Quarterly progressive report / Date: 01 February – 30 April 2015

Title: Quarterly progressive report

Date: 01 February – 30 April 2015

Submitted: ViDan Foundation Inc.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on 18 May 2015

BRIEF PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Minority Rights Organization (MIRO), with the generous support of the ViDan Foundation Inc. is implementing the “Support for school attendance of needy children in Kampong Chhnang Province” project in the period of six months from February to July 2015. The project will strive to provide education to poor interethnic: Vietnamese, Khmer and Cham children in the Kandal and Chong Koh communities of Sangkat Phsar Chhnang, Kampong Chhnang province, Cambodia. Besides the benefit for the students and their families, MIRO aims at improving interethnic relations and advocates for the human rights of Vietnamese who have been living in Cambodia for generations, but face many obstacles to obtain Cambodian nationality. As a result, they must be considered as stateless and are therefore particularly vulnerable to human rights violations.

– Goal: The goal of the project is to enable 95 needy children in the target area1 to receive an education according to the state curriculum, as well as additional private Vietnamese language classes, and have better employment opportunities.

– Objectives:

  • To provide enough knowledge and skills so that children will find jobs in the future and depend less on fishing and farming.
  • To improve interethnic relations and dialogue in the villages.
  • To maintain the number of children to access state school and private Vietnamese classes.
  • Planed project activities:
  • Support children who cannot afford to attend the state school or Vietnamese language classes with funding for their meals at school.
  • Purchase school supplies (text books, note-books, school uniforms, pens, pencils, rulers, etc.).
  • Provide Khmer state school teachers with an additional salary to ensure their full commitment to teaching as well as cover the salary of the Vietnamese language teacher.
  • Advocate with the commune chief to issue more letters of confirmation to Vietnamese children which allows for school registration.
  • Advocate for local and national authorities to grant birth certificates for Vietnamese children in order to allow them to attend state schools.
  • Consultation meeting with local authorities for advocacy (one-two day meeting)
  • Expected results/outcome:
  • 95 students can attend the second half of the school year 2015/2016.
  • School expenditures and meals of 95 students will be partly funded by the project.
  • Four teachers (2 Khmer and 2 Vietnamese) are employed at the existing school, with additional honoraria to upgrade their salary or cover it fully, respectively.
  • Authorities understand and consider the problem of newborn Vietnamese children in Cambodia who cannot obtain birth certificates, achieved by MIRO advocacy work.
  • 100 percent of the Vietnamese children funded by the project will have letters of confirmation which are accepted by the local authorities to register them with state school.
  • In the long run, education rates will result in increased proficiency in Khmer and Vietnamese languages, greater understanding of rights, increased access to employment, greater understanding of Khmer culture, traditions and history for the Vietnamese children (necessary knowledge to apply for Khmer nationality according to Nationality Law Article 8).
  • Increased communication, interaction and collaboration among Vietnamese, Khmer and Cham families.

DEVELOPMENT PROJECT

Project activities: During the period of the report, MIRO staff conducted the following activities:

1. Teaching activity The school building called “Phum Kandal Samaki Primary School” located in Kandal village, Sangkat Phsar Chhnang2 project is implemented. There are in total 95 students another 504 children who are not covered, with three of four classrooms occupied by the project.

Khmer class: Three classes learn Khmer5 in the morning, from 07:00 AM to 11:00 AM. Grade 1(A) 31 students6 include 15 girls (Vietnamese 20, Khmer 10, and Cham 01). Grade 1(B) 30 students7 include 16 girls (Vietnamese 18 and Khmer 12). 34 students8 are studying Grade 2 include 14 girls (Vietnamese 08, Cham 01, and Khmer 25).

Vietnamese class: Two classes learn Vietnamese in afternoon, from 01:30 PM to 05:00 PM. There are 38 students9 studying grade 1, including 14 girls and 1910 students are studying grade 2 which include 12 girls. The class provides the Vietnamese speaking students with the Khmer language skills which will help them apply for Cambodian citizenship, if it is required by the authorities. More practically, it helps them to find jobs and communicate with people from Cambodian society in the broader context of everyday life.

Teachers: there are five teachers11 in total including 3 Khmer teachers from the Education Department, but unfortunately one teacher is not covered by the project yet, and 2 Vietnamese teachers.  Teaching methodologies: writing on the blue board with the chalk, explanations, questions and answers. The topics provided to students were reading, writing and speaking Khmer and Vietnamese, as well as mathematics. Since the students are young and the classes very crowded, teaching may be a challenge for the teachers. Vietnamese students, who have trouble following the classes, can be especially difficult.

Students: From February to April 2015, Khmer class there is 5 outstanding students of grade 1 including 4 girls. Furthermore, 5 outstanding students of grade 2 include 2 girls. They are hardworking and on time with their studies whilst respecting school regulation. Otherwise, there are 9 slow students, including 4 girls of grade 1 and grade 2. Most of them do not pay attention to studies and often absent.

