.

Many of them said that they want to study, but there is no school and
they have to work to bring money back home for their parents. 

Finally, we made our way to 'the school with no walls' to take a look.

The young children, mostly girls were at the school. The skeletal frame of the school looks good but there are no walls.

This community school conducts Grade 1 and 2 lessons for the children and is conducted by the wife of the Village chief, for free. It is a school for any age, even some parents who pop into the class to learn. Children who were previously in higher grades, can only drop back to Grade 2, if they are attending this school.

And look who we spotted, the little girl who amazed us at her house earlier.
She cycled about 1 over kilometre with her little sister to attend school. Shy girl but she is enthusiastic
in answering my questions for the short 10 minutes I spent with the children in numerals 1 to 10

We are now looking for donors who can, at the shortest time, help sponsor to plank up the walls so that the classes will be sheltered from the harsh weather during lessons, before someone or some organisation takes on the project to build a permanent school building for this village.

In the long run, we are looking at potential organisations who are keen to take on the project to build a concrete building with 3 classrooms for this village. PAC will help to source for donors to employ and pay teachers to teach the children.

If you are keen to help, please do not hesitate to contact me at and we can work out more details.

All these would not have been possible without the folks of PAC (Poverty Alleviation Cambodia), an NGO as well as 38th batch SSEAYP mate, Yoki. Let's work towards a better world for everyone.

On Education: "If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people." ~ Confucius


  1. 十年树木百年树人,its the job of the current people nowadays.

    Let us spread this around so there will be more help going towards the needy.

  2. An incredible sharing of how brave they make the best of the life they have... makes me re think about how fortunate we are... how fortunate our students are.