Chumkriel Language School (CLS) began as a dream of Mr Nget Sokonthy (Mr Thy), the Director of CLS. Mr. Thy grew up in a big family in a remote village in Cambodia. He had little access to education, and no English classes at all. Mr Thy discovered – and still believes – that many education and employment opportunities are missed by rural Cambodians due to lack of education.
When Mr. Thy moved to Kampot to pursue a teaching career, he noticed a difference in the quality of education between rural and city schools. If children in the rural communities were not given access to additional education, their future job prospects were limited.
He established CLS with the simple vision that, if children have access to quality education, they have more opportunities for their future. Helping people to help themselves is a key to the CLS philosophy.
The Chumkriel Community was chosen as there were no English classes available in the locality, despite it being only a few kilometres from the city of Kampot.
Chumkriel Language School (CLS) opened in February 2005. On the first day, Mr. Thy sat in a classroom with one desk and a few chairs. He expected a handful of students to turn up, but on the first night 100 students arrived ready to learn. Today the Chumkriel school and another sponsored by CLS at Ang Prey are teaching English to over 400 students. Enrolments are constantly increasing.
The dream of extending wider education to the Chumkriel Community blossomed in 2008 when CLS opened the Chumkriel Learning Center. This was a response to unpredictable State School schedules which saw many young students with nothing to do. The Learning Centre gave these younger children access to basic Khmer subjects and English, as well as health and hygiene training, and this is being extended through them to their families.