2. Follow up activity with parent of student and student survey Question 7: The provincial project officer conducted a follow up with parents of students in Kandal and Chong Koh villages where the project was implemented. During three months, there were 21 families (respondents) were follow-up by using questionnaire forms Fact-finding: almost all respondents said that the school project funded by ViDan Foundation Inc. included sponsors to create a fund for children meals, study materials, uniform, and other materials was very good. They were satisfied with this project and also want to see this project be continued in the long-term for the benefit to their communities’ especially poor families and needy children who cannot access education. In particular, they also suggested enlarging the project in order for any needy children in their communities to have a chance to enroll with the school. Meanwhile there were 4 out of 17 families are satisfied with question number 713. They made an argument that their children can only get one time for a meal which was “in lunch time” if the project provided the real lunch. But there was a problem in noon time during Vietnamese class, as their children would not have any snack to eat. Therefore if the school project still keep providing funds for children meal of 1,500 Riel per school day it is possible for their children pay for buying both session of school, “Khmer class in the morning and Vietnamese class in afternoon”. For more detail please see annex 7.

Student survey of Question 7: What do you think if the school stopped paying the 1,500 Riel per school day and transferred this money to prepare a real lunch for your children at school? The survey was done by Mr. Kimsroy TOTH, provincial project officer before teachers, on 23rd April 2015 with 95 students at school class as result: 61 students of grade 1(A)(B) did not agree with the real lunch idea. They were satisfied with the fund for children meal of 1,500 Riel per school day. Also in grade 2, 30 students agreed with the real lunch idea and the other 4 students were satisfied with funds for children meals of 1,500 Riel per school day.

3. Other events and activities:

– 13th February 2015: Accompanied Mr. Tien, ViDan Foundation Inc. Board member and his wife to visit and distribute materials to 95 needy students and teacher at Phum Kandal Samaki 12 for making interviews on a house by house basis.  primary school. He kindly distributed one gift box to one student, each gift box contained: one pen, nail scissor for boy, one can of soft drink, candy, drawing material, cake, and one set of hair ribbons for girl. The next day also accompanied him and his wife to visit and distribute something to Vietnamese students at Neak Loeung Free School. One gift box consisted of one note book, candy, cake, pen, and one can of soft drink. Please see annex 8: pictures.

– On Monday 9th March 2015, Phum Kandal Samaki primary school held a distribution ceremony14 study material and uniform to 95 children, “Khmer 47, Ethnic Vietnamese 46, and Cham 2”. This ceremony invited relevant authorities to participate such as Mr. CHEA Vuthy, representative of the Education Department in Kampong Chhnang province, Mr. KONG Savoeurn, Chief of the education office of Kampong Chhnang town, and Ms. PHUONG Chhuy Eng chief of Sangkat Phsar Chhnang. Additional relevant authorities were Mr. RIN Ratha, chief of police administration of Sangkat Phsar Chhnang, Mr. HUON Vorn, chief of Kandal village and chief of school committee, Mr. Nguyen Yang Mak and Mr. Buoy Yang Ai school committee members. Other attendees were 12 parents of the students, and as well Chin Chetha from VOA15, Mr. YEM Sokharin from Apsaranet TV. One student got one set of uniform, two textbooks “Khmer literature & mathematic”, three note books, a pen, pencil, ruler, pencil driller, one set of drawing colors, one set of writing boards, pencil eraser, and one plastic bag. The representative from the Education Department and Sangkat chief were also delivered a speech in the ceremony to the students and their parents to study hard, support the field of education and to send children to school not keep their children to help working at home. They were especially grateful to, and thanked, ViDan Foundation Inc. for kindly supporting needy children through make cooperation with Minority Rights Organization (MIRO). 16 The distribution ceremony was broadcasted with VOA, TV3, TV5, and ApsaraTV.  From 3rd-7th April 2015, Foundation Inc. to visit Kampong Chhnang, Prey Veng, and Pursat provinces. The aims of the visits were to reevaluate interviews with parents of students, visit schools and needy families, and visit and take pictures around the floating communities. On Friday 3rd April 2015 to Kampong Chhnang province: visited Phum Kandal Samaki Primary School and discussed with teachers/students, distributed student’s bags, and visited around Kandal and Chong Koh floating communities. In addition, revaluated interviews with couple parents of students, dinner meeting with local authorities, teachers, and project staff, and also took documentary pictures. On Saturday 4th April 2015 to Pursat Province: Visited around floating communities of Koh Ka Ak, Long Hai pagoda in Koh Keo, Kampong Luong, and also took documentary pictures. On Tuesday 7th April 2015 Prey Veng: Visited Neak Loeung Free School18 and Phume Doemkor friendship primary school at Doemkor village, Kampong Soeng, Pras Sdach district. ViDan Foundation Inc. also distributed student’s bags, discussed with teachers, student and allowed students written their name on the shirt as souvenir, and also took documentary pictures. 17 MIRO accompanied Mr. CongBang Nguyen, Executive Director of ViDan

Playing ground construction: the 24th April 2015, MIRO prepared advance to Mr. Kimsroy TOTH USD $1,000. MIRO made a contract with sub-contractor “Mr. Buoy Yang Ai (called Mr. Ut Ai) and Mr. Nguyen Yang Bo” to construct a school playing ground 10m x 10m equal 100squares price USD 1,000 (1square = USD10). The construction start from 29 April 2015 and finish completely 5 May 2015 refer to contract. But the project was finished completely 4 days before contract stated. 19 According to approval from ViDan Foundation Inc. via email on 20 He, on behalf of

ADVOCACY WORK AND LEGAL AID

Make observation about government plan to move ethnic Vietnamese are living on floating communities to live on the land. And the government campaign to register and issue immigration card to ethnic Vietnamese refugee in Cambodia. The Official price came from,around USD 60 per person for two years renewal.

