Prei Changha village, Banteay Meanchey province is a good two to two-and-a-half hour ride away from the popular destination, Siem Reap – and it’s just what you expect it to be: remote and quiet.
It was unusually busy on the day of the Acronis School Opening Ceremony, given the presence of the Province Governor and other officials, with security officers checking arriving cars.
In addition to the children of Prei Changha, students from three surrounding villages travel to attend this school from kindergarten through grade six – walking miles every day doesn’t stop them. Of the five classrooms at the school, three were wooden buildings with tiled roofs. These three were in desperate need of reconstruction, as they had deteriorated over time and threatened to collapse, putting children’s safety at serious risk.
To provide a safe learning environment for the 453 children aged five to 12, and deal with the increasing number of students, the Acronis Foundation supported the construction of a school building in collaboration with the Swiss non-profit organization, Child’s Dream. The new 360‑square-meter facility features five completely furnished classrooms and five toilets. Construction started in March 2018. The opening ceremony took place on December 3rd, 2018.
To create a feeling of solidarity and ensure the project was fully supported by the villagers, the local community participated in the construction process and helped to organize the opening celebration.
“The ceremony, while official, was truly endearing – following the local monks’ blessing upon Acronis Foundation and Child’s Dream team members, we witnessed Khmer traditional dancing performed by a group of local school girls,” said Woan-Shin Chiong, Director of Government Relations and Partnership development for Acronis. “Dressed in traditional clothes, with makeup applied despite the heat, each of them danced beautifully while holding up a bowl full of flower petals.”
Shortly after, more than 600 people were lucky enough to witness an address by local honorary schoolkids – and their promise to study hard, never skip school, and listen to their teachers.
Steve Goh, Acronis Vice President for Sales in APAC & Japan, pointed out that for a place so remote, it was amazing to see the level of organization, the dedication shown by local teachers and villagers – everyone was so excited about the school, about their kids getting a proper education, and a chance to excel in life. “Having known only a few phrases in English, at the end children were running up to hug us goodbye, saying “Thank you” – I know I speak for my team when I say we felt the same way,” Goh said. He is planning to come back soon, to check up on Acronis school again.