We wish to establish a Student Development Program in 2019. The aim of this program is to inspire our students to become leaders through mentoring and exploring the world around them.
Most of our students come from vulnerable backgrounds, and although they are surrounded by great role models when they study at Human and Hope Association, we can’t say the same for their home lives. This development program will see the students immersed in mentoring activities, excursions and leadership workshops so they can expand their minds, knowledge, skills and teamwork.
Our country is in need of ethical leaders. We know that it is difficult to make the change from high up, which is why our grassroots approach is most effective. We are essentially building tomorrow’s leaders who will act with compassion, empathy and integrity.
The five activities that will form the Student Development Program are:
1. Mentoring program
During this program, our Education and Community Manager will provide mentoring opportunities for our graduated English students by, where they will have the opportunity to explore their future goals. This will include tailoring their study plans to achieve this, identifying other available resources to accelerate their learning, discussing what future employment opportunities may look like and identifying tertiary opportunities including scholarships and vocational training centres to make this a reality.
This program is in response to Cambodia’s low enrollment rates in secondary education and even lower completion rates. A total of 6.26% of those aged 25 and over, with only 3.32% of females aged 25 and over, have completed upper secondary education (UNESCO, 2009). Only 13.14% of Cambodians are enrolled in tertiary education (UNESCO, 2017).
This program will be held over six months, where 30 students who have graduated from our final English level will participate in mentoring sessions with our Education and Community Manager. Students will be divided into two groups to ensure the delivery of quality mentoring and fostering strong relationships. Our Education and Community Manager has seven years of experience with HHA and has built the trust of his students and their parents through running parenting workshops, conducting outreach and running English and preschool classes. The students will engage in games, teamwork activities, class discussions and put what they have learned into action by developing their own work plans. The students are required to work independently and on the agreed date, report back on their work plan and discuss what they have practised with their mentor at school and what new skills they have developed. This is also part of our monitoring and evaluation process to measure our student’s achievements and how we can improve the program for subsequent years.
The student’s parents will also be involved in the program to acknowledge any barriers or reservations they may have about the program. Their participation will also ensure that they understand what their child’s goal is (particularly if this is a first-time introduction to an idea), how they can help keep their child on track with their work plan and ensure students achieve their goals.
2. Immersion Excursions
With 35% of Cambodians living in poverty (under $1.90USD a day), and 45% of Cambodians who live in poverty are under the age of 19 years old or younger (UNDP, 2018), the majority of our students are part of these figures and are not fortunate enough to leave their village often. Our excursions will encourage the students to learn about the world around them by partaking in various interactive experiences that promote curiosity and inspire them to continue with their studies.
Three times a year, 55 of our 170 students aged from nine and up will be selected to join the trips through a ‘lucky draw’, with priority in the latter two instances placed on students who have not yet participated. In addition to visiting different locations, a mentoring session will be conducted throughout the trips to reflect on what the students learn and experience.
This will complement visits to business ventures for example, where students will obtain knowledge and ideas on how to run a business in the future and what types of professions they may be interested in aspiring towards. There will also be team building games for students to learn the qualities of respect, team-building, cooperation and an appreciation for the environmental sustainability. The suggested excursions are as follows:
Trip 1: Visit Angkor Wat, the Angkor National Museum and other business ventures (i.e. hotels, restaurants, pubs etc.)
Trip 2: Go to the cinema and play football (Cambodia’s favourite sport)
Trip 3: Join social events such as planting trees, cleaning up rubbish or visiting Phare, the Cambodian Circus
3. Youth Leadership Scholarships
We will provide 10 of our outstanding students with scholarships to join the 16-day Possibilities World Youth Leadership program. We have been sending our staff on training workshops held by Possibilities World since 2014, and always feel empowered and inspired when they return. We want our students over the age of 12 to feel the same way and showcase the value in education and early opportunities. We will select the participants as follows:
Priority 1: The top three performing students aged between 12 and 19
Priority 2: Students who are outstanding role models and have received a certificate of appreciation for their good behaviour
Priority 3: Students who are quiet achievers, particularly girls, whose efforts can go unnoticed
The students will engage in the following topics:
1. Self-leadership and confidence development
2. Goal-setting and project management
3. Effective problem-solving and resourcefulness
4. Proactive team development and communication
Upon the completion of the program, students will be able to acquire skills in identifying and supporting the needs of others and themselves, managing peer pressure, believing in their values and worth, developing critical thinking skills to help them in positive decision-making, and the importance of working collectively and collaboratively in overcoming challenges. This will further address gender inequalities in Cambodia, whereby boys will learn to respect and work well with girls, while girls are empowered and realise their full potential beyond the household.
This gendered-approach is to address the unequal representation of women in decision- making decisions in Cambodia. Female representation in the Senate, for example, has remained unchanged since 1999 and sits under 15% (UNDP, 2014). At a local level, there are currently no female Governors, the highest position, at a provincial/capital level. Also, only two out of 197 Governor positions in municipalities, districts and khans are held by women (UNDP, 2014).
4. Further Education Scholarships
Our English language program teaches children aged six and upwards between phonics and elementary level and has a 90% pass rate. This is particularly important given that most children who first join HHA are generally illiterate; a reality which is harshly reflected in the 2 million illiterate Cambodians aged 15 and above, with a disproportionate amount of more than 50% of that being female (UNESCO, 2015). Due to the extra classes held at public school which our high school students need to attend, they are unable to attend English classes at HHA during our regular 8am – 5pm hours.
To ensure our outstanding students are able to continue with their English education which will open up future employment and university opportunities, we will establish Further Education Scholarships for five students who have completed their final level at HHA.
The scholarships are purely for students we have identified as living in poverty through our assessment surveys. These students who have passed their final level at HHA are eligible to apply to receive five terms of sponsored English education at the Australian Centre for Education (ACE) Siem Reap. We have previously sponsored five staff members to study at ACE, and know they have a proven track record with providing quality education with results.
All students who apply will partake in an interview to determine their willingness to learn, the likelihood they will comply with the scholarship contract and their reasons for pursuing further education. Their parents will be involved in this process to ensure they are also committed to supporting their child’s education for the duration of the scholarship and to discuss any concerns they may have which may inhibit their child from studying, such as familial commitments.
The five recipients of the scholarship will be required to ‘give back’ to our organisation by volunteering their time as a teacher’s assistant in our art class and library for a minimum of three hours a week. For those students who demonstrate outstanding leadership skills, they can also volunteer as a teacher’s assistant in our Sunday English classes to obtain additional hours of experience. This will not only develop their leadership and problem- solving skills and provide them with vital hands-on experience, it will also present the opportunity for them to offer additional one-on-one support to students in the English, art and library programs as mentors and positive role models.
5. Leader of the Year Awards
To recognise and reward our students for their newly developed leadership abilities, we will initiate the ‘Leader of the Year’ awards. The process will be as follows:
– A speaking contest on the topic of personal leadership will be held in each of our – English and Khmer language classes
– The two best leaders from each class will be invited to join the Leader of the Year awards, and will be provided with a problem to solve in their community
– The students will then present on their problems and solutions in a speaking competition whereby their parents and the wider community are invited to join
– The winner will be determined by a panel including our staff and community members and will be based on creativity, pragmatism and the level of understanding for the problem
– There will be two winners; those aged 12 and under and those aged 13 and older.
They will be provided with a framed certificate, two movie tickets, 10kg of rice and a $10 gift certificate to spend on education supplies at HHA. All finalists will receive an eco-bag and reusable water bottle, as part of our commitment to environmental protection.