  • 13th -16th arch 2015 after they were reacted and protested to decrease the official price for register and issue immigration card from 656 ethnic Vietnamese living in Sangkat Phsar Chhnang, Chhnok Trou, and Kampong Tralach. In the name of local organization work for protect and promote minority rights in Cambodia, MIRO Assist them to prepared petition and accompanied 18 ethnic Vietnamese representative submit the petition to Vietnam Embassy, National Assembly, Ministry of Interior, and also submit to asking for intervention from ADHOC and MIRO.
  • February 2015, there has reacted from deputy police commissioner of Kampong Chhnang about the difference official price for an immigration card between Kadal21 province and Kampong Chhnang22 province. After reconciliation and explanation from local authorities, this case was quieted.
  • Intervened and advocated the extortion case from police immigration to ethnic Vietnamese was living Kandal village: on 25th March 2015, police immigration was threatened and Ms. Chhoeurng Thy Lee and ordered to stop repairing the house. Give us some money if you want to continue repair your house, police said. She was very shocked and called MIRO’s staff to intervene. After intervention-making to police immigration she can continue to repair her house.
  • Intervened and advocated through social media the case threatened to 18 ethnic Vietnamese representative after they submitted petition on decrease the official price for register and issue immigration card. On the 3rd day (19th March 2015) after they (18 representatives) returned from submission in Phnom Penh, Police in Chhnok Trou called 7 of 18 representatives to interviewing and thread them to stop go to Phnom Penh for any protesting if not so, police will fine USD $125 per each person and take to the jail as well. And then police forced them to thumbprint on minute. Police were aware of this information through Mr. VIN Yang Min, chief of Khmer-Vietnamese Association in Boribo district, Chhnok Trou. This case, MIRO made advocacy through social media “broadcasted by CHIN Chetha, RFA on 4th May 201523”. As well you can access and download from this text from Facebook: Minority Rights Organization.

PLANS FOR NEXT REPORT

In the next and final reporting period phase II project, MIRO will manage the teaching activities until the end of the project by the end of July and will conduct a consultation meeting with local authorities (advocacy activities, follow-up activities with parent of students, and merit award to outstanding students). Since the project is important to enhance the right of the child, in particular for Vietnamese children to attend school, MIRO hopes to submit a one-year project proposal 24 to the ViDan Foundation, Inc. soon. In July 2015, the major activities of a long-term project should be based on the teaching activities advocacy work, empowerment workshops and further research on the issues of education and birth certificate.

ADMINISTRATION ISSUES

MIRO support staff issue: through recruit process policy, in February 2015 Ms. SUON Sovann is appointed as project officer with project “Empowerment of Khmer Krom Women to Political Participation and Gender Equality”. Mr. PHOM Ravy is appointed as project officer with the project “Decreasing Statelessness Among Former Ethnic Vietnamese and Khmer Krom Refugees in Cambodia”, and Ms. MEN Sokuntheary is appointed as finance officer of MIRO. Through a board of director decision- making by extraordinary meeting session was promoted Mr. NUON Sovanrith, project officer of human rights defender as a deputy director and Mr. SOURN Butmao, acting director as executive director. Ms. Judith KUNZE was resigned from her position with MIRO from March 2015 and replaced Mr. SIM Vibal as a program development advisor. Also in May 2015, MIRO recruited one part time staff, Mr. PICH Viras, as a website developer and one program assistance intern is Mr. KHERN Sokheng. Mr. MEAS Chanthon resigned from his position as a Pursat coordinator because of his too old “77 years old” and replaced by Mr. NUON Norm. MIRO finished its three years strategy plan 2015-2017 and Global MIRO Policy Manual. All documents were posted on MIRO’s website: www.mirocambodia.org

CONCLUSION

Education field is a bridge to change the lives and future of people, in particular, the ethnic Vietnamese children and contribute to building a Cambodian society in which human rights respect is prevalent. When Vietnamese children are better educated, they are more likely to find solutions for tension between the ethnic groups in the future, deal with discrimination and racism and thus ensure the decrease of violence.  The parents of the students and relevant authorities are happy and appreciate to become aware of human rights and children’s rights and commit to collaborating with MIRO. After the initial group of parents has developed such a positive attitude future endeavors to improve the situation of school attendance also among other families in Kandal and Chong Koh villages, will fall on prepared ground and are more likely to find acceptance. It is of great importance to seize the momentum and continue the project now.

APPENDICES: From annex 1 to annex 13

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