Cambodia is a post-conflict society. The struggles that come with that identity are most evident in the rural communities, where a lack of infrastructure and inadequate education create widespread problems. Countryside Class is aiming at a community level to target these problems proactively by educating the next generation of Cambodia to be critical, social thinkers. Children have the potential to be the greatest agents of change because their youth allows them to be open minded to new ideas and better life habits.
Our newest project has been a goal of Countryside Class since opening its doors in 2010: to address the increasing plastic waste in our village and across the country. Environmental knowledge is not common and smaller communities do not have an easy method of recycling. So the trash builds up along our roads and in our river, or it is burned, releasing harmful chemicals into our air.
We have a plan, but we need your help! Starting this project requires certain start up costs that we don’t have on hand. We need $380 to get this project started and to keep it going. You can read more about our project and see the itemized budget below. Please consider contributing to our first social action project. Our students are extremely excited to do some work in the community, but they can’t do it without your help!
All of us in the community recognize that this is a growing problem, but behavior change is extremely difficult to start. Our plan is to start with the children in the community, by making them think about the long-term effects of excessive plastic. The ideas of how to change will come once they have the knowledge and skills to think for themselves. We want to talk to our students about the need for a clean community and encourage them to work toward this goal. We want to show the people that, even though we are a small community, we still care about ourselves and our environment. When our students begin the project and change their own behavior, we can influence the rest of the community to the same kind of action.
Every April our students put on a Khmer New Year performance at the pagoda in Kampongseyma Village, and this year we want to make the environment a part of our program. Starting from the end of March we will have several parts to this long-term project that will move toward a healthier community for all of us.
On April 12, 2014, almost 100 of our students will spend the whole day walking from home to home in our community, collecting plastic trash and talking with community members about the importance of keeping our community clean.
Then, during our Khmer New Year performance, we will make sure that several bins are available for the collection of plastic waste (bags, water bottles, and straws, being the most common). And on the 15th we will have an entertaining presentation and community discussion with Q&A prizes about recycling and the environment. Also, with some of the plastic that was collected on April 12th we will construct a statue to keep at the pagoda, an image of a man trying to clean up plastic waste but the mountain of plastic is larger than just one person.
Our project doesn’t stop with Khmer New Year. We have made an arrangement with a recycling center in Battambang Town, and he will pay per kilo for certain plastics that we collect. We will keep bins at Countryside Class for the students to bring plastic waste from their neighborhoods and we will work together to sort and clean them for recycling. The money collected from this endeavor will be used to purchase incentive prizes for participating students.
In order to complete this project, we need to purchase bins, gloves, snacks and water for the community clean up, and supplies for our students to create promotional signs. The total amount needed is $380. Money can be contributed via Western Union or Money Gram.
1. Make the students think critically and active in social betterment
2. Teach the students that by changing themselves they can influence others (to ‘be the change they want to see in the world’ – Ghandi)
3. Achieve behavior change in our students and their families in decreasing the amount of plastic waste they create.
4. Clean the community and reduce the pollution in it.
- Reduce the pollution by reducing the amount of waste we make and recycling what we can.
- “By starting small, we can go big.”
- “One who change himself can influence everybody else to change themselves.”
- “The world is too big, but starting by changing yourself can change a lot.”
For more questions about this project or about other programs at Countryside Class, please contact Sambath Meas.
+855 (0)89 224 517
You can also learn more about us on our website or just find us on facebook.