I thought that Christmas Eve might be the perfect time to give you a report on the Cambodia School Project. This is because Pam and I are receiving a very special Christmas gift from a group of students from Singapore. As I am writing this letter a group of young people from the University of Singapore’s Science Club are camping out at the Spitler School while they construct a new classroom for our students.
The students are spending Dec. 21–29 working on the new classroom as well as working with the students and teachers on their English skills. The Science Club raised their own funds to purchase the materials for the building and for their travel expenses. They call their work at our school “Angel Project 8”, which we think is a very appropriate name.
While the university students were working at another school, during the middle of the month, they sent an advance crew to set the foundation and pour the concrete floor for the new building. It is located just to the right of the Irvin Spitler Library, which was completed in the spring.
When the Singapore students arrived they went right to work to complete the building’s walls and interiors. They also mixed concrete to pour a cement floor in one of our two existing buildings, which still have dirt floors. They also began working with the children on their English skills, and it looks like they are also teaching them some new games outside of the classroom.
We are looking forward to more exciting reports on this project as the volunteers will be working for several more days.
This is one of several projects that we have undertaken with Sarin over the past six weeks. We also authorized Sarin to use some of the school funds to construct a culvert and a dirt bridge, which will link the school building to the village and allow the children to get to school without having to wade through the water (probably polluted) that fills up the low spaces around the school during the rainy season.
As a help to the village, as well as the school, we gave Sarin the OK to hire about 30 people from the village to dig drainage trenches along 1100 meters of roadway leading into the school. The road becomes almost impassable during the rainy season. This makes life very difficult for the villagers, and it is also almost impossible to bus in the tour groups who seem to enjoy visiting the school. The trenches can also be used to help divert water to the meager crops being grown by the villagers. Of course the little bit of wages we paid to the workers provided some income for some of the poorest villagers.
We also provided funds to send five of our six teachers to an academy in Siem Reap where they will go to classes, part time, for three months to improve their English skills.
Finally, I am happy to announce that we are ready to establish the Spitler School Foundation, which will be a non-profit 501c3 charitable organization for the ongoing support of the Spitler School. For those of you who have contributed in the past, or expressed an interest in being apart of the project, your contributions can now be made out to the Spitler School Foundation.
Our thanks do Doug Dunipace and Lynn Olson. Doug is an attorney and Lynn is our long time CPA. Both have been generous with their time to help us through the maze of paperwork needed to establish the foundation.
This year we are educating 260 students. We have 50 new children in kindergarten. We have two classes of first grade with 82 students, two classes of second grade with 84 students, and we have 45 students in our new third grade class. If we continue to add 50 students each year until we reach six grades we could have over 500 students in three years. Therefore, we are exploring the possibility of replacing two of the older buildings with a brick and mortar building large enough to accommodate multiple classrooms. This will be a major building project, but with the interest and help that we have received thus far we believe that this may be a reachable goal over the next year or so.
We have added more photos to our website entitled “Cambodia School Project 2006. You can go to: www.dannypam.smugmug.com to view all the albums, or if you would like to go directly to the most recent photos you can use the following link. SmugMug – dannypam : Cambodia School Project 2006
We will have more exciting news in the near future, but Pam and I wanted to share this report with you at this time of the year, when we are again reminded of how very blessed we are to have such abundance and love in our lives.
We wish you all the very Merriest of Christmases.
Danny & Pam Spitler – Chea Sarin and family