The long march: children go to school
A blog post by Andy Brown, Digital Communications Consultant for UNICEF East Asia and Pacific
Published Monday, March 4, 2013
In Cambodia, ten-year-old Pan In (pictured above - center) is attending school for the first time this year, following a local school enrolment campaign. She wears a clean white-and-blue uniform. “I walk to school every day with my brother,” she says. “It’s a long way and we don’t always get there on time, but my teacher is nice and she doesn’t blame me. I like learning literacy but not maths. Between classes, I water the flowers in the school yard.”
Soksan Primary School is in Pouk district, Siem Reap province. It consists of two long single-story buildings, which are clean and freshly painted. Outside, there are latrine blocks with colourful murals, a water pump and well-tended flowerbeds. In one classroom, young girls sing a handwashing song. “We will always be clean and wash our hands before eating,” they chant in Khmer language. “We do not play with dirt because it will make us ill.”
Pan In is a shy girl and older than the other children in her class. Sometimes she finds it difficult to fit in. “Once the children in Grade 2 stole my pencil and ruler,” she says. “I told my teacher and she made them give them back. They don’t steal from me anymore. The teacher also helps my Mum by giving us her daughter’s old clothes and books.”
Of her two younger brothers, six-year-old Pev still doesn’t attend school because he has a bad leg and can’t manage the walk. But seven-year-old Pean goes to the same school. “I like learning the alphabet,” he says.
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