Cambodian Children Learning English For Better Skills and a Better Life
In 2014, FELTOM was approached by Amber Knights, the founder of the “Trying for Cambodia” project. Amber was preparing for her first triathlon to raise funds for the building of a language school for underprivileged children in Cambodia, a cause which had already found the support of the ELMA Foundation. In line with its CSR initiatives, FELTOM decided to support this project to set up an English Language library for ELMA’s school. Over €10,200 were raised by all parties involved and today, The FELTOM Library in Cambodia is up and running hosting a number of children on a daily basis.
“When Amber first asked FELTOM to support this project, we immediately saw an opportunity to take the FELTOM brand abroad. Today we are happy to see that the project has taken off and that the FELTOM Library and the many books that stock this library are giving children an opportunity to learn to read and write in English” says Genevieve Abela, CEO of FELTOM.
“Being associated with a noble project as this was an honour for FELTOM. It also underlines FELTOM’s international nature as an organisation that ensures the highest standards of English teaching to thousands of students who every year visit Malta from around the world purposely to learn English. After the trust that so many countries have shown in our industry over these years, we are now giving back something to a country which is trying to kick start its own tourism industry,” added Genevieve Abela.
Thanking FELTOM for its support towards the project, Amber Knights said “this project is very much close to my heart and I am delighted to say that a year on, the FELTOM Library is doing well and children attending ELMA’s school are using this library to better their English reading and writing skills in order to stand a better chance of finding employment in Cambodia’s growing tourist sector.”
“Malta has had the opportunity to thrive thanks to a population fluent in the English language. Cambodia’s tourist sector is slowly growing and the country is realising the importance of good spoken and written English to be able to nurture this sector. Thanks to this library, underprivileged children now have an opportunity to learn and develop their skills and can hope for a better life,” added Amber Knights.
The school in Siem Reap, Cambodia built by the ELMA Trust in 2006 comprised of two classrooms, until a further classroom was added 2008. The school never had a dedicated library and the few reading books available were kept on a few shelves in a small room that also served as the teacher’s office.
As the school expanded, with more pupils attending and the setting up of after-school clubs (music, dance, art and sports) the school director suggested the setting up of a brand new school library. The building was designed in Spring 2014 with building commencing in July 2014. The library was completed in time for the beginning of the new academic year in September 2014.
The library today houses a substantial number of books that are either donated or bought with donated funds. It also has a dedicated librarian (an ELMA SCHOOL graduate) who has catalogued the books and manages the lending system.
Jacquie Lawrence, Founder of The Elma Trust explained how the FELTOM Library at the Elma School has been invaluable.
“Not only has this project provided a space for all the books kindly donated, but it also provides a calm refuge for children to read in between classes which many of them do as they are so keen to practise their reading. It also provides a study space for class based projects and homework as many of the children do not have the space and quiet at home to study. During the lunchbreak, when many children go home to carry out their family duties, pre-schoolchildren from the village have been using a corner of the library for a play group. This has proven so popular that last month we raised money to build an extra kindergarten classroom. The Elma School now provides English lessons to children aged from 4 to 18 years.”