Transforming the Lives of Students with Disabilities at the Don Bosco Foundation of Cambodia at Don Bosco Technical School and Children Fund, Kep Province
Sponsored by USAID through its Program American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) and Salesian Missions, New Rochelle
Press Release 02/03/2017
KEP CITY, 03 FEBRUARY 2017. The Salesian Cambodian Delegation celebrated the Feast of Saint John Bosco 2017 at Don Bosco Technical School and Children Fund of Kep Province with the official opening of the Project “Transforming the Lives of Students with Disabilities” sponsored by USAID-ASHA and Salesian Missions. The Project was presented by Fr Albeiro Rodas, SDB, Rector of Don Bosco Kep at the beginning of 2014 through Salesian Missions, New Rochelle and it was approved by USAID on September 24, 2014 with a federal funding of $65,400.
The Project includes the installation of a lift for physically challenged people between the Angkor Borei and Don Rua buildings, guaranteeing their access to the technical sections, hospitality rooms and male students residence, the construction of ramps, especially a big one to the female students building and three restrooms for physically challenged people.
The Program started with the celebration of the Solemn Mass of Saint John Bosco presided by Fr Roel Soto, Salesian Superior for Cambodia, Fr Albeiro Rodas, Rector and Fr Gianluca Tavola and Fr John Maung Peng representing the Catholic Parish of Kampot. Saint John Bosco passed away on January 31, 1888 in Turin, Italy, letting a legacy of education of poor children and young people through his Salesian Family, made of priests, brothers, sisters, lay people, volunteers and young leaders, present today in 133 countries. Don Bosco got his first contact with the Cambodian people at the refugee camps in Thailand in 1988, when the Salesians were invited by the United Nations to support children and youth who were fleeing the long armed conflicts of their country. In 1991 they were invited by the Royal Government to settle in Phnom Penh to open technical schools and the Children Fund with the leadership of Dutch Fr John Visser and Italian Br Roberto Panetto.
At 9 AM students and teachers of Don Bosco Kep welcome the representative from USAID, Mr Sean Callahan, USAID Cambodia´s Deputy Mission Director, as well as Fr Mark Hyde, who is the Director of Salesian Missions and Mr Jaime Correa-Montalvo, Director of International Projects. In order to give a deep sense to the official opening, two Don Bosco Kep past pupils attended the ceremony: Mr Anh Pak, Art Communication and Mr Savong Vuth, Social Communication, both working and studying currently in Phnom Penh. Mr Anh Pak came also with Dr Philippe Long, who was the person who take care of him when he was a small boy and was crippled by polio in his original Kampot village. Thanks to donors, Dr Long could operate the boy to be able to sit down on a wheelchair and attend basic and secondary education before joining Don Bosco. It was Mr Anh Pak the main inspiration to ensure that students in a wheelchair could access all Don Bosco facilities. Mr Savong Vuth came with Ms Lidia Linde, the president of the Siem Reap based organization Together for Cambodia that cares for vulnerable children. She was responsible to ensure that little Savong did not end as a beggar at the Angkorian temples, but keep going to study. Savong was born without legs and now is working as a web designer in TV5 Channel. Recently and thanks to donors motivated by Ms Linde, he got a protesis that allows him to stand at natural height.
The Governor of Kep Province, His Excellency Khem Setha, paid a visit to the Don Bosco Kep Campus during the same day at 2 PM. He came with all official delegations from the Province and praised the Project that will open opportunities for children and youth that are physically challenged. The afternoon was also filled of sport activities in a friendly football match between students of Kep and Sihanoukville. During the night there was a Cultural Program organized by students and children. Read more here.
Don Bosco Foundation of Cambodia (DBFC) is a national and international not-for-profit organization based in the Kingdom of Cambodia since 1991 in agreement with the Royal Government, MOU No. 828 OI/MFAC May 26, 2015 for the education of children and youth from unprivileged or at risk communities. It has the Don Bosco Children Fund, kindergartens, literacy centers, youth centers and technical schools, all intended to give opportunities to children and youth from very poor families in order to prevent child labor or any form of exploitation and abuse of children and youth in Cambodia. The Don Bosco Technical School and Children Fund of Kep was open in October 2011 under the guidance of Fr Albeiro Rodas (Fr Samnang) with emphasis in children and youth from Kep, Kampot, Takeo and Ratanakiri provinces. The Project works for the wellbeing of children and youth from rural families, ethnic minorities and persons who are physically challenged. It includes the empowering of girls and women and the education in the protection of the environment.
Fr Albeiro Rodas, DBFC’s Communications (+855) 97.371.2020 (WhatsApp)
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