Sunday, December 11, 2011

Last Days in Siem Reap

It is time to pass on the money raised, even so it's not much at £130 total.
Looking at local costs and the difficulty of accessing a further out farming family I am considering to split the money between Nakry and his immediate family and his cousin who is 16 and was taken out of school to work as a day labourer on other people's fields. This work brings at most $4 a day for skilled labour and my hunch is that women get a lower rate than that. I'd love to be able to send her back to school to finish at least the basic education (High School) + ideally a language qualification that would help a lot also.

Good and verified / recognized Language classes here cost around $110-$190 for a 3 month term of 45 lessons. The changing price depends on the level taught. Academic language training with international IELTS testing is available as well, but the Basic Language skills have to be learnt first.

If I had a steady income I would love to be able to say: I will pay for you to take the full program of lessons over the next 3 years. It really makes me feel strange to not be able to help. It's a matter of $50-$70 a month. (help would be needed with transport costs and that could end up being $10 for each trip she makes to town to attend lesson as there are no local busses and transport relies on pick-up trucks and scooters and tuk-tuks charging $5 for a single journey). That's not much money.

I'd love to send Nakry, too.

The bottom line is probably that I should offer Nakry something to teach her and try help him to gain qualifications in order to pass them on. As he is more independent in the first place, with being a male (which makes him safer on longer journeys to town and also culturally it is preferred for women to not travel too far - I imagine a lot of this is about security.)

I wish I had an income and could help others make positive changes themselves... argh...

Women and girls are so much safer when educated! A study I read somewhere found that there is a direct relation between the schooling of a girl and her future children. It showed that approximately for every term that she would remain in education she would make sure that her future children would remain in education a year longer.. That's quite an equation!

Also given the levels of poverty here and the uncertainty of tourism (which often seems the only real source of income) girls are really vulnerable to the sex trade. It's not a Myth, it's not dramatization, it's a real but hidden and secretive problem. The trade of girls and women is real. And it is proven that education helps.

I speculate that of course the more girls are ins school the more want to also be in school and even if they are not able to attend the general dynamic will create more knowledge and more self determination among girls and women of any age.

It often seem strange to me how here even graduates of English Literature Studies have not heard and much less read authors like George Orwell. I would have thought that any english literature course would read 1984, I would certainly wish they would. But the way things are I think Cambodians here in Siem Reap are a long way off from Critical Studies. It is easy to be dismissive of degree programs at home that are called "Critical Studies", " Media Studies", Gender Studies... it all sounds a bit wishy-washy at times, but seeing it from here those are amazing testaments to the freedom we have to really think about who we are and how we fundamentally and subtly affect each other and the world around us. Here people learn to english language but I am not sure if they learn much in terms of content.

I am by no means meaning to imply an absence of intellect, but rather an absence of available course programs and not enough opportunities to access what is available in limited quantities.

I'll change the ££'s into $$'s today and take as much as I think is right to Nakry's family.

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