Thanks to a donation campaign of our fellow Martina, BOOKBRIDGE Learning Center Siem Reap was able to purchase Khmer books for its library.
At the beginning of my fellowship at the BOOKBRIDGE Learning Center Siem Reap, Sanith introduced me to an issue that frankly was intolerable to me. The library had many books in English, however the section of books written in Khmer was incredibly smaller compared to the former. Most of our library visitors do not possess the adequate level of English to read books; moreover they had expressed the desire of having more up-to-date and variety of Khmer books. I could not let this wish unmet. I wanted the students to come to the library and know that they could find all they liked and not to feel discriminated based on the language.
By Christmas time I began a fundraising campaign to collect donations for the purchase of Khmer books and advertised it among my friends, relatives and more broadly on my social media networks. Fortunately, my call was heard and many generous souls donated what they could to contribute to this cause. So far I have collected 620 USD approximately, however I will keep it open until I am leaving Cambodia.
In the meantime, however, I did not want to wait long time and decided to withdraw part of the money gathered and buy the first bulk of Khmer books. After some weeks of wait, finally the money was given to me and Sanith and with the help of some students we all went onto a field/educative trip to the near bookstore and started selecting the books for the library.
The bookstore contained so much variety that I was overwhelmed – partly given the fact that I could not decipher what each book was about, being all in Khmer. Anyway I helped with the choice and at the end we managed to acquire 120 and plus books which will soon be catalogued and added to the shelves. We purposely selected titles that targeted personal growth as well as professional, namely how to become more self-confident, how to face a job interview, how to become future leaders, etc.. Additionally, we chose those titles which would equip our students with more general knowledge of the world, history and geography.
The students had a lot of fun, and I believe that the fact they had been involved in this process greatly contributed to their confidence and love for our library! This is just the first start, however it was a significant one both for Sanith and me as well as the students. I will continue with my fundraising campaign so that also in future the money that’s not spent will be meaningfully utilized for the education of the students and the community in a broader sense.