What is the “Writing Through” programme ?
Cambodia remains a rural country and must deal with great inequality as economic growth mainly benefits the urban population.
The “Writing Through” programme allows underprivileged Cambodian students to improve their English language skills through creative writing workshops that emphasise conceptual thinking and enhance self-confidence.
In these workshops students have the chance to developing their talents outside of standard education – a prospect they otherwise would not have the chance to hone.
Workshops to stimulate thought since 2015
Writing Through (WT) is a registered charity in the United States and also the name given to the writing workshops. The programme was born in 2015, by Sue Guiney, writer and teacher, after a volunteer trip to Cambodia in 2006. This trip also inspired her to write a novel. The Writing Through are her way of giving back to a people and a country she has learned to love.
To date, Writing Through has 20 partner organizations in Cambodia, Singapore and Vietnam. The programme has trained over 50 volunteer facilitators and delivered the workshop to over 1,500 students creating thousands of unique poems and stories.
The specific goals of these writing workshops are :
- to develop the capacity for conceptual and creative thought,
- to enhance individual self-esteem,
- to Improve fluency in English (both spoken and written).
We believe that today’s world demands more from its citizens than an ability to parrot information. Engaged and contributing citizens of the world need to be able to think conceptually and critically, to know what they believe and have the confidence and poise to be able to stand up and say it in their own voices.
A programme to improve the level of education in Cambodia
Nowadays, only 2.7% of the Cambodian GDP is allocated to education, and this education often focuses on strictly academic subjects such as Maths. Rural areas are marginalised. While the current government is making efforts to better the education system, progress is slow to come.
Indeed, as of now, the Cambodian teaching system is mainly based on memorisation, learning things by heart, without necessarily explaining or understanding them.
This situation can be explained by the fact that the education system was torn apart by the Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970’s causing the level of Cambodian schools to be very low. Schools were closed, teachers were executed, making room for new schools who would only teach Khmer rouge propaganda where literacy was severely neglected.
The pedagogical method of this programme, therefore, is specifically designed to help children express themselves creatively and differs from the way Khmer teachers are trained to educate their students.
The “Writing Through” programme is a great way to offer students the opportunity to improve their English skills through creative writing workshops. Beneficiaries also become more self-confident by articulating their thoughts and opinions in front of a group.
They will become more employable young individuals given their increased fluency in English and their boost in self-esteem as a result of public speaking.
A unique approach through the writing of poems and stories
Through helping children craft their own poems and stories, Writing Through enables them to gradually increase their fluency in English, develop abstract concepts that remain difficult to articulate through everyday language alone, and improve their self-confidence by discovering that all thoughts and feelings have value.
During the six-day writing module, young people learn to trust in their inspiration, their talent, and their ability to express themselves in a foreign language. Above all, they learn to respect each other’s ideas, values, dreams and hopes for the future.
At the end of the module, a magazine of the children’s work is published. Their very own magazine, a source of great joy and pride for the children… and us too. There can be no better way to help these children break out of poverty than by helping them find their voice.
Today, I’m very happy.
In the morning, the sun rises.
I want to see natural beauty every day.
I want to see the bird fly in the sky.
I’m afraid of the dark.
When I’m meeting family, I want the time to be slow.
I like the space.
I like everything around me.
I want my parents to take care of me.
Sometimes I feel lonely, so I always listen to music.
When I’m sad, I sit in the garden.
I love the moon in the night.
I love my family.
100% guaranteed results for the students
Feedback from previous workshops shows that students were very satisfied with the workshops as they could improve both their written and spoken English level.
They felt proud of themselves as they could read something they produced.
The next workshops will take place in 5 centres in Battambang, Sisophon, Banteay Chmar, Samrong and Preah Vihear. It will be between March and May 2021.
We expect that around 90% of the beneficiaries will be secondary school students and 10% University students.