Cambodia’s ethnic minority population has historically been marginalized from accessing services including health and education. There are 24 minority ethnicities, the majority of which live in the north-east of Cambodia. To serve the ethnic minority youth in the rural province of Ratanak Kiri, CARE Cambodia launched the Know & Grow initiative. Since 2015, has worked with nearly 3000 youth, half of whom are ethnic minorities, in 11 middle schools. The goal of the program is to empower ethnic minority youth, especially girls, with expanded economic and life choices, by improving education in 21st-century skills, technology, and reproductive health.
Two teams of Box Team4Tech Fellows (employee volunteers) have gone to Cambodia to support five schools in CARE Cambodia’s Know and Grow education programs to advance the STEM skills of teachers and students. In 2018, Box Team4Tech fellows distributed five RACHEL servers and ICT training materials. The aim of setting up the RACHEL server was to address poor internet connectivity in these remote schools and allow teachers and students’ offline access to digital education content such as a Khmer version of Wikipedia, interactive maps, and digital books. The RACHEL servers further allowed teachers to create content that students could access, even during the rainy season, when teachers were not able to reach the schools. In 2019, Box Team4Tech fellows provided refresher training on the RACHEL servers. The team also introduced and distributed robotic and coding kits to increase student engagement.
In total, the Box sponsored Team4Tech projects reached:
- 13 Core Trainers (1 woman)
- 3 CARE staff (1 woman)
- 94 teachers (32 women)
- 2,332 students (1,177 girls) at five ICT schools
CARE Cambodia is pleased to share a progress report (March 2020) regarding the use of the RACHEL servers:
- 405 monthly average of visitors
- 1,363 total number of visitors
- 2,940 total number of visits
As a result of Box’s sponsorship of the Team4Tech projects and the work of the Box Team4Tech Fellows, teachers are using the RACHEL servers to research, create lessons, and share lessons with their class. Additionally, students have been able to spend their breaks or evenings accessing the RACHEL servers to learn additional information on subjects such as Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Environment, Physics, etc. On average, about 400 students have been using the servers across the five schools every month.
One female student shares: ”I stay at the boarding house. When I have free time, my classmates and I borrow a tablet from the school to access the information on the RACHEL server. There is lots of information and lessons that I can access. For example, science, and I especially like some pictures that encouraging me to learn and make it easy to remember all the lessons. I really enjoy access to the RACHEL server.”
Another student added: “I like to learn and research my lessons from the RACHEL server. It is a great thing which is new to me. It is really fun, really happy to access all information. We can research even though we don’t have books or a proper library. It is a good means for our learning, and we can learn some new lessons without the teachers.”