Dr. Layheng Ting’s First Three Days
Photo credit: Adam Kronk
The fourth week of January 2011 was Dr. Layheng Ting’s first week as PEPY’s new director. Everyone was very excited to meet her. We could not wait to welcome her to the morning meeting with all our staff together at the PEPY office in Siem Reap. In the meeting, we all shared our accomplishments and dreams for the future. Even after a short presentation and introduction from Layheng, we knew we had found the right person for PEPY. We all thought that Layheng was AWESOME!
As one of the Communications Team members in PEPY’s Siem Reap office, it is part of my job to be a liaison between Layheng and her program management team as well as the rest of the people who support PEPY. I felt lucky to be able to spend most of Layheng’s first week with her to learn more about PEPY’s programs, as well as document what we learned.
In the afternoon, we traveled 65km, because we could not wait to introduce Layheng to our program staff at our partner schools. Our young leaders were anticipating the arrival of their new director and were anxious to meet her.
After the one and a half hour journey, from a smooth road to a dusty bumpy one, we arrived at Chanleas Dai primary school. Dr. Layheng Ting was greeted with clapping and cheers and a warm welcome from our staff. After dinner, each of our staff gave a short self-introduction and shared their accomplishments and dreams. Clapping and laughing continued into the night.
Dr. Layheng Ting’s second day was as busy as her first, as our new director got a greater insight into PEPY’s programs in Chanleas Dai. First we heard an introduction to the SAS program, which is working to empower local communities to develop sustainable solutions to problems they’ve identified and improve the quality of education in their area. We also learned about their challenges for their programs and their ideas for how it can improve.
We then learned about the Creating Learning Class (CLC) Lessons introduced by CLC involved creativity, art, science, drawing, XOs laptops, robots, and global geography… it really made us want to be a child again! This is such a great program for primary schools, especially in Chanleas Dai, as it is a rural area of Cambodia. You would expect to see these subjects only in high school or in a special private school in the capital, Phnom Penh.
The following day we heard a presentation on the Library Program that is located in Chanleas Dai primary school. The library staff provided a very detailed presentation to us by drawing pictures of each area they are working on. This program is working well, and the school principal increased library time to 90 or 120 minutes per week for all students. The library staff has worked hard to make their library a friendly area for students to come and read, ask questions, and participate in role-play activities, group discussion, and games. The students come to the library every day even during their break time, which means that the library is not just part of the curriculum, but is also a warm and welcoming place for the students to come again and again. Moreover, the library team is reaching out and sharing their work and experience to other libraries in Chanleas Dai commune. Some people think it’s the best library in Cambodia!
We then went to Prasat Knar primary school, which is 20 km away from Chanleas Dai primary school and located in Krouch Kor village, Prasat Knar commune. The SAS training was given to school principals and members of the school support committees on how to write proposals. The purpose of providing this training to the community is because SAS wants to improve the capacity of leaders to develop their own community in the future. This training will help them to identify and prioritize problems, and provide a plan to solve those problems by writing a proposal to support their community. The training also opened their eyes to improving Cambodian education by empowering the community as much as possible to get involved and improve their quality of life.
On the last day, I was not able to attend, but some final programs gave their presentations to Dr. Ting. Layheng met with Chim Seng to learn about our Traveling English Teacher Support program. As the coordinator of this program, he is now working with 10 government teachers in 5 primary schools. Layheng also watched an amazing play put on by the members of the Child-to-Child team to highlight the goals and activities of this community program.
During the week, we also had a meeting of all of the PEPY staff for the first time to enable Dr. Layheng to introduce herself. It was a great opportunity to get to know each other through ice-breakers, group activities, and games. Dr. Layheng Ting gave a friendly talk, telling us about her experience of 5 years living and studying in the USA for her PhD – all of the staff were very impressed with her achievements. Layheng’s arrival has inspired us to lift up to achieve our dreams!