Graduation (Kampong Cham Province) 2017

On Christmas Day, we had the graduation of our students from the Education Project in Phnom Penh. Then on Tuesday, December 26th, we had graduation for our students in Kampong Cham Province.

We arrived from Phnom Penh an hour before the ceremony was to begin and found all the students sitting quietly in their places in the meeting room–and they had been there for more than an hour. That is really Khmer culture. The inferiors, especially students, have no rights or dignity to be respected and they are required to come very early before the VIPs arrive, to show their respect. I invited the students to leave the meeting room and to come outside and talk for an hour.


While we were outside we took a group photo of all the students, both Year 2 (the graduates) and Year 1, along with Solydem (R), the Kampong Cham center manager.


Then the students showed me a garden they have planted on the school grounds. This is cassava and there were three or four other vegetables growing there.


Finally it was time to go back into the meeting room and await the arrival of officials from the Ministry of Education. These ministers themselves were not disrespectful of the students. It’s just the culture that the commoners have to show respect for the superiors.


Charlie Dittmeier and two of the ministry officials handed out the graduation certificates.


Afterwards parents and students gathered out in front of the DDP office for more photos and also for goodbyes because this was the last day of this school year.


Then all of us visitors from Phnom Penh went over to DDP House, the hostel where the students live, and they served us a meal they had cooked.


For this young man, a graduate, this really was the last day and he left after lunch with all his belongings, to return home. Probably he will apply for our Job Training Project now.