ACTS champions education
Last year’s annual ACTS outreach to Phnom Penh from Dec 14th to 20th was a journey made by 350 participants. The highlight of the mission was the inauguration of the Don Bosco High School in Tuek Thla, Cambodia on Dec 15th, marking a momentous day in Don Bosco School’s history.
The inauguration ceremony was graced by guest–of-honour, His Excellency Pa Socheatvong, Governor of Phnom Penh and Battambang. The ceremony was attended by local government officials, representatives from major donors, several bishops and priests of Phnom Penh and Battambang, and also religious and officials from various ministries.
Dr Lee fondly recalled how “…some primary school leavers were spotted looking in through the fence of Don Bosco School-TT at the activities that were happening during one of our visits. I realised that many were unable to do any other jobs except factory assembly work or worse take to the streets as few lucky ones are offered scholarships to continue high school education.”
The committee then began efforts to raise funds and plans were put out to prepare for the running and staffing of the new school. ACTS played an instrumental role in securing the free services of a Singapore engineer and quality surveyor to supervise the construction for the new high school. This school costed $1.8 million to build and private fund-raising began 10 years ago. $1 million was collected through private fundraising efforts and the remaining came in through donations from CHARIS and Dutch Foundation Porticus.
In 2013, the school welcomed the first batch of girls and lessons were conducted in the existing elementary school. In February 2013, students and parents alike all chipped in to begin clearing the land. Groundbreaking took place in April 2013 with the signing of the building contract 2 months later. The cornerstone for the high school was laid in August 2013 and construction started. Don Bosco High School was finally completed on 18th September 2014.
Lessons were conducted on 1st October 2014. The new school comes equipped with a science laboratory, a home economics hall, a music room, a computer laboratory and a canteen. The total present capacity in Don Bosco High School Tuek Thla is 480 students up to grade 12, but the school building plan has catered for the possibility of expanding to another 12 classes of 40 students each.
Today this looming and handsome building stand as a testament of patience and determination of the architect team and the many benefactors (Singaporean and overseas) who have gave of their time, money and efforts to help the Salesian Sisters realised their work to provide a bigger and safe haven to teach and guide the youth and young of Cambodians for a better tomorrow.
ACTS Singapore will continue in our mission to help every child who wants a place to learn and to achieve his/her dream. With the opening of Don Bosco High School the dream is one step closer to reality for some students.
After all, it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed to move mountains.