Going on a field trip is usually an emotional “shock”. So, I am really excited about going to Cambodia with a group of IKEA co-workers and sharing this strong experience with them.
Cambodia is infamous for the Khmer Rouge regime 1975-79, when approximately 1.5 million people were killed, especially intellectuals, academics, teachers or anyone with an education. So, the education system was totally destroyed and has since then slowly been rebuilt, but there are still major issues to be addressed. Today, the national enrollment rate for primary education is approximately 95.2 % but less than half of all children who enter primary education eventually complete grade 9.
Children don’t have enough school supplies, classes are extremely crowded, and there is not nearly enough seating for all… Schools often lack toilets, there is little drinking water, and teachers often lack adequate training…. Even worse, school children are subjected to physical punishment. Save the Children conducted a baseline study which showed that 80% of the students surveyed were beaten, verbally abused or both, by their teachers.
During our trip to Cambodia, we will see the faces of the children behind these staggering figures, but most importantly, we will witness how Save the Children and the IKEA Foundation are working hand in hand to improve the conditions of these children and give them the possibility of a better future.
Together with the IKEA Foundation, Save the Children will work to improve the school environment in disadvantaged rural and remote schools, with a particular focus on supporting marginalised groups such as girls, children from ethnic minorities and children with disabilities.
Over the next couple of weeks, you’ll be able to follow our journey on this blog. We look forward to sharing the journey with you.