Cham Language Program Expanded
We have just expanded our involvement in the Cham Language teaching program in Sre Prey. From the beginning of our work in Sre Prey in 2005 the founders felt that it was imperative for the children to keep their unique cultural roots strong and intact while they also set about learning new skills that would drawn them toward the modern Western world.
Early this year we were alerted by one of our university students, Man Piseth, that the historic community system for teaching Cham was failing, with teachers becoming elderly and ceasing to teach and community financial support for teachers waning. As a result, teaching had ceased in the village and the sole teaching of written Cham was by Leb Ke in a US Embassy supported project elsewhere for 75 students learning his modified computer based script. The old original written script was now clearly headed for extinction.
Two of our university students Math Sit and Man Piseth did a study of potential teachers and salary needs for us to determine if it was possible for us to support a half time position for a Cham Language teacher. We decided that it was urgently important and fiscally possible. The community will continue to support the teacher in the remainder of his duties relating to non-language teaching. We have full support of the community for this project and have been particularly thanked by Kai Tam, the leader of the entire Cham Kan Imam Sann in Cambodia. Two classes are starting now, and will eventually include three levels: Beginner, Level 1 and Level 2.