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Narrowing the gender gap in Cambodia’s schools

Narrowing the gender gap in Cambodia’s schools

The gender gap in Cambodian schools is quickly narrowing as more girls are enrolling in school. Chanthou is one of 108 scholarship students at the SOS Secondary School in Battambang, Cambodia.

According to the United Nation’s children’s agency, the overall enrollment rate in Cambodia was 95.2% in the 2010 – 2011 academic year. Education means a lot to 13-year-old Chanthou. She comes from a poor community in the Battambang District, where few opportunities are available for women.

“Attending school is very important for everyone because the teachers provide you with knowledge and experiences that make it a lot easier to find a job and have a better future,” says Chanthou eagerly. She has two elder sisters, one has already completed her education and the other is in Year 10.

A Cambodian girl does her school work at the SOS Secondary School in Battambang
Chanthou is a gifted student at the SOS Secondary School in Battambang

An educated future

Chanthou’s father, Heang Sokheng, is a primary teacher in the area. Like all parents, he explains that he wants a better future for his children. Unfortunately, his teaching career in Cambodia does not pay well, so he also works as a motor taxi driver on-the-side. His wife, Chantou’s mother, is a stay-at-home mum and grows vegetables behind their small house. She also raises chickens to support the family.

When Chanthou is done with her homework she helps her mother water the plants and feed the chickens. Chantou explains that her favorite subject in school is mathematics. Last month, she was ranked in the top five of her class. However, she is determined to do better and explains that she will study harder this month. At just 13, Chantou has decided to pursue a career path where she can give back to society.  

“In the future, I want to be a teacher so that I can help educate people and develop the country. I thank SOS Children’s Villages for helping me and other children attend school," says Chanthou. "If I did not receive a scholarship from the SOS Secondary School, I might not be in school today.”

Our commitment to education

It is SOS Children’s commitment to provide quality education in vulnerable communities. Education helps break the cycle of poverty, empower communities and reduce gender inequality. In 2014, we provided education to 134,700 children, young people and adults around the world. Our schools are a part of our SOS Children’s Villages, and are open to local children like Chanthou and her siblings. The SOS Primary and Secondary School in Battambang provides education to up to 480 students.

Discover all the ways we help emower vulnerable children through education.