the people of bech khlok
In 2012, the villagers of Bech Khlok developed a vision, which was to give their children a chance to a better future. With the limited resources available to them, they built two makeshift classrooms and two men from the village started to teach the children on a volunteer basis. A little later Sopheap joined, who taught classes and also took over the running of the school. Despite only very minimal wages available for him, his efforts and commitment were way above what could have been expected. Still, providing decent education was a problem because there was hardly any school material.
While the villagers of Bech Khlok were thus busy trying to provide their children with a better future, I met Heang, a young teacher from Battambang. In his spare time he manufactured paper lanterns, and with the proceeds he bought books and pens for the Bech Khlok children. We started talking when I bought one of his lanterns, and that is how I learned about the school and the extremely tough living conditions in Bech Khlok.
Bech Khlok is a small very hard to access village in West Cambodia. The people there have no access to clean drinking water, no electricity, and no medical care available to them during the rain season (4-5 months per year).
When Seed first visited in 2014, the school was in a precarious condition, did not have enough classrooms and except for two broken black boards and some chalk there was no further educational material at all.
Pictures above: Classroom during our first visit in 2014 and the dirt road from Koas Krala to Bech Khlok
Furthermore, because of the polluted drinking water, the lack of hygiene and the malnutrition, quite a few of the children are often sick, and their physical and mental development is impacted.
Seeing as the school was lacking in basically everything, Seed started by providing the necessary school material. Then, after some provisional improvements to the infrastructure of the existing school, Seed started building three new classrooms, a wonderful library and accommodation for the teachers, and finished that work in April 2017. Water tanks, bio-sand water filters, two toilets and solar power were also provided.
Now, for phase two of this project, Seed would love to create children friendly school grounds and a school garden for experimental learning and nutrition education. For this project we will take into consideration local resources and sustainable gardening practices.
Last but not least, Seed wants to provide clean drinking water access for the whole village.
To improve the villager's food and livelihood supply chain, Seed is planning small projects in agriculture and livestock breeding.
Furthermore, we would like to help young people to find educational opportunities and work outside the village. We will focus mainly on the girls, as these are in serious danger of being exposed to misuse and exploitation.
For Seed it is most important that this is a bottom up grassroots project working with locals to identify what is needed and how they can participate and take ownership. Sustainable results can only be achieved when the local community takes full ownership of their own progress.
You can read more about our current activities on our blog.
A lovely short video about a day in life of Ya, a young student living in Bech Khlok
(filmed by our project manager Heang Ho)
Video about our second visit to Bech Khlok in March 2015