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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Youth Empowerment Leadership by Mr. Sokchea SAING

Youth Empowerment Leadership

Led by specialist leadership teacher Mr. Sokchea SAING, the leadership in action course offered to teenage students of the Rudi Boa center aims to teach essential life skills and importantly get young people to thinks about their goals in life and steps they need to take to achieve these goals.
“ This class is very good for me and the country. I can participate in society. In the future, I think I will be a good leader of a company or my family, but I have never thought that before this class,” said Meng Ratana, 17, a leadership student at the Rudi Boa Center.

This course has had a phenomenal impact on the youth of Village 4. Mr. Sok Chea discusses the changes he has observed in one of his students:
“ One of my students told me that his parents were not concerned about his studies and sometimes he felt hopeless by himself. When the class breaks, he always brought his story to discuss with me, and promised that he would try to study until he got the number one student in the class. Sometimes he studied without anytime to eat food. He was a quiet person an was shy in the class. Now he is a sociable person and is confidents to make presentations in front of the white board, not like before. He told me that now he knows how to manage the goals of his life and to face his problem.”

In 2007, 57 students graduated from the first and second levels of the leadership course provided and Rudi Boa Center. Some of these graduates are actively giving back to their community as volunteers at the Rudi Boa center. These courses will be offered for new students in 2008, while the leadership Group of 2007 will be able to continue to develop their leadership skills with a more advanced course taught by Mr. Sok Chea.

By Bridges Across Borders

Leadership Training by Sokchea SAING


I wrote about one of our teachers Sokchea SAING on a previous blog, and how we are so lucky to have him and what a great teacher he is. He was born to teach, and it is no surprise that by employing someone who found his calling in life things would work out well.
Early in the year he approached me and said he wanted to teach a Leadership class. I questioned him about whether he was really qualified, and could he really come up with 25 hours of material. I said I would think about it and asked him to help me do some research to see what already exists. A few days later he said he was ready to teach it and all he needed was my approval. He said I didn’t need to pay him, he would be a volunteer, and just wanted my approval. I couldn’t say no to that, and let him do his thing.
The class was packed on the first day, and a few weeks into it the students were telling me they loved it and were getting so much from it. They were finding ways to deal with their families and life challenges. He is loud and enthusiastic when he teaches, students are constantly engaged, and the students say they love his humor. I let Sokchea know he could be paid for his time.
To graduate from the Leadership class, and receive a lamented, color certificate with their picture, students had to have attended at least 20 classes (during their lunch hour) and pass the written exam. Several failed, but still attended the ceremony and party we threw at the end.
As soon as the first class ended he started a Level II class. Then we offered the Level I again, then level II, now level I again, but the class is too crowded even after turning some students away, so we need to divide the class. At this point, we have trained over 60 students in leadership, and the results are showing.
We rented a big tent ($12) and had a big outdoor graduation ceremony for all the community to see the proud new leaders, then rented a boat ($25, plus food) for the party. The party was all organized by the students with great care, food, games…and they danced like rock stars. It was unbelievably fun, and the difference from some of them was so inspiring. To see Chanta, a 14 year old girl who seemed so shy, get up and sing karaoke was inspiring.
Our biggest field trip was to the zoo/wildlife sanctuary (all animals were rescued from poachers) and the Leadership students created a Leadership Team that organized all the details and divided the students into manageable groups. They were completely amazing. There were 115 students, 8 moms, 10 foreigners, 3 buses, and a million laughs. We've never done anything with all the students outside of the school, and it was really a special day for them. After the zoo we went swimming in a mud-colored lake. They love to go swimming, and rarely get to. Most kids hardly ever leave the slum where they live, so the day had many impacts, and went like clockwork.
The best stories are on a personal level, such as Ly Thanh, who bought ‘teacher Sokchea’ a new shirt and wrote him a letter about how she was so much happier after taking his class. She explained that her family never encouraged her or took her side, but now she could deal with them and have compassion for their shortcomings. She later talked about how she was able to improve her business selling cooked duck eggs by being personable with customers and the police, who would ask her for money to sell in a public place.
I went to visit her and her family (I have tried to interview all the families), and later cried thinking about how terrible the conditions were at her house, the challenges she has overcome, and how great she turned out. Here is her letter, translated to English:
Dear Teacher,
My name is Ly Thanh, I am a student, and would like to give this [shirt] as a present to the my teacher. I would like to deeply express my appreciation to the teacher for teaching my sisters and me. Since I have come here to study, I understand a lot about the personal problems that I have had for years. The truth is that I am an unfortunate child. My parents mentally, emotionally and physically didn’t care much for me. What they have or bought, they have never given it to me; they give it to others. In addition, when other says that I am not a good child, my parents blame it on me with no reason. Because of this, it was hard for me to move forward even though I wanted to. These days only my grandma, my uncles, my aunts and others give me encouragement. When I needed help, it’s them who helped me.Since I have come to study, I have had some relief from that sadness that I had for years. The lessons at Aziza school helped to me have control of my life. I am so thankful for the teachers who gave me encouragement that my parent didn’t.Lastly, I wish teacher’s family to have happiness and good health in the family. I want to wish you to have success in work as you desired.

