Solin Finds Stable Education at ISF
At grade 3, rising school costs threatened to cut *Solin’s education short. While both her parents are employed, changes in school fees made their child’s education seem out of reach. Fortunately, in a conversation with a neighbor, her father heard about ISF and its work to provide free quality education to children in Phnom Penh’s urban poor communities.
Having always loved learning, Solin found the prospect of being out of school upsetting. Knowing this, her father didn’t hesitate to apply to ISF for his daughter. We work only with the most disadvantaged youth from Steung Meanchey and Chbar Ampov; the communities where our education centres are located. So we screen new ISF student families to ensure they meet our requirements for receiving aid. Our team of local social workers spend weeks, sometimes months, interviewing family members, community members and neighbors so that only those who really need our aid receive it. After her scholastic evaluation, Solin joined us as a grade 1 student. She is enrolled in our Catch-Up Programme. This accelerated learning system teaches two years of public education each year until she’s caught up to the correct grade for her age. After she graduates, ISF will continue to support her though Cambodia’s state schools and beyond.
Barriers to a Quality Education
Income insecurity keeps many disadvantaged youths in Cambodia’s capital city out of the education system. Though Solin’s mother and father work as a garment worker and Tuk Tuk driver respectively, and her older brother pitches in as a restaurant worker, their combined income is enough to just make ends meet. In situation like these, children are often forced to work to make sure the basic necessities are provided for, instead of attending class. According to USAID, 50% of at-risk students 33% of dropouts cited school-related expenses as their barrier to achieving an education.
The promise of continuing stable, quality education feels like a dream come true for Solin. In class, she loves listening to her teachers explaining lessons. In her free time, she’s known to read books at our library or play football with her friends on ISF’s pitch. Currently, her favorite subject is Khmer.
When asked what she’d be doing if she weren’t in our Catch-Up Programme, Solin said that she would be trying to learn at home by herself. Though she believes it wouldn’t be as fruitful as structured learning with peers and an accredited teacher. She feels lucky to be in school again because without support from ISF, her family would be still struggling to put food on the table while sending their daughter to school. As a keen student who isn’t afraid of dreaming big, Solin imagines herself working for a big company in the future. With nurturance and education, we believe she can do anything.