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20 September 2022 - Story

A man who has contributed to transforming a dilapidated primary school

A 56-year-old Seak Oeun who was formerly a farmer and fisherman has now become an outstanding chairman of the Slot primary school management committee because of his generous contribution to children’s future and their education. 

The Slot primary school, located in Slot village, Plou Touk commune, Kampong Chhnang’s Kampong Leng district, was initially a floating school built in 2002 by the community residents including Mr. Oeun who at that time began hoping that all children in the village could go to school and learn. 

Since then, Mr. Oeun who has a curious personality has participated in most of the community activities fundraising events, road construction, village meetings, and other cultural activities where he could offer labor support and financial contribution in order for his village, especially the Slot primary school could further be developed and improved.  

“I did my all at that time to help the school because I wanted to see children in Slot village are educated and that they could find good jobs in the future,” Mr. Oeun said. Unfortunately, the school, which lacked facilities and toilets, became dilapidated as years passed although it was later relocated to the river bank, a lowland area where it was potentially affected by storms during the rainy season and high-level water period. 

In collaboration with the Provincial Department of Education, Youth, and Sport, the Generating Resilient Environments, and Promotion Socio Development of the East Tonle Sap Lack (GREEN) project funded by the EU were introduced in March 2021 and with funding support from the Technology and Access for Learning and Knowledge (TALK) project selected Slot primary school as one among its target schools. 

Because of his commitment and involvement over two decades, Mr. Oeun was recommended by the school principal, Mr. Hem Sodachantrea, to take part in the selection of the school management committee and eventually voted as vice-chairman last October and was later promoted as the chairman in March 2022. 

“Mr. Oeun is proactive in developing this school. He offered time and budget to repair this school,” Mr. Sodachantrea said, adding that Mr. Oeun has been working really hard to convince the local authorities to pave a proper road where children can walk to school and raise charities to fill the lowland area of the school, saving this school from flooding during the rainy season. 

With support from the GREEN and TALK projects, Mr. Oeun was equipped with capacity building and relevant training to help him better plan and manage this school. 

“I am committed to leading the team and organizing this school with a child-friendly environment,” Mr. Oeun said. “I wish all children in this village to receive higher education.”  

A member of the student council said he really enjoys studying now that the school is safe from flooding and is being renovated from time to time. 

“Before I did not come to school often because I was scared of Covid-19, the storms, and the possibility of the school building collapsing,” he said. “But now there is a clean toilet and classroom filled with study materials, I really enjoy coming to school.”