The beginning of education; the eternity of love

Children at Preah Theat Primary School are polite, never late, and they help each other. When they were folding paper planes, those who were faster helped those who were slower in doing it; they also exchanged crayons of different colours with each other. After lunch break, all of them returned to the classroom for more lectures. When they recited aloud in class, I felt their innocent enthusiasm.

Home visit
Home visit

After our journey on bumpy roads, we arrived at a village to meet ethnic minorities and children with disabilities. Due to changes that happened to them by birth and by accident, they have been forced to encounter many challenges in their everyday lives.

A girl broke her leg in a car accident when she was five. After surgery and rehabilitation, now she can run and jump around with us, and we also folded paper together. When we were leaving, she saw us off with a paper flower in her hand.

Linda said, “Although I come from a poor family, I still get to go to school. Thank you.”

Two boys are going to receive surgery and treatment. Their politeness and optimism impressed me a lot. I’m sure everything will turn out fine for them.

A boy with disabilities cannot complete his education due to obstacles. I hope he can be helped to further develop his skills in the future, to realise his dream of becoming a painter.

Every bicycle that helps children get to school keeps their hope and their parents’ anticipation going.
Every “thank you” is a sincere expression of their gratefulness.
Every smile makes me feel the innocence of children and the beauty of humanity.


Roeul Primary School is a school emphasising positive education. We visited a class of sixth grade students, whose ages fall between 10 and 14.

In a mathematics lecture, the teacher asked students to stand up and explain the questions and answers. All students were very motivated to raise their hands, and obviously enjoyed learning.
Two of the children don’t have intact arms. There was a girl with a deformed right arm and a boy without a right arm. Still, they were very involved in the class to answer those math questions. Being accompanied by their classmates has made them more confident.

When we exchanged ideas with the student council and some parents, we asked the children if they want to go to other countries in the future, and they said they want to stay in their own country—Cambodia.

I feel they really cherish the chance they have for being able to go to school, and they’re very outgoing and open-minded. When they were drawing, a boy asked me with a smile, “What’s your name?” Simple communication like this brought us closer to each other.

Later we visited a village to talk to some families to learn what education is like there. There were about 50-60 children under 14 in the village. Most parents brought their 3-5 year-old children to sit on the floor with us, and everyone was chatting and drawing happily, like a big family.

After our interview, I gave them some souvenirs, and a woman gave us back a basket of palm candies and a bag of snacks. Everyone was saying goodbye with big smiles on their faces when we left.

Sincere interactions we had. Be happy to share; cherish what we have.


After participating in the IWitness programme, now I know how the money we donate by buying stuffed animals is used. The IKEA Foundation works with Save the Children to help ethnic minorities and children with disabilities have a better education, for example by sponsoring bikes for children to ride to school, spreading positive education ideas to parents and teachers, and taking care of minority groups long term.

Before I came here, I thought these families and children would be afraid of strangers. But they turned out to be so nice and friendly.

Save the Children put a lot of efforts in children’s education to make Cambodian children become independent and eager to help others. Almost every school has a student council consisting of class representatives.

According to my observation, the children really love to learn and share. Moreover, they say “hello” and “thank you” all the time, very polite.

What impressed me most is the smile of Cambodian children—it’s the best kind of communication among people.

Seeing how content they are, it brings us back to the innocent heart of a child. I believe knowledge is power, and children who receive education will bring a better life to their families.

    Perry Chiu