Dream Classes

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Dreams are very important to us at PEPY Empowering Youth. Many of the students we work with are only exposed to a small range of possible futures. We believe it’s important for young people to dream big and see how they can make their dreams a reality. Through our Dream Classes, we aim to nurture those big ambitions for their future and give them the resources and connections to take the necessary steps to realizing that future.

In the PEPY Empowering Youth Dream Classes, young people are provided a forum to identify and discuss their ambitions for the future, and any challenges they may need to overcome. The classes provide career resources, mentorship, and group workshops. Successful Cambodian professionals present to our students giving them exposure to different ideas and aspirations.

Dream Classes are available to Kralanh High School students in grades 10, 11, and 12.


Impact

2014: Over four hundred students registered for Dream Classes. This represented a significant increase from 2013.The principal provided us with an office, allowing us to offer counseling for students.

We held our second Skills Fair in Kralanh, with over 500 students in attendance.

Fifty-eight Dream Class students from Grade 11 and 12 went on a field trip around Siem Reap. They visited Ecole Paul Dubrule, a tourism/hospitality training facility, as well as government-funded Provincial Training Center (PTC) and Job Center. PTC offers vocational training and the Job Center, assistance in CV and letter writing. The last stop was Pedagogy Teachers Training. Many students expressed an interest in teaching, and this facility provides an introduction to the qualification.

A successful sharing event is held at the high school. Three guest speakers inspired the students to dream big.

Lastly, we invited some of the teachers from the Learning Center in Siem Reap to share their experiences with the students. Topics included not giving up on your dreams, the difference between university and vocation school, steps to achieving goals, and positive mental health.

2013: We hosted our first Skills Fair in Kralanh. It was attended by 700 students 15 years old and up. The objective was to connect students to further education opportunities and showcase future possible careers and employers.

An investment banker turned PEPY volunteer spoke about having the courage to follow your dreams. Students learned about stepping outside their comfort zones to reach for opportunities.

Dream class students presented their ideas to an audience of 50 peers, the PEPY Youth Board, and PEPY staff.

Forty-three students traveled from Kralanh to Siem Reap to learn about scholarships, team building, and becoming a teacher by visiting the Provincial Training Center and NGO Journeys Within Our Communities.

2012: Eight students presented to their peers about their interests and what progress they’d made towards their personal goals. This included students who didn’t traditionally speak up in class.

Students took steps towards fulfilling short-term ambitions. One student’s ambitions to become a songwriter resulted in the composition of 20 songs. Another began a savings plan, while another set up a study schedule to improve English language ability.


Challenges / Lessons learned

  • Initially the lack of a curriculum increased the pressure on PEPY Empowering Youth staff to constantly generate ideas, and lessons sometimes felt ad-hoc. However a curriculum has been in place since the 2012-2013 academic year.
  • At the outset, lessons were sometimes too general which made it difficult for students to come up with a focus or direction to think about. Students at first had trouble understanding that there was no wrong answer and that creativity and self-expression was the goal of the class.
  • As the Dream Classes program is located in Kralanh and the rest of our programs are in Siem Reap, we have found it challenging to offer as much support to the Dream Project Coordinator as is desirable. Regular planned visits are now in place along with constant support via email.
  • Working with government schools can cause scheduling challenges, especially for special events.
  • Low attendance is an issue we face. Families often pressure students to get married, migrate to Thailand for work, or stay at home to help out with domestic tasks, which lead to their drop-out from school. Students arriving late for class is also an ongoing issue.
  • In 2014, due to major countrywide changes affecting the 2014-2015 academic year, Dream Class did not commence until December, one month later than anticipated.
  • Dream Class initially was offered to students in grade 9 at Chanleas Dai Junior High School and grade 12 at Kralanh High School. In 2014, we chose to focus the class on grade 10, 11, and 12 students only as we found that the younger students struggled to understand some of the concepts of the class.

  

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