One of Saron’s visions was the availability of English classes for people in the remote villages. Saron felt so fortunate to be fluent in English, as a result of his years in the UN Resettlement Camp, because it gave him many opportunities. While English classes are offered now in bigger towns and cities in Cambodia, there are no resources for children or adults in remote villages.
When Saron designed the Library, he provided a cement roof on the one story Library so that in the future a second story could be added for English classes.
In May 2015, Antonia (Tonie) Guillen-Parrish, owner of Accommodations Vail*Beaver Creek, LLC approached our Project with the goal of making English classes a reality. She wanted to honor a mentor, Grace E. Nielsen, her first grade teacher. Ms. Nielsen was known for her love of children and such was clearly reflected in the kind patience with which she taught Tonie to speak English when Tonie arrived to the US with her parents at the age of seven. This donation is made in Ms. Nielson's memory from a grateful student whose life would not had as many opportunities without her loving guidance. Tonie’s donation to our Project provided a year’s salary for a qualified English teacher. The English teacher’s salary is $60/month. One class is now offered at the Kouk Reang’ Village Library 5 days/week for 1.5 hours each afternoon 4-5:30. (Classes are not in session Sept 3-Oct 31- as it coincides with the Government school vacation.)31 students applied and a class of 15-25 students was selected. A class started July 1st. Average class size is about 15 students as some students can’t attend every day as their parents need them to collect mushrooms and make vegetable sales, etc. Donations from our Project earmarked for the Library provided a white board; marker pens; 25 English books for kids and one for the teacher. The English teacher is: Bang Sophal. She is 23 years old and a teacher at The Kouk Reang' Primary School. She is from Odor Meanchey Province .
Scout and Stella Bohlender collected primary grade English books in Ft. Collins, CO. They gave these books to the Library at the dedication with a goal of introducing children and adults to the English Language.
Many villagers have asked for a second English class to be taught. Therefore, it is important that the second floor of the Library become a reality. At this time our Project is looking for another funding source as the estimated costs for this construction is well beyond our local fundraising efforts.