Welcome to Opportunity Cambodia
And the exciting news that we have completed our purpose built children's education centre and have spent our first very happy and successful year there.
Inspired by the global call to action 'To Make Poverty History' Opportunity Cambodia was set up to provide opportunity through education and training for poor and vulnerable children in rural Cambodia, so that they can become healthy, self-empowered and self sustaining members of their society.
In the Khmer language Oka Tmay means 'new opportunity'. This was the name of our first children's facility that we established in a rented village house in 2009. The program at Oka Tmay has been very successful in improving the health of the 14 boys and girls who board with us, and in assisting them to achieve excellent results at school.
Encouraged by these outcomes we bought a large block of land in the village and in January last year we completed our new Oka Tmay, a purpose built facility which will accommodate an additional 16 very poor children who would not otherwise receive an education. We now have a total of 30 children. The new building includes dormitories, classrooms and a library, and its design allows for expansion if more funds become available in the future. We have enough land to enable the children to grow vegetables and fruit trees and to raise chickens. There is also room for a volley ball court – a favourite sport in Cambodia.
At Oka Tmay the children receive the essentials necessary to provide a firm foundation for learning – shelter, nutritious food, health care, clothing, love and support. The children are aged between 9 and 11 when they first come to board at the centre. We assist them to go home on weekends and holidays, and families visit the children whenever they wish. We encourage the families to have an involvement in the life of the centre.
Due to the acute shortage of teachers in Cambodia children can attend the government schools for half of the day. The children at the centre attend the local school and we provide additional teaching and activities for the rest of the day. Our objective is for the children not only to learn, but to have the opportunity to develop their interests and talents in physical, creative and cultural pursuits as well as just to have fun and enjoy life. We monitor the progress of each child. The 14 children who have been with us since 2009 are doing wonderfully well – they are healthier, more confident , and are achieving excellent school results.
As with our first group, the new intake of children also come from communities living in extreme poverty. It is heartening to think that Opportunity Cambodia can enable these children to prosper in the same way, to gain an education and the opportunity to lead more productive and fulfilling lives.
Opportunity Cambodia's commitment to these children is to support them through their education, and to ensure that they have appropriate training to enable them to earn their own living.