Bayon School’s origins go back more than 20 years. Since 2014, “Bayon Education and Development” is a Cambodian association which is supported by a French association called “SEP du Bayon”. We are committed to the education of children and students who live in precarious conditions; we currently support more than 400 young Cambodians from infant school right the way through to university or via a professional training programme in baking and pastry.
Behind this associative picture hides the story of 400 personalities, 400 different paths where each and every one of our students gives meaning to what we do. Let’s put the figures to one side and concentrate on the individual, take a step back from the school itself and go back into the field to get a sense of what is really going on, to understand. Understand what is happening in the life of these young people who live with very little, who move through life thanks to parents who fight or parents who sometimes give up that fight. Listen to them. Allow them to express themselves so that we can adapt our actions to what they need.
We took the decision to expand our social team which is now made up of four people: Thorth (Manager), Soky, Chhein and Srotom (social assistants).
This team selects the pupils once they are of age to enter primary school (one of the differences with the state schools), based on the following criteria: the family income, their living conditions, the number of working family members and dependent children, the amount of debt, their medical and sanitary conditions. This assessment gives rise to the attribution of social criteria levels: 1, 2 or 3 (1 being awarded to the most fragile families).
These same levels are used for the young people who make up the “Follow-Up” programme (students in middle school and then high school after having followed the primary school programme with Bayon) and for the recruitment of students for the Pastry School.
Thanks to close monitoring and annual visits, our social team are able to assess any changes in our families’ situation.
At the end of 2019, it came to our attention that some of the families, who were benefitting from the “Follow-Up” programme, had seen their financial situation improve with higher income. We had to make some difficult, but necessary decisions, passing these families, who were previously Level 3, to a newly created Level 4. This change of level meant stopping financial aid for 15 students (12 families), whilst maintaining school and professional support.
As far as we at Bayon are concerned, this decision is, above all, good news, in the sense that the families have become more independent, better armed to face their daily challenges, freer. They give us hope for the future and allow us to help those families who really need it, with the hope that they, when the time comes, will also be able to set off on their own.