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6 July 2021 - Story


Kang Mak, a 41-year-old man who used to suffer from alcoholism and a gambling-addiction, transformed himself into a caring father and mentor for his children after becoming more involved in his children's early learning and in his community.  

Mr. Mak and his wife are farmers. They live with their daughter and two sons in Dei Kraham village of Anlong Reab commune in Pursat province.  

Having had little schooling themselves, the couple had previously paid little attention to their children’s learning or their attendances in class. 

I often brought my children to the [rice] field and I never taught them at home,” said Mr. Mak, adding that he never attended the parental meetings at school because he thought they were useless. Instead, he spent his free time drinking and playing cards with his friends. 

However, Mr. Mak’s behavior slowly changed after he decided to start participating in school activities organized under Save the Children Korea’s Remote Early Learning project in 2018. Working in close collaboration with local authorities and the community, the project established parenting groups to encourage parents to send their children to school and to share knowledge on how to help their children with their studies at home. The project invited Mr. Mak to join a parenting group meeting, where he learned the importance of foundational learning at young age. 

Mr. Mak has spent an hour or more every day with his children to help them learn at home. Within a few months, he saw his children progress, and was impressed with their intelligence, politeness, and respect for their parents and others. He noticed how well they communicated with their friends and how supportive they were of others.  

My children now can understand and remember what I have taught them better,” Mr. Mak said, “This is one of the reasons that I continuously teach them and participate in school activities and the project.” 

Ben Sokmey, Mak’s 6-year-old daughter, who has just entered the first grade at Kirisantepheap primary school, said she is excited that her father gives her lessons at home. 

My father often teaches my siblings and me at home. We are happy to learn from him,” she said. “I love my father so much.” 

Mr Mak also contributes to creating a safe and pleasant school for children to learn. He made wooden swings using his personal resources for the young children to enjoy at school, and he works with other students’ parents help repair school buildings. 

South Bunthoeun, the school director, has praised Mr. Mak’s behavior change and his commitment to ensuring that children are taken care of properly in their early childhood.  

Mr. Mak has absolutely changed after he participated in school activities, and now he is my assistant and a good father for his family,” said Mr. Bunthoeun indicating that Mr. Mak has also become a member of the school management committee.  

Mr. Mak has learned that the project is phasing out soon. However, he is still passionately committed to supporting children with their learning and ensuring that they develop the skills they need to help develop their community.