There are some exciting things happening at the Spitler School in Cambodia.
When I sent my last report on Christmas Eve there were 20 students from the University of Singapore building a new classroom at the school, helping the students with their English, playing soccer, and even helping the children to plant a garden.
At the end of the project the students performed a nice dedication ceremony where the students from Singapore performed cultural dances from their country.
Here is a photo of the new building which was placed alongside the library. The building does have a concrete floor, and while the students were constructing this building they added a concrete floor to one of our other classrooms as well.
In February we authorized Sarin to purchase some playground equipment for the school and this equipment just arrived two weeks ago. As you can see it was enthusiastically welcomed by the children.
The equipment included a set of swings, see-saws, and a slide. As an illustration of the value of the American dollar in Cambodia we were able to have all this equipment fabricated for under $600. We are trying to introduce an element of fun into the school, since most of the children exist in such impoverished conditions they rarely have an opportunity to enjoy these kinds of activities.
We continue to have regular visits from tourist groups. Elderhostel groups continue to visit our school, bringing supplies and gifts for the children. We have heard that a future group plans on doing a “hands on” project during their visit. One of the last groups to arrive did so by the local motorcycle taxis called Tuk Tuks. Hopefully the roadwork that we financed last year will result in greater accessibility to tour buses.
We are continually looking at ways to provide the children with clean drinking water, which is a major cause of health problems in Cambodia. There are some inexpensive filtering systems now available which we are looking into. We have installed one of the systems at the school.
We would like to investigate the possibility of making these systems more readily available to our students and their families, along with some education about the need to protect the children from drinking polluted waters. We would also like to explore the possibility of providing some nutritional supplements to the children while at school. This could be in the form of milk products or some other source of good protein.
Other things on our “wish list” would include the purchase of computers for our library. These could be used as a resource for our teachers and to familiarize our older students with computers. We are providing information to a Rotary Club in Los Altos, California about the needs of the school. One of their members visited the school with an Elderhostel tour last year and is proposing that his club provide some financial support to the school with (hopefully) some matching funds from Rotary International.
One recent visitor to our school left a nice donation with Sarin as she and a friend passed through Cambodia on their way to Vietnam. When she returned home she told her daughter about our school. Her daughter teaches fourth and fifth grade classes in California, and we have been corresponding with her about ways that her classes might provide some assistance to the children at our school.
We continue to be surprised and grateful at the interest and generosity that our little school is receiving.
We were also excited and pleased that one of our generous school donors visited Cambodia this month and spent some time at the school. Lex Lakovski, has been a good friend since we went through a men’s weekend adventure back in 1999. Lex is living one of those dreams that so many of us have had, by taking a few years off and knocking around the world. He visited the school and spent some quality time with our kids and teachers, while exploring all of the temples around Siem Reap.
We believe that our next major project will be to replace one of the older wooden and thatch classrooms with a larger brick and mortar building which will give us the capability to handle up to 500 students. We anticipate adding another 50 to 60 students per year as we continue to add grades four through six over the next three years until we are offering kindergarten through sixth grade classes. We anticipate the cost of the building will be about $20,000.
We have added two new albums to our gallery at: www.dannypam.smugmug.com. We have reconstructed the website into categories with one category devoted to the School Project. From the home page you can click the icon for “Spitler School Project – Cambodia” and you will then see the various albums, which are dedicated to the school project. If you would like to go directly to our latest photos you can access them in our 2007 album located at: http://dannypam.smugmug.com/gallery/2604770
Once again, Pam and I wish to say thank you to all of our generous supporters and for your continued interest in the project.
Spitler School Foundation
P.O. Box 730
Peoria, AZ 85380
501c3 – Non-Profit Charitable Foundation