Mr. Sokchea SAING conducted the Attitude Forum for four NGOs

ACE conducted the Attitude Forum for four NGOs at Sihanouk Province

On July 23rd and 24th, 2009, the Attitude Center for Education conducted an Attitude Forum in Sihanouk Province. Sihanouk is Cambodia’s premier beach town. Sihanouk is in southern Cambodia. It is a 230 km, five-hour drive from Phnom Penh.

The four people in the car enjoyed the beautiful view. They were Sokchea; Pharith, who is a student from Lakeside School; Madi, American girl who visited Cambodia for five weeks; and Synoeun.

We planned to leave Phnom Penh at 12:00 pm, but unfortunately we were late by one hour and a half because Sokchea left the key inside his car. So we left Phnom Penh at 1:30 pm.

There were 29 participants who attended our forum. They came from four different NGOs. There were five from GoodWill School, which is the school for the young kids in the village. Seven were from Maloptapang (a big NGO that has around 170 staff), six from Phoumville and 11 from Stoeung Hua, where we used to conduct the Leadership training. The participants ranged from 20 to 40 years old. In the morning session, it was not hard to encourage them because they are teachers, staff, volunteers and managers.

The problem that participants have dealt with is work-related, relationships with bosses and co-workers. “What I need is to make a better relationship,” said Neang. Teacher Sokchea made the basic point and gave an example to them to improve the communication. Attendees became really involved in the example since it was based on a real situation. Attendees were engrossed in the training about how be open and enhance their communication.

In addition, because the participants have worked, they are parents, they have much experience with “always being right.” Kolab, who is full-time staff for the Goodwill School has that issue with her co-worker, Sinah. It was only a small problem, but both of them made it become a big one. They stopped talking to each other. How difficult it is when neither of them have a good relationship. How is their work looking after the same kids in Goodwill School? It is very hard to improve their work and the kids. In this case, Sokchea helped them to solve one of the problems. Everyone tried and worked hard to find the solution. The trainer only gave them a clue, and then all the participants had to identify a solution by themselves. This is the strategy for our Attitude Forum.

However, when people are not willing to open their minds, they have gotten in trouble with their family. Sophea is a teacher of Maloptapang. He did not have an open mind, so when his parents criticized him because he usually got home late, Sophea was angry and complained to them. “Starting from now on I understood what I shall do for my life and my family. I study management. I would like to manage myself first before others,” said Sophea.

The next day participants did a very good job. They were brave, open-minded, and did what we wanted them to do.

What we are doing is really happen in their work and family.
There were many things they haven’t done yet like sharing compassion, saying thank you, and apologizing since they owe a lot to their parents. They did not say all these things because they think just working and studying hard is already enough to make them happy. It is not hard to express these feelings, but why is it that most of the participants hardly ever do so?

Sarun used to be violent toward his friends in the village when he was a gang member, “but now I would like to forgive myself and I accept my entire mistake,” he said.

The Attitude Forum is helping people to lead a new, successful life. Their work, studies, and their life will improve. They are going to be able to help their institution. We train them to be problem solvers. Attendees will have a great ability to solve problems for themselves and in their lives. All participants need to have high accountability. They are very important leaders. We are building up all of these leaders. They themselves are also trainers after getting training from this forum. Can you imagine how many others they can help? When one person improves, how many people are affected?

At the end of the forum, Sabin, the director of the Goodwill School, said she would like to give Sokchea a big thank-you. She was very happy. She told us the problem is now solved, and moreover, the staff members have more possibilities. It is a substantial thing for four these NGOs.