The English program at Human and Hope Association is run by three Cambodian staff who all study at University. Through weekly meetings, feedback sessions and training, they are constantly developing the program to ensure it has a maximum impact. The English classes include general English, creative writing, conversational English and a young adult program. Classes are capped at 18 students to ensure quality of education.
The students learn from textbooks that have been developed by the education team at Human and Hope Association. These textbooks are culturally appropriate and relevant to Cambodians. They learn through games, reading, singing and visual aids. Once a week they study English in the library, utilising a large range of English reading materials. On average, 90% of students pass their six-monthly exams.
Every Friday, the students participate in life skills workshops that supplement the students’ academic learnings. This might seem unusual to a western audience, but the considerations we take for granted such as personal hygiene and setting appropriate boundaries are not as well understood in the Cambodian community. The absence of teaching these life skills puts the achievement of academic outcomes at risk. In many ways, these life skills workshops are critical enabling factors. A child’s health and security are a necessary first step before we can hope to improve their chances for a happier and more productive life through a better education.
The scholarship program at Human and Hope Association is for those students deemed in the ‘Poor Level 1 – 3’ category. Home assessments are conducted to determine the suitability of the student to the scholarship program. Their parents sign a contract with Human and Hope Association to ensure they are committed to their children’s study and won’t stop them from studying in order to work. Each student receives a shoulder bag made by sewing graduates that is made from rice bags and second-hand fabric. They also receive a textbook, pencil sharpener and eraser every term, along with a pen and pencil every month and a notebook every two months.
These scholarships provide the students with an opportunity to partake in English education they otherwise wouldn’t have had. This, combined with being around positive role models, will increase their chances at having a good education. Additionally, as a condition of the scholarship contract, their parents must take part in Human and Hope Association’s community workshops on topics such as child protection, domestic violence and budgeting. This enables whole families to be supported to break the cycle of poverty together.