Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Khmer New Year

It was recently New Year in Southeast Asia, the biggest event of the year. Here one of our scholarship students, Sareth, shares his description of what happens.

Hello! Happy New Year!

I’m Sareth I just had a great time- Khmer New Year. For three days of the celebration I was very happy and excited. From the first to the third day of the celebration everything was almost the same, most business centers, goods markets, public buildings and citizen houses were closed and replaced by hanging lanterns and decorated houses with fruit, cake, drinks, show they were welcoming and enjoying the New Year days.

Places that were normally crowded became silent. Instead of this, people went to gather in places like the monastery or public area. They went there to prepare food for monks, to play traditional and popular games,and to dance with New Year popular songs.

We played games, sang songs with dancing happily together. We have many styles of dancing for our popular songs. It’s really exciting. Beside this, some people went to visit tourism locations or own relatives as well.

I didn’t want the days to leave, I really love the New Year time.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

New Year and New Classes!

Having celebrated the Khmer New Year, see what's NEW with the Free Classes by checking out our update.

Read the update to find out more about new activities like this one.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Watch our new Microfinance video

Watch our new video to find out why microloans make such a difference to families in Siem Reap and why a donation to JWOC’s Microfinance Project will help again and again.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

An Update From Laos- Graduation Day!

Nicole, Country Director for JWOC in Laos writes about one the best days of the school year- graduation day! To find out more about our work in Laos, visit our website

One of my favorite days to be at the language school is on the day of graduation. How could it not be an exciting day? It is the day in which all the students who have worked through a term receive certificates of achievement and the scholarship students who have taught them can witness how their volunteering has made an impact in their community. It is a day filled with happiness and pride and I am thankful to have the opportunity to observe, applaud and take pictures!

The latest term, which just finished in March (two classes will end in April), began in December 2010 after all of the scholarship students received a series of trainings on JWOC, the language school and teaching methods. Along with our scholarship students we had 2 volunteer teachers which brought our free English classes total up to nine, the most we have ever had at one time at the school! Three of the classes were returning from the previous term and the other six were new beginner classes with students ranging in ages from 6 years to 22 years.

This term we decided to cut the duration of the curriculum for the beginner levels in half so that we could gauge the level of the students earlier. We also felt it was important for these beginning students to be able to notice their achievement in a shorter amount of time to increase consistency of attendance and interest. Even though we did have some classes lose students during the four month period, the ones that remained have all passed, giving the school a 100% graduation rate! I think with the next term we will really be able to observe the impact of these changes to the curriculum and see if they are beneficial and the impact is lasting. We are always looking at ways to improve the system at the school so that we have the most positive impact for the students and the teachers.
I have to applaud the teachers this term; they have all done such a great job with their classes. They all applied what they had learned in the training workshops, improving their instruction and structure of their lessons. I think because they all aspire to be teachers that they are invested in the trainings and the experience they are receiving at the JWOC Language School. They are taking advantage of this opportunity and excelling with their classes.

The impact the school has on the teachers is another reason graduation day is special. This is when the teachers are able to see what they have done, what they have accomplished. This term was the first term for five of our scholarship students so, this was their first graduation. On this day they see how their work and efforts have given their students skills and knowledge. They begin to see and take pride in knowing that they are a part of the JWOC team and are making a difference in the lives of others. I am so proud of them all!

Here are some of the pictures of the smiling students receiving their certificates and the teachers that lead them to their success…

Mrs Vandy gives out a certificate to an enthusiastic young learner at the JWOC Language School

One of our Young Learner English classes expresses their excitement after receiving their certificates

Here are just a few of the students celebrating from Mr. Hmong’s class. This is their third term in the Young Adult Learners

Mr. Lee hands out a certificate to one of the youngest members of the school. He teaches the English class for 6-9 year olds. They are an energetic and fun bunch!

Ong Xiong is all smiles as she receives a certificate from her teacher, Mr. Bouakham. Ong was the only girl in her English class

Mr. Soubahn, a volunteer teacher at the language school is in his third year at Teacher Training College and came to JWOC so that he could practice his skills in the classroom. He was very successful!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

A Clean Water Project Update from Project Manager Sokhorn

Dear JWOC Supporters,

I am writing to update you about the Clean Water Project. Nowadays, I have been working for more than three months with the new village, which is called Thnout Chroum village.

Sokhorn talks with the village chief

In this village, there are 1060 people and 224 families. Most villagers have been using their pit wells (just a big hole in the ground) for many years, which are very dirty, especially in rainy season, as the water flow from dirty ground into the hole. A few of them have been using family wells and some using pulley wells, which are very shallow. In dry season, they still do not have enough water for using in their families However, in dry season they have to dig into the deep ground to get more water.

A pit well in the village

Once again, they have been lacking of hygiene and children always get sick in their families. Therefore, we provided training to them. For example, hand washing, teeth cleaning, and filter training. In the training, they were very happy and they could practice and show the correct steps, which we trained them. As the result, they have changed their habits and are following the training. Additionally, we drilled 26 new wells and we are going to fix 38 existing wells. Then we gave out 750 hygiene packs, 215 filters for families during the training. Next, we plan to do 26 water testing from wells and 5 from filters. Now villagers are very happy because they have clean water for using and drinking, especially wells are nearby their houses. Then they can stop using pit wells. I am very happy to see the result that we have tried with our best to help them. The whole village can change because of Journeys Within Our Community.

Other news, I have updated filter-training process. Now we have flash cards to train villagers and then we have message at the back that can help our staffs to remember in the correct steps and make the presentation more attractive for the audience.

A member of Sokhorn's team using the new flashcards

Finally, I would like to say thank you so much for helping the Clean Water Project. I look forward to writing to you again next time to tell you more about the project.

Best wishes,

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