February has been a very busy month. Students, teachers and volunteers, as well as the Chiro community have all worked hard to move us closer to our goals of a fruitful education for all in a resilient and independent community. We are happy to share that we have made progress on several fronts, the following are some of the highlights.
We have welcomed three new volunteers this month; Guillaume and Jean-Philippe from Canada are teaching English. Géraldine from France is also teaching English and working on improving and expanding our website
NEW BUNGALOWS PROJECT
The beginning of the month saw a start of our next building project. We are constructing four new bungalows which will accommodate eight new guests in total.
The project is progressing smoothly with the help of OBT staff, volunteers, and local workers The first two units are nearly completed and the third is rising fast. The timely completion is essential as we expect a group of 28 guests in late March! These additional accommodations will translate into additional income for OBT projects.
NEW MUSIC TEACHER
We are pleased to announce that Pli Muth has joined our staff of teachers. He is working with the students on music and traditional dance. With Pli Muth’ assistance means we can expand the depth and scope of instruction in these art forms helping to preserve the children’s heritage and nurture their talents.
PLASTIC PROJECT PROGRESS
The plastic project work is progressing on schedule spearheaded by Mekki and Caroline major accomplishment was the completion of an over 450 meters channel for a pipe to bring water to the plastic processing site. This was extremely demanding work as the ground in the area is very hard and largely overgrown with weeds and nettles and infested with ants. Volunteers and locals involved together in the hard work. We now have water at the site. Well done!
The next stage of the plastic project has started with the arrival Association Sourire’s group of four students and two teachers led by Denis Brunet. Their primary task will be construction of the workshop on the site designated for the project, and construction of the hardware necessary for the processing of the plastic into building materials. The structure will be on a steel frame and they have been constructing the necessary components with the help of Mr Thet from Chiro.
February has seen many important visits to OBT: The Kampong Cham branch of a Phnom Penh Christian charity led by Bun Horn visited us early in the month. This group has been a supporter of OBT for several years. They toured our campus and met with our students and brought gifts of Tshirts as well as a donation to support the school.
The Sala Bai School has been an important partner for OBT throughout the years. Emmanuelle Dethomas, the president of Agir Pour le Cambodge (APLC) in Paris and Phillipe Steinmetz, the director of Sala Bai School visited OBT this month. We discussed OBT’s current projects and achievements as well as our vision for the next five to ten years, and ways of advancing toward these goals in the current political and economic environment. It was a productive discussion. Sala Bai will continue to fund one of our teachers in the coming year. Emma will also contact Francois Ponchaud, the author of Cambodia:Ÿear Zero written during the Pol Pot regime to discuss possibly writing about contemporary Cambodia including OBT.
Aurora Elmore visited us from National Geographic Society to view and film our flagship building which they had sponsored. We also discussed our long term goals and a possible lasting partnership. In the short term National Geographic’s LX NEG fund will be covering the costs of the restaurant construction and the addition one hundred students to the OBT student body.
Tony Betts is a member of the Rotary Club of Redbrdge in UK. Clive, his friend told him about OBT, and recommended he visit us. After touring our campus Tony asked how his organization could help. We discussed our plan to become an accredited school so we can provide all of our children’s education, and the associated expenses for teachers, school materials, student’s uniforms and supporting services. Tony will discuss with his club how they could become involved in this goal.
We were also pleased to host a member of Passerelles Numeriques, An NGO which has had a presence in Cambodia since 2007, and who strives to assist disadvantaged youth through education in technology fields. We have recently equipped our computer lab and are in need of instructors and expertise. Passerelles Numeriques is looking to branch out from Phnom Penh into the countryside. This may prove to be a productive partnership as our target populations of disadvantaged youth and our values of equality and accessibility of education parallel each other