The privilege of education

Year 7 students were privileged to have three students from Cambodia come and speak to us this week. Pheak, Synich and Ramey spoke about their journey of four years, from a life of illiterate poverty to being able to speak almost fluent English and studying masters in business and international relations. This was all because of their participation in a NGO, the Cambodia Rural Students Trust (CRST), dedicated to allowing all Cambodian children to have an education and to eventually go to university; opening up many avenues for their future.

The massive impact of the Khmer Rouge regime resulted in a whole generation not being able to read or write, as schools were closed during that time. Because of this effect, mainly being erosion of educational and social infrastructures, especially in the impoverished countryside, a large number of families cannot afford to send their children to school and they are often left to roam the streets, sent to work on the land. Many children of these families end up dropping out of school very early on to help their parents earn money, if they are lucky enough to go in the first place.

The parents of the three speakers were very dedicated to enforcing study habits and helping their children get through school, as they had such a value for education because they grew up without one.

When these three children found the CRST they also formed an appreciation for what an education could do for them and how it could help others. CRST has set up Project Y Frozen Yogurt, where all of their profits from selling frozen yogurt remain in the NGO to sponsor students and give them High School & University education, as well as community projects. CRST has also begun “PROJECT G, as in G for Girls”, which is focused on bringing women’s health education and sustainable feminine hygiene solutions to girls in rural Cambodia.

It is fascinating to think how different our lives our from theirs; we don’t have to worry about dropping out of school or whether we will have a meal that will sustain us through the day. This presentation made us think deeply about how we take all our belongings for granted, especially the privilege of receiving an education. It really made me, personally, thankful for what I have.

Maya Saxon Kron (Year 7)

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