United World Schools Partnership
Kiri Bah Ler School, Northern Cambodia
We write to update you with some exciting news regarding 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 northeast from there. The village comprises 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 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 school's life 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 a 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 continue to have a special and bespoke ongoing relationship with the School, and one we hope will one day see some of our current pupils, as alumni, potentially seek a volunteer placement at Kiri Bah Ler.
We were delighted that Mr Blake joined Sally Kay in visiting Kiri Bah Ler over Easter 2017. They left the UK on the 31st March and returned on the 11th April. The remoteness of our partner School means that it took nearly 10 hours after our arrival in Siem Reap to get to Kiri Bah Ler. We were sent with a cook and hammocks to sleep in the School as there is nowhere else other than family homes available. It turned out to be an exciting, hugely rewarding and most informative trip, particularly knowing the development and ongoing use of the School has only been made possible by the whole Witham Hall community pupils, parents and staff.
In particular, we are keen for the children at Witham to play their part in making direct links with the children in Cambodia. All of our pupils will be involved in a range of Year group activities at different points during the year that will provide us with resources 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.
We continue our annual fundraising to raise the £5000 committed to Kiri Bah Ler, and we are most grateful for the generosity hard work from Witham Hall School pupils in fundraising and support of parents, family members and friends.