Sunday, December 20, 2009

Celebrating Rotary Bicycles at Cambodia World Family-Krong Kep School

76 students had their dreams realized when they received a Rotary sponsored bicycle at a huge distribution ceremony at ‘Cambodia World Famly - Krong Kep School’ (CWF-Kep) on December 18th, 2009.

50 bicycles were sponsored by the Rotary Club of Bracebridge-Muskoka Lakes, Ontario, Canada and 22 by the Rotary Club of Orillia, Ontario, Canada. 4 more were sponsored by Pauline Johns, who helped me throughout this whole distribution here in Kep, Cambodia.

All of the recipients were students of CWF-Kep school who live miles away from this ‘Free English’ school, and from the nearest government school.

In Cambodia, children go to school six days a week. They usually attend the government school for part of their day, and then, if available, they attend extracurricular classes in English or other beneficial subjects. It costs some children a few cents a day to attend government school. Many can’t afford that, therefore many rely on these ‘Free English’ schools that are supported by organizations.

Here, in Kep Province, these ‘Free English’ schools are almost non-existent. The CWF-Kep school is the only one like it around for miles and miles. Kep district was still under the thumb of the Khmer Rouge until a few short years ago. This area sadly lacks the wealth of organizations which are seen operating throughout the province of Siem Reap. I couldn’t have been happier to see this wealth of bicycles go to such needy rural children. Now these children will have the necessary means to attend the Khmer, English, Sanitation and Computer classes that are available for free at this small, rural 3-room school. They’ll be able to come to its small Library and borrow one of its few books, take it home, and share literacy with their rural family.

The 76 bicycle recipients came from the villages of Phnom Lev, Chamkabei, Domnak Chang Aer, Oudong, Rones, Ampeang, Koh Soum, Kantal Toul and Prey Takov; all in Domnak Chang Aer District in Kep Province.

So - Big Reasons for a Big Celebration!

There was a huge audience in attendance - friends and family came from miles around to attend the 8:30am Ceremony. Many, Cambodian Commune and district officials also attended, including His Excellency Sam Sarin, Chief of the Kep Provincial Council. His moving speech gratefully acknowledged and thanked Rotary for its contribution to education in this impoverished province.

CWF-Kep director, Mr. Om Chamnap, outlined the many in-school and community outreach programs that the school provides. I’ll be filling you in on more of these as the weeks go by. This week Mr. Chamnap will be taking me with him to the rural village Khmer Literacy classes that he conducts - I will finally get some good Khmer Language lessons!

CWF-Kep also has 15 families on it’s waiting list for its Micro-Credit program. You can provide a poor rural family with a self-sustaining business for as little as US$100!

The last week of December will find me implementing the ‘Embracelets’ program for women and girls in rural Kep villages. More information on this ‘A Mine Free World Foundation’ sponsored project at

‘Cambodia World Family - Krong Kep’ is more than just a school for children. It also provides community outreach programs with a strong focus on bringing education and self-sustaining skills to rural women and girls. At present, there is a desperate need to have a few of its sewing machines fixed so it can reinstate its sewing classes for women. This beneficial program is presently suspended due to lack of funding. The library urgently needs both Khmer and English books, which can be bought here in Cambodia for a fraction of the cost in other countries. More bicycles are needed throughout this district!
Please visit the CWF-Kep website at to find out more and how you can donate to this school.

I’ll be here for many more weeks yet. Anyone in Canada who wishes to make a contribution towards this schools needs, can easily do so by sending your donation to ‘A Mine Free World Foundation’, 906 Fung Place, Kitchener, ON, Canada, N2A 4M3. Please indicate that your donation is for ‘CWF-Kep’. Your donation can be easily accessed by me in Cambodia, and 100% of your donation will go quickly into action here on-the-ground in Cambodia.

Many thanks to my fellow Rotarians in Bracebridge-Muskoka Lakes and Orillia…the Rotary International Emblem can now be proudly seen on the frames of many bicycles throughout this province as the children ride smiling to school!