Helping Hands Cambodia is a grass roots aid organisation empowering Cambodians living in poverty to help themselves.
We operate a school in the village of Prasat Char. Amongst many other things, we teach the children English, Cambodian reading and writing (to kindergarten classes), and health and hygiene related issues.
In a tourist-dominated city like Siem Reap, English is an absolute necessity if our children want to get a good job one day.
The school curriculum is designed to complement, not replace, the education provided by the Cambodian government schools. Students are only allowed to attend our school if they are also enrolled in the government school.
Cambodian children only attend government school for half a day, which means the students are free to attend our school during the other half of the day.
We have approximately 285 students and an almost even number of girls and boys.
We run our Cambodian (Khmer language) reading and writing classes for our kindergarten students. It has become apparent that. when these students start to attend the government school, they perform better than the children who haven’t been attending our classes.
Our school has solar power, a state-of-the-art water pump, and a vegetable garden. We also have a growing library of books in both English and Khmer to foster our kids’ interest in reading.
Iqbal Masih was the boy who wanted to go to school
Iqbal Masih was born in 1982 and died in 1995, when he was just thirteen years old. He lived in Pakistan.
When Iqbal was four years old, his family sold him to a carpet factory owner to work as a slave for $12 . They did this because they were very, very poor.
Iqbal was held by a chain to a carpet loom and was made to work sixteen hours per day. He was repeatedly beaten for disobedience, and was given very little food.
When he was twelve years old, Iqbal was only the size of a six year old. At the age of ten, he escaped the slavery, and he began to speak out against child slavery and in favour of freedom and schools for all Pakistani children.
Iqbal joined the BLLF, an organisation that worked to free child slaves. Iqbals’ goal was to help stop child labour around the world, and he helped over 3000 Pakistani child slaves escape to freedom. He also managed to complete five years of schooling in just three years. His dream was to become a lawyer.
Sadly, Iqbal was shot and killed on 16 April 1995, at the age of thirteen, because of his work against the child labour industry.
Iqbal is a hero who died trying to make the lives of other children better. This is why we have called our school ‘Iqbal School’.
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