English education is at the core of the work that we do. For our beneficiaries, the ability to speak English gives them the opportunity to earn a higher wage, or to run their family business better. Without the ability to speak English, locals of the Koh Rong islands are in danger of standing on the sidelines as the tourism industry grows around them. We offer English classes to both adults and children, five days a week, completely free of charge. Moving forward we’d like to offer computer classes, financial literacy and environmental classes for adults. Kelly Beker, Education Manager, explains how our English lessons have developed and grown over time since our inception:

With the help and dedication of several, and the passion of a few, in less than a year I have been blessed to witness the remarkable changes in education on this island. What started with three kind-hearted backpackers donating their time and skills to a small, unorganized conservation centre, has evolved into something greater – great enough to keep up with the rapid pace of development on this island. 

 On my first day of teaching, all of the children from ages 5-14 assembled on the pier, for one big hour of ABC’s. To end the year off, at a proper refurbished school, with several classes running for a variety of levels, alongside arts and activities, truly shows how much, as Friends of Koh Rong, we really have accomplished. 

Thank you to every kind backpacker that has passed through to tutor during drop in session, all of our generous donors, my amazing FOKR team, and the students who make this position worthwhile each and every day! 

One of our students, Rani (18), wrote this about what our classes mean to her:

Hello everybody! My name is Rani and I am 18 years old. I am very happy now because before on Koh Rong we never had light, and now we do. Koh Rong is changing because we have a lot of people coming from every country. And now for local people on Koh Rong we have a lot of better jobs. I’m especially very happy because we have English teachers who came here to teach everybody on Koh Rong.

Do you know why my teachers came here? Because they want to help people on Koh Rong. They love us, all the students very much. They want people here to learn the English language. My teachers want to have students speaking English with foreigners. And you know, my teachers is giving a lot of happiness on Koh Rong! Before it was not easy to walk to school. But now, my teachers bring the sand from the beach to make the way to the school easier for us to walk. The school was not nice before, and it is now a very good school with solar, pencils, books, chairs, tables and colored pencils. I know my teachers don’t have a lot of money but they use free time to do fundraisers on the island. All the money we use to buy things for the school.

We want to study English because we think English language is the best for everybody living on Koh Rong. If you can speak English you can find a good job and have a family. I think when I have a good job and money I can teach everyone English, the same as my teachers. Fran came from Australia, and Kelly from Canada and they are very good teachers. When I’m not happy and I cry my teachers help me and speak good words of wisdom. My teachers stay in our hearts, for all the people on Koh Rong. And if you want to help the people on Koh Rong I think you can also do something, like my teachers!