The Crane Academy
These donations have enabled a significant amount of progress to be made at the school, including the installation of solar power – giving them lights and electricity for the first time so the girls can continue their studies after the 6.30pm sunset. A new well was installed too, giving the school direct access to clean water for the first time. In addition, we have sponsored over 40 children who have been able to benefit from an education. Evelyn, our first student, went on to become a teacher and is now married with two children of her own.
By September 2017 our spectacular fundraising efforts meant that the school could open its doors to the 300 children of the village for the first time. To get to this stage a village meeting was called and UWS workers were able to explain the benefits of providing a school for the village, partnered with the Royal High School Bath. An education provides the children with alternatives to rice farming, to early marriage and (since a clean well is also provided), public health is improved cutting child mortality rates in half. The village voted unanimously in favour, the timber was brought and the school erected.
In July 2018, 14 intrepid students made the journey to visit the school and run a holiday club for the children there. Sports, drama, music and art sessions were run to complement the curriculum taught at the school in turn time. It's fair to say though that our RHS girls learned at least as much from the Cambodian children as they taught them – working as a team to communicate and interact in difficult conditions they developed their understanding and truly became global citizens.
So much has been done by our school community to support this link so far and this is certainly something to be celebrated. From buying a cake or a wristband, taking part in writing children’s books to be translated into Khmer, to carol singing, Catwalk for Cambodia, Rowing for Ropov and organising a wine and cheese evening we have been active and committed to the cause.
Keo Ropov school is now well-established and it's a great shame that our second expedition was cancelled as a result of the pandemic. Nonetheless we remained committed even in lockdown when all of our Year 9s took part in a UWS Partner Schools day in July which will give us many ways to fundraise and stay in touch with RHS Keo Ropov this coming year.