The School Library
In 2008 the school received an unexpected and very welcome contact from an American couple from Allentown, Pennsylvania. The couple actually grew up in Uganda and Tanzania during the 1970s, and they had attended schools quite similar to Savong’s School. Dilshad and Amir had seen Savong’s School on our website and simply connected with the objectives of the school. They knew what a huge difference their schools had made in their own lives. “We’d like to give something back,” they told us, “we’d like to build a library.”
That was in May 2008, and Savong quickly got a building quote from a builder. At the time Cambodia was experiencing runaway inflation, and CNN reports told us how bricks, for example, were going up in price on a daily basis. There was no time to lose.
With an agreed budget, the builders set to work and within 12 weeks the library was completed. Throughout the project Dilshad and Amir provided encouragement to Savong and Savong kept a steady flow of emails showing progress photos of the library.
What a handsome building it is. It contains one main library room, an office, a central meeting room – classroom – with a big table as well as a computer classroom where the school will teach basic computer skills to student.
Dilshad and Amir have made a lasting impact on the school, and the book collection is quickly growing. The students are keen readers, and immediately after the library was opened (with a big ceremony,) we found the school roll went up significantly. The library is a popular place in a community where books are a luxury.
Giving books is easy. We work on the principle that freight is both expensive and that packages don’t always get through, and that a better way to give books is to send a donation to the school, earmarked for books. If you are visiting the school, then nominate an amount you’d be comfortable to spend and ask to go shopping with the teachers. The educational bookstore in Siem Reap is well stocked, and choosing the books with the teachers is a pleasurable assignment. The library has books in Khmer, English and Japanese, and comics or graphic novels are especially popular.