United World Schools Partnership

Witham Hall Logo 4

Kiri Bah Ler School, Northern Cambodia


Kiri Bah Ler update 

We write to update you with some exciting news with regard to our partner School in Kiri Bah Ler, Northern Cambodia.

Particularly for the benefit of new parents, we offer a short reminder of the development of our bespoke relationship with the School. In September 2016, through United World Schools, we forged a direct link with the Kiri Bah Ler community in the province of Stung Treng in Northern Cambodia. The nearest location that would appear on maps is Siem Pang; Kiri Bah Ler is 8km north east from there. The village is made up of 178 families with a population of around 600. The community belongs to the Kavat tribe, one of the indigenous groups that has long been ignored or persecuted by the national government.

As a School community, we have worked with UWS to build a school for Kiri Bah Ler; the children there previously had no access to education. Through our annual fund raising efforts, we pledged to raise £16,000 over the 2015/16 academic year to build the school which, underpinned by the amazing Enterprise Initiative of the pupils, was quickly achieved. The school was built in the early part of 2016 and opened officially in April 2016 thereby welcoming its first pupils. Through our school assemblies it has been wonderful for the Witham children to see the effects of their efforts and learn more about the Kiri Bah Ler community. The first full academic year in the life of the school began in November 2016.

Our ongoing commitment over the course of the next three years is to raise £5,000 annually. This continues the training of teachers, and covers all running costs of the school. Over the course of this three year period UWS ensures the development of local governance ready for the handover of the school to the local authorities, who then take responsibility for all future finance. We of course continue have a special and bespoke ongoing relationship with the School, and one that we hope will one day see some of our current pupils, as alumni, potentially seek a volunteer placement at Kiri Bah Ler.

Now the more immediate and very exciting news! we are delighted to inform you that Mr Blake will join Sally Kay in making our first visit to Kiri Bah Ler over Easter. We will leave the UK on the 31st March and return on the 11th April.  The remoteness of our partner School means that it will take nearly 10 hours after our arrival in Siem Reap to get to Kiri Bah Ler. We will be sent with a cook and hammocks to sleep in the School as there is nowhere else other than family homes available. It promises to be an exciting, hugely rewarding and most informative trip, particularly knowing that the development and ongoing use of the School has only been made possible by the whole Witham Hall community – pupils, parents and staff.

Our Theme and Enrichment Week this term commences on Monday 6th February as detailed in the School Calendar.  On Friday 10th February there will be a focussed assembly ahead of a whole school activities afternoon with an extended day for Pre-Prep finishing at 4.00pm.  Together with Mr Blake, Sally Kay will be sharing the details of their forthcoming trip with the children in order to give them a breadth of understanding in both the forthcoming visit and the ongoing challenges and opportunities of our partnership. 

Girls practice reading at Kiri Bah Ler

In particular, we are very keen for the children at Witham to play their part in making direct links with the children in Cambodia.  Consequently all of our pupils will also be involved in a range of Year group activities at different points during Theme Week that will provide us with resources that we can share with the children of Kiri Bah Ler. We hope to collect similar resources from the children at our partner school which we can then bring back, compare and contrast with Witham in developing the children’s understanding and learning. 

In continuing our annual fundraising to raise the £5000 committed to Kiri Bah Ler, we are most grateful for the generosity of parents, family members and friends present at our Pre-Prep Nativity and Prep Christmas Concert last term that has enabled us to enter 2017 with £1300 already raised. In building on this, please note the following dates and events in your diaries:

  • On Friday 10th March (as detailed in the School Calendar) we are encouraging Witham pupils to Dress as a pair for Kiri Bah Ler.  This will involve pupils choosing a theme with a friend and dressing up accordingly, bringing in £2.00 each for the cause. The staff are already getting behind the theme in order to provide the children with some inspiration for ideas! 
  • On Friday 28th April, starting at 1400, we will hold our annual Fun Run, involving all pupils, some staff, and as many parents as possible who wish to join us! This year, the pupils will engage in a Monsoon Run, whereby the four houses will compete against each other in looking to retain the most water possible from start to finish!
  • On the evening of Thursday 4th May, we will be hosting a Cheese and Wine ticketed event as part of our fund raising. This will incorporate the opportunity to sample, buy and seek advice on a selection of wines.  The event will be held in the new Sports Complex, thereby offering parents a first opportunity to tour the new facilities.  We will also be delighted to present some pictures and resources from our visit to Cambodia. Further details will follow.

I trust that you have found the update informative, and very much hope you will be able to join us for one or both of the Trinity Term events.