A Foundation in Education

3-Trapaing Kakas2[2]When you think about what it takes to keep a family on the verge of separation together, what comes to mind?

Did you think of money? How about food and housing?

What about daycare?

Not unlike in America, daycare and preschool can be rather expensive luxuries for many families in developing countries. Especially in impoverished communities, finding safe, reliable childcare can be extremely difficult.

Even if daycare services are available, many struggling families— especially those living on one income or helping to care for other extended family — simply can’t afford it.

And that leaves parents with a tough choice.Morn

Many parents who can’t afford daycare in Cambodia , for example, are forced to either leave their child at home alone or with siblings while they work. Some parents even bring their child to their job — where they spend hours alone in rice fields, factories or on construction sites.

That’s part of the reason why daycare services are so critical to the health and stability of families.

Not only do education-based daycare and preschool programs ensure that children stay healthy and safe during the day, but children also have the opportunity to begin building the foundation for long-term success in school. And, when parents have reliable childcare, they are able to secure more stable jobs — building healthier, more independent families.Beong Nimol1

This year, Holt started three new preschool projects in Cambodia — all of which have already opened their doors to students. Holt partnered with local village governments and local partners in Cambodia to start these preschools, renovating existing buildings to create colorful and safe schoolhouses. We’ve also purchased supplies for each school, such as chalk boards and desks. Each school has two teachers, and the local department of education in each preschool’s village has agreed to fund part of the teachers’ salaries and training.

“For children in this area, it is important that they start learning things like the alphabet and simple math before grade one,” says Thoa Bui, Holt’s senior executive of Southeast Asia programs. “Otherwise, they may struggle through school and have to work hard to catch up.”

With Holt funding, the preschools are able to offer daily snacks for children ages 3-5, as well as annual school supplies, such as shoes, uniforms, backpacks and more. In a few years, Holt hopes the schools and local communities will be strong enough to operate without Holt’s support.1-Morn Pre -school1

In Morn Village, 32 children started preschool on January 12. In Sra Nge Village, another 28 students began preschool on March 4. The third school in Trapaing Kakas Village has 40 new students, 18 girls and 22 boys, and the small schoolhouse is nearly packed full already. This schoolhouse has a well but no toilet. Because of the faithfulness of Holt supporters, however, the school will receive a toilet soon.

“This project is great because it is co-sponsored,” Thoa says. “This shows a commitment from local communities to support these schools and these families.”2-Sra Nge Pre-school3[4]

When the three preschools opened, Holt anticipated that we would identify around 70 students between the three locations. Already, enrollment is higher than expected with more than 100 students throughout the three projects and more families in need of this service.

If you would like to help provide preschool tuition, school supplies and more for children in Cambodia — or in one of the other countries where Holt has daycare and preschool projects — please give to Holt’s Back-to-School fund! Your gift has the power to transform an entire family, and alleviate some of their hardship. Without the compassion and generosity of people like you, Holt’s work would be impossible.

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