A good start in Ang-Tasom

The first students of the learning center
The first students of the learning center

Olivier Kaeser is BOOKBRIDGE fellow in the new learning center in Ang-Tasom, Cambodia. In his first blog post, he described why he became BOOKBRIDGE fellow. In this post, he writes about the opening of the learning center.

On Friday 29 November, the community of Ang-Tasom celebrated the opening of the third Bookbridge learning center in Cambodia. National and local partners as well as many children and adults from Ang-Tasom took part in the opening ceremony. Also for us, the 10 members of the capability program, it was a very special moment!

Many people attended the opening ceremony
Many people attended the opening ceremony

After six months of planning, writing the business plan and pitching to get the funds together, we were of course proud of the outcome and to see over 350 very happy children at the ceremony. But for me, the opening ceremony marked only the start of my adventure.

I will from now on work together with three local people to get the learning center running as soon as possible. To fund the three Cambodian employees (one Head Learning Center, one librarian and one kindergarten/English teacher), we need to have enough participants in our English and IT courses as well as the kindergarten by the end of March 2014.

Ready for the opening: the class room
Ready for the opening: the class room

Since the local people are starting their jobs on 1 January, I am the only responsible person for the learning center at the moment. Usually more than 80 children come to the learning center per day – from Monday to Saturday. This means a lot of work and troubleshooting since I also have to set-up all the processes before we are going to be fully operational. But it is a very rewarding type of work of course. It is quite new for me to get about 20 “I love you teacher” drawings each day 🙂

My personal target for my stay is to get the center as financially sustainable as possible before leaving again in April, but I would also like to obtain more books and some high quality toys for the children. The toys the children use here are mostly made of plastic and often partially broken. We also plan to build a playground outside the learning center. If you want do support us to reach those goals, you can make a donation here. Many thanks for your support!

It´s finally open!
It´s finally open!

I live in a very nice homestay about 2 kilometers from the learning center. The culture is quite new for me and I have seen things I would have never expected. As an example, there is a small pond just next to my bungalow and I learned that it is from a bomb dropped by a B52 bomber during Vietnam War. It is also special not to have TV, internet and hot water, but the experience so far is very exciting and I am looking forward to updating you here with more news in January.

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