It was happy summer news. As sole donor for the initial construction of O Rey—one of 92 fully-operational United World Schools (UWS) in Cambodia—Search Associates received an uplifting end-of-year update from the organization.
UWS is a U.K.-based charity that builds schools and creates educational opportunity for many thousands of children living in some of the poorest regions of Cambodia, Myanmar, and Nepal. Since its founding in 2008, UWS has given free basic education to more than 25,000 children who otherwise would have had none. Inspired by its mission to “Teach the Unreached,” UWS is determined to raise the number of its students to 50,000 by 2020.
According to local Education Officer Hang Narong, UWS O Rey ended the school year in mid-August in good shape. He praised the way in which teachers had integrated study games into the curriculum, and also highlighted the achievement of the librarian in transforming the library into an attractive self-study centre. The school grounds had a makeover, too, with students creating a flower garden leading to the entrance and planting saplings provided by the Cambodian government.
UWS also reports that over the summer holiday, all their teachers and education officers attended training sessions on low-resource teaching methodologies, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) lessons, interactive lesson planning, and evaluation techniques.
Then in October, UWS Partnership Director Jack Clark gave Search Associates dramatic news. A recent flood from a burst dam had threatened the lives of the entire O Rey community, but the government sent the regional army to evacuate everyone because they knew a school had been built there. Jack explained,
“Without your school, the whole community would simply have been wiped off the map. Thank you so much for the legacy of education you have created there."
UWS O Rey has started the new school year with 11 teachers and 160 students! Teachers and staff have cleaned and groomed the grounds, and the building team has expanded the playground. A School Support Committee mobilized the entire community to replenish students’ school bags with materials needed for class. UWS says,
“It is steps like these that help to ensure our education is free at the point of provision.”
Besides funding this new school, various Search Associates offices are already making additional commitments to UWS. A winter update from Senior Associate Dr. Barry Drake and Director of School Relations David Cope let Search Associates know that they had “raised a grand total of 8,500 pounds in donations from a number of colleagues that will more than cover the operational costs of running the school for the year.” In addition, Barry’s office is exploring ways of assisting with teacher in-service training.
At several of our job fairs, UWS representatives have spoken to candidates and recruiters about ways in which they can contribute to this important work, for example, by forming a partnership between their own school and one of the UWS schools.
Search Associates is proud to be involved in the work of this inspirational charity which is achieving so much good for children everywhere it operates. We look forward to building an even closer partnership in the future and doing even more to help UWS to achieve its admirable goals.