In a small community in Cambodia, 10-year-old Hoo Ponloeu spends much of her free time reading books with her friends in the new community library. The library has become a refuge from school and her home, where she lives with her parents and six siblings. It has become a place where she can improve her reading skills and teach her friends. It’s become a place where she can have fun, make new friends, and learn new ideas.
“My friends and I used to spend our free time outside of school to play,” she says. “Now we come here to study and read books together. I am very happy and enjoy reading books and stories.”
But this place of refuge and learning only recently came into Hoo Ponloeu’s life.
After entering her community, FH organized a meeting with local leaders and parents to discuss the benefits of engaging children in reading activities through after-school children’s clubs.
The leaders and parents were so inspired that after attending the meeting, they decided to renovate an old club building and build a new library room for their children.
Local leaders led the project and enlisted the help of community members to build the library. Parents even helped provide some of the construction materials, alongside FH’s contribution. With their motivation to provide this learning space for children in the community, it only took seven days to complete.
The library was aptly named “Mohachorkchey,” meaning “very successful.”
After it was built, volunteer teachers filled it with books provided by FH, and set up a schedule to facilitate and teach in the children’s club six days out of the week. Many young girls like Hoo Ponloeu come to the library regularly. Not only are they increasing their knowledge and improving their reading skills, but they are also nurturing their creativity and building close relationships with their peers.
Parents in the community are happy to see the wonderful impact the new library has had in their children’s learning.
Sister Heng Mom, Hoo Ponloeu’s mother, said, “Before we had this library, my child liked to spend lots of time playing, she lacked [confidence], never paid attention to her [studies], and her reading skills were poor. But since having this library, my daughter reads books every day … I’m very happy to see her improving and gaining more confidence.”
Local leaders are grateful as well.
“I am very happy that FH Cambodia encouraged people in the community to understand the importance of reading, and that [the community] collaborated to build this library,” said Mr. Seng Kimsong, the village chief. “It really helps the children have an opportunity to read books and it develops their reading habits and knowledge.”
FH is committed to a wide range of education interventions that impact children during their first nine years of life. It is our goal to help children reach their God-given potential through these targeted interventions that not only bring holistic development to children in the first five years of life, but also cognitive gains for improved literacy and numeracy, as they begin their educational path in the first three years of primary school.
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