In January Bennett travelled to Cambodia to experience the effect Room to Read has on students first hand. In 2016 Raven Supply and their partners raised $20,000.00 for 50 girls scholarships for girls in grade 9-12.
In the province of Kampong Thom, about a 2.5hr bus ride from Phnom Penh to the south, Bennett arrived at the school. He was welcomed by all 700 students and teachers lined up along the dirt road that leads into their school grounds. Overwhelmed by the excitement, Bennett was officially thanked by the School principal. He recalls the pure excitement of the students and the music coming over the loud speakers.
While at the school, Bennett joined in a few student-led study-clubs where the student who is doing the best in the subject leads the class. The study clubs not only help out struggling students but are helping develop leadership skills. “She will present a problem and then lead the class in solving it. There’s an emphasis on participation as she will ask students to volunteer and then they’ll go up to the class and try solving the problem.” The program has been working so well, the government is now doing its part to incorporate it in all schools.
In the afternoon, Bennett got a chance to sit down with some of the local students and their mothers. “All the parents were extremely proud of their daughters and elated that they’re given a chance to further themselves. They didn’t get this opportunity themselves when they were younger and were not encouraged to go to school. The biggest change they’ve seen since Room to Read started the program is that their daughters are so much more confident now in the things they do and that they’ll try to problem solve any obstacles that they encounter. The girls have big aspirations, wanting to become teachers, doctors, nurses, policewomen and even a tour guides so they can travel and even see snow one day!”
Bennett was surprised how a relatively small contribution from Raven has such a great impact. With our help, a few dozen families have been given a good chance to further their kid’s futures. He joined in a Goal Setting class where he could see their passion for bettering their lives, having careers and set a higher standard for girls in their community.
Onward he went to a guided group tour of the rest of the country. He was on an 11-day tour that brought him to several other towns and areas in Cambodia. Tourism is a large driver of the economy. In the end, he saw hope that Cambodia was moving forward. Solidifying the fact that, World Change Starts with educated children.