Kampong Tralach Green School was established in 2016 by local people, and it was officially registered as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in 2017, under the name of the Organization of Kampong Tralach Green Seeds (KTGS). Green School is a charitable school that provides educational opportunities to children/youths from the whole community. Currently, there are more than 300 students studying at our School.
As a local, non-profit NGO based in the Kampong Tralach community, Cambodia’s province of Kampong Chhnang, KTGS works to provide free basic education in English, Khmer and computer literacy to local children from all socioeconomic backgrounds in the Kampong Tralach area, inspiring them to work and learn creatively with others for the betterment of the community and for their own futures.
In Cambodia, among students attending state schools, only students from wealthy families can afford to attend the private tuition for the necessary extra classes required for success. Additionally, children from poor families are often pulled out of school by their parents at a young age in order to work, once the cost of education becomes too high. This creates a socioeconomic divide between the rich and the poor, and prevents the latter from excelling in their courses and from advancing in society. KTGS’s Green School seeks to bridge this divide by providing quality education to all students in our community, regardless of their financial status.
Prior to the year 2012, there were no opportunities for students in the village of Kampong Tralach Krom and surrounding communities to study English in private classes outside of state school. Because the time allocated to learning at state school is not sufficient for maintaining passing grades, this lack of opportunity was crippling to students wishing to receive good grades, and attend university. Even if they had the transportation to attend class in further away communities, the cost of private tuition created a socioeconomic divide between the families who could afford to support their children and those who could not. In response to this, we began teaching English at our own private house in 2012.
In 2013, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic (LEX-NG) international tourist groups came to visit Kampong Tralach village via the Mekong River by the Jahan Cruise Ship, operated by the Heritage Line Cruise company. LEX-NG guests rode ox-carts along the roads in the village, and children used to walk alongside them, asking for money or candy. Seeing this, LEX-NG guests decided they were interested in supporting programs to help the children learn and find more productive ways to spend their free time. To this end, in March 2013, LEX-NG funded the English library program in the government’s Kampong Tralach Primary School to encourage and facilitate proficiency in English.
In 2015, the number of students was increasing, and there were not enough classrooms for their needs. So, the founding of Green School took place over several months after an increase of students in the community seeking free English lessons from Kampong Tralach Primary School grew too large for their capacity.
We had resolved to build a space for teaching but needed more funds. So, we called a meeting of the students, their parents and other community members to raise money for building supplies. Together, we raised $245, but that was not enough to cover the complete cost. Having followed us on social media, and hearing about our efforts, Australian couple Karen and Stephen Brooks donated an additional $500, which covered the remaining cost of supplies. In December 2015, students, parents, the village chief and other community members banded together to build the original three classrooms structure that became Green School.
Although the building was standing, it had no electricity, the students had no school supplies, and there was no bathroom. Hearing about Green School through an advocate at National Geographic, American couple Jim and Martha Crowley donated $2,770, which covered the cost of desks, supplies such as books, pencils and whiteboards, and electricity. A short time later, one more major donation was given by Ken and Ida Brown in the amount of $2,500, of which $1,500 was allocated to the construction of two latrines and $1,000 to supporting the continued education of four impoverished students to continue their studies at state school for the next ten months. And LEX-NG has supported the salaries for one core teacher and two intensive students (volunteers) and some books and supplies.
With the help of our community, student volunteers, and external donations, Green School officially began in January 2016. While further projects have been undertaken since then, i.e., a computer lab, another school building, classes on environmental conservation, efforts to collect trash in the community, planting trees and some more activities for the community, this was when Green School was beginning to function.
KTGS was officially registered as a local NGO on 18th April 2017. The process of the registration was sponsored by Ken and Ida Brown.
KTGS provides free-of-charge education in English, Khmer, computer literacy and vocational training to local children and youth from all socioeconomic backgrounds in the Kampong Tralach area, inspiring them to work and learn creatively with others for the betterment of the community and for their own futures. KTGS commits to providing quality education to the children and enabling them to break the cycle of poverty in which they were born and make greater changes for their lives, families and society. Additionally, KTGS also works to promote environmental education, preservation and development among students and people of the community.