CIA FIRST International School in Phnom Penh has been a close friend with SCAO for the past few years. This is all through the work of Andre Struve, the Director of CIA FIRST International School. Andre was also one of the first volunteers at SCAO over five years ago. Through this connection there has been a symbiotic relationship that has been growing and developing ever since.
In the recent weeks, SCAO has invited the High School students of CIA FIRST out to SCAO II. Here the students were shown SCAO II in Som Roung Village, and the work that SCAO does in Som Roung. Most students from CIA FIRST have never been to a rural Cambodian village and were unsure of some of the challenges that face a Cambodian family living in rural areas. Grades 9 through 12 were invited to spend a morning at SCAO II. When they arrived a presentation was given by Peter, Development Officer, and Leah, Research Officer.
In this presentation they were encouraged to discuss some of the challenges that they think the families in the village face on a day to day basis. This was a very interesting and stimulating discussion by the students, and in the end they uncovered all the major challenges that face families and even some more underlying issues.
After the presentation, began the Preschool Class. Here the CIA FIRST students observed the volunteers and how they conduct the class. Then started some arts and crafts with the preschool students such as; finger-painting, coloured masks, and animal drawings.
At the beginning both sets of students were very shy, but after time everyone joined in and was having fun playing with the paint. Once the cleaning and tidy up was finished, it was time for the “Good-bye Song”, everyone joined in and the Preschool Class was dismissed. The CIA FIRST students then observed an ABC Beginner class that is thought by the volunteers. Here they had the opportunity to see how SCAO runs classes on a daily basis. By 12:30pm it is time for the CIA FIRST students to return to the bus and make their way back to CIA FIRST for their afternoon Khmer classes.
The relationship between SCAO and CIA FIRST is very unique. It brings the youth of Cambodia from different social classes together in a fun and enjoyable environment. It is a capacity building and educational project that we hope to run again in the next academic calendar.