It’s been quite a while ago since I last met Kakada, the founder and managing director of Toul Ampil, face to face so I was not only curious to visit the new school facilities but also to meet Kakada in person and spend a few interesting days in Cambodia.
The hospitality and generosity of most South East Asian cultures is well known, yet Kakada, his family and the Toul Ampil employees beat it all! I felt like part of their family and activities extendended the planned visits of the school so that I could see how much Phnom Penh, Cambodias capital and biggest city, changed over year. International tourism picked up as well, be it as a stop-over from famous Angkor Wat down to the beaches or to visit Khmer Rouge legacy sites such as Killing Fields or prison S-21. I personally hope that future tourism is more focused on the beauty of this country, its culture and buildings ranging from French colonial era to modern shopping malls, instead of playing “hobby Rambo” at a shooting range - it’s certainly better for the youth to focus on the future instead of being always reminded of the (ugly) past!
The school enjoyed a transformation in many ways. Most obvious is the new facility on the land owned by Kadada’s parents. The entrance is very well organised, promoting the different offerings as well as providing important information. Because of the relatively new Kindergarden classes, the school is much busier during day-time than it used to be. The computer / internet room is frequented by students from nearby university which helps to cover costs for energy, internet connection, etc. It’s very well equipped thanks to the help of Labdoo www.labdoo.org and supports the latest generation of software.
The school facility is clean and well organised, even by western standards. The students are very disciplined (unlike western standard...).
>The school bus is being properly maintained but due to the high price of gasoline, the school cannot afford to offer a proper bus tour, meaning that many students cannot make it to the school because of the long distance, especially during raining season. Something very heartbreaking!
With the beginning of the dry season, construction is going on to reach a step-wise expansion of the school for up to 300 students, including sanitary facilities and opportunity to offer private dining, eg to interested tourist groups as a way to generate income and further promote this project (the latter is subject to detailed planning and funding).