Report about the project of Andaung Cheng by Fr. John Visser, DBFC’s Country Representative

Don Bosco Andaung Cheng is one of the two literacy centers of the DBFC in the city of Battambang. It was created to rescue the child workers of the Battambang brick factories who were working under very difficult conditions and out of school.

The Andaung Chanh Don Bosco Literacy Center is located in Battambang, juts along the road to Poipet. The address is ‘Battambang – Poipet Road´, Ochar Commune, Battambang District.

The person in charge of the Center is Miss Sun Sarika (HP 012 78 86 47) and the coordinator is Mrs Tineke Van De Beek (HP 012 58 35 16). Email Us


Battambang Town is the provincial capital of Battambang Province. The province of Battambang is located just soutwest of the Tonle Sap Lake in the northwest of Cambodia, bordering with Thailand. It is the “rice bowl” of the Kingdom of Cambodia. The land area is 1,170,200 hectares. It has a population of about 889,530 people. The density of the population is slightly higher than the rest of Cambodia (76.54 per km2 against 64. The province consists in 12 districts, 89 communes and 611 villages.

The average household is about 5.3 people per family. The percentage of the children, as in all the country is very high: about 45% of population is aged 1-14 while the economically productive age group is (15-64) forms about 52% of population. Unmarried males are more than unmarried females. The proportion for widows,divorced and separated are higher for females than males.

 Literacy and Education

Among the population aged 7 and above, male literacy rates is considerably higher than female, while literacy rate is higher in urban than in rural areas. 63.4% of people (aged 7 and above) have not completed primary school. 23.1% have completed primary and 9.0% the lower secondary (level 9). 2.7 have a secondary level qualification and 0.2% completed beyond secondary level (level 12).

 The Literacy Center

The project was conceived in 1999 with opening of the first Literacy Center-Andung Chenh. Battambang is a province where many refugees settled after the problems with Khmer Rouge was solved. Non employment was, however, rampant and therefore, many socials ills and problems roused, such as prostitution, street children, abandoned children and out-of-school children and youth. The government has donated a piece of land in 1993.

In 1999, the Land Register Department of Battambang has made the measurements of the land given by His excellency Governor of Battambang and gave permission to build the fence in order to determine with precision the limits of the land. (Letter Ref. N. 1839, Excellency Governor of Battambang Province).

Literacy Education is a non-formal education that has three main goals: reduce poverty, eradicate illiteracy and education for all. While basic education (elementary and lower secondary level) is free, the poor cannot never avail for such education. The educational institutions are overcrowded and only those who can contribute financially can have access to study. The poor and the orphaned will always be on the disadvantaged. Thus, without basic education and skills, children and youth will crowd the streets unable to find work or qualify for steady and decent employment.

 Future Agricultural Project

Battambang Province is an agricultural area with a sustainability economy. People produce rice and other alimentary products such as fruits and vegetables, corn and sugar cane. The land is fertile but due to lack of technology and access to quality seeds and system of irrigation, the produce is low. Rice harvest is only once a year and is done in rainy season. In dry season, people find work in the country or go to Thailand.

With basic instruction on agriculture, produce will be improved. New technology on cultivation, hard work and product conservation will improve the life standard of people.

Rice mills and bricks factories are plenty in Battambang. However, their work conditions are hard, difficult and hazardous. Workers of families live inside the factories in a very bad accommodations and hygienic conditions. Children and young people help in the works of the parents and therefore, remain illiterate.

Lately, the number of hotels has increased in the city. Tourists spend overnight on their way to Siem Riep. Angkor Wat is attracting visitors. Other forbidden attractions- sex, gambling and drugs are tolerated in Cambodia. There is a need to counteract these activities through education and skills training.

However, the future of the province will still be on agriculture and agrarian products. There is, therefore, a need to develop new technologies and new methods. Don Bosco will respond to this need by offering competitive advantages to the Literacy Education that had already been in progress since 1999.

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