The English Language School
Roteang's young people recognize that learning English will help them move from their parents' lives of subsistence farming and fishing to jobs in business, tourism, education, and so on.
The Foundation sponsors 16 daily English classes, attended voluntarily by about 450 children after regular Khmer school hours, five days a week, year-round. We are able to use village school classrooms for this program in exchange for doing all the public school maintenance, including yearly painting of the school, putting in electricity, maintaining the school library, and regularly replacing white boards.
Classes are taught by carefully selected bilingual Cambodians, for whom we also provide ongoing English language instruction at the Australia Center for Education in Phnom Penh, as well as regular teacher training. We have employed some of our TSF-sponsored graduates of the prestigious Institute for Foreign Language of the Royal University of Phnom Penh as teachers in our English program. Our village students are so eager to learn English that many have formed study groups that meet early on weekend mornings.
The Sewing School
A four-month course, enrolling two new female students every two months, teaches young women a skill that enables them to support their families substantially better than they can by farming. The selected students are paid from their first day in sewing school.
They start by making white school uniform shirts, which with blue pants or skirts, are put together in school uniform packets and delivered to poor schools that need them, or to SCAD (Street Children's Assistance and Development), which works to get street children into school.
The Sewing School is a win/win program, as the students learn a trade that can get them a well-paying supervisory job in the garment industry, and TSF can donate 1,400+ uniforms yearly to kids who might otherwise not be able to go to school. Sewing students, as they develop more skills, make the tote bags, back packs, and purses which are brought to the USA and sold by volunteers at church fairs and the like, thus making the sewing school self-sustaining. A few graduates choose to stay on in the sewing school shop, earning substantial money by piecework. Even with the economic downturn in Cambodia, as American companies buy fewer Cambodian–made garments, our trained graduates have no problem getting jobs in the garment industry
The Computer School
Opened in 2006, the computer school offers computer classes five days a week utilizing ten donated laptops and a few older desk tops. Students are picked by lottery and attend daily for six weeks to learn word processing and spreadsheets, and see a bit of the internet on our one slow connection. After all the lottery groups go through, the group rotation starts again.
After the graduation of our first college students in August 2009, we hired Kuch Seiha, our I.T. graduate, to start another class, doubling the size of our computer school. Seiha has also started a class with a group of young village children using donated computers from the "one laptop per child" program.
Beng Krom School
Beng Krom is a very poor village on the far side of the Mekong River. Since 2006, we have provided uniforms and school supplies for about 750 students there, and also installed a large rainwater collection system and three latrines. At the principal’s request, we built a large playground, the first ever for these school children.
Beng Krom is a very poor village on the far side of the Mekong River. Since 2006, we have provided school uniforms twice every year since, plus all the school copybooks, pens and pencils for this school of 750 children.
In 2008, we built new latrines for Beng Krom school, a 3-unit system, updating their very primitive outhouses. In 2004 we learned that the Beng Krom school had extremely high arsenic levels in the wells the government had installed to provide drinking water. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, TSF built a huge rainwater collection system using rain collected off the school roof, funneled into a giant tank, and then pumped into filtered vats with spigots.
The Farm Project
The TSF farm project serves the poorest families of Roteang village. We lease land and provide seeds, fertilizer, tools, and supervision to indigent farmers who grow their own vegetables. Surplus is sold, providing families with home improvement credits that can be exchanged for new roofs, toilets, and water collection tanks.
The only requirement of the farmers is that they send their children to school. The TSF farm school, built at the edge of the fields, serves nearly 150 children daily, in three shifts. Learning to read and write is pure joy for these children of illiterate farmers.TSF built a two-room thatched private school at the edge of the fields in 2002, and hired two excellent Khmer teachers. Today about 140 children go to this school, in three shifts, daily. Many of the children have now been able to advance to the regular village school. One farm project girl finished high school and is now a TSF-sponsored university student in Phnom Penh—an example of the success of this program.
Roteang Village School
The Sharing Foundation provides general support for more than 800 children who attend the Roteang village public school by donating supplies and uniforms for needy students. Even the six dollar cost of two uniforms a year can prevent a child from attending school. The Foundation also built a new playground, as well as new classrooms and a library in 2004. The library, with over 400 colorful books, is among the first in Cambodia’s public schools. In 2014, we will completely replace a second dilapidated classroom building. The school, in return, allows TSF to use their space nightly for our English school.