St. Louis School abroad: helping people smile



Students standing outside their new toilets in Chittagong, Bangladesh


With loads of smiles, is how Gaia, year 12 and Ms. Pollock were welcomed in Swy, a small village in the North-Eastern area of Cambodia.

It is connected to Banlung, capital of Ratankiri Province, through a series of rough and dusty roads, the same roads as the children of Sway had to travel on, for 5km, to reach the closest schools. For this reason, many children gave up their education. Not only is Banlung too distant to walk to everyday, but the children are required to help out the family in the fields and, therefore, cannot afford to occupy the entire day with school. Sway, however, is now, able to provide these children an education as St. Louis School, in collaboration with UWS (United World Schools) has funded the building of a brand new school.

When Gaia and Ms. Pollock arrived at the village, they were expecting to find the school still under construction, but they were surprised to find it completely finished and already running. The chief of Sway was so excited when he heard the news that, with tears in his eyes, he immediately started the project. The school was built by the locals and two villagers started training to become teachers.

Our school will make an initial donation of €20000, followed by a yearly running cost of around €4000/5000. This money will not only cover the cost of the building but will also contribute to the staff’s training and their wages. St. Louis will be entirely funding the school for the following four years, after which the government will take control. It is clear that the funding of this programme will require a fair amount of sacrifice from the members of our community and it is important for all of us to understand what all of this is about. Gaia and Ms. Pollock, in fact, are hoping to produce a small documentary with the footage of their visit to Cambodia. With this documentary they hope people to understand what the school is working on and to encourage them to donate.

Ms. Pollock also pointed out that it is important to remember that, although the people of Swy do not have access to the same luxuries that we have access to, they live happily. We should not mistake their apparent ‘poverty’ with misery. The rice fields and the cashew nuts plantations are enough to keep the villagers fed and healthy. Due to the development of a new dam in China, however, their farming may be at risk and education may be the only solution to this growing threat. This is why St. Louis’s project is so significant and why the Sway’s reaction was so cheerful.

All those smiles are mostly what charity work is about and we would not want to see them fade, so please keep donating for the cause.