Unlocking Opportunities Among the Bunong
For the past few years, though, World Hope International (WHI) has been working to support the community through the Project Konsae Pilot and in late 2018, WHI facilitated a “learning visit” for a select group of people to visit schools in other regions that were implementing various school feeding programs.
With support from World Hope, they launched a School Feeding Program in the 2017-2018 school year that has helped improve the enrollment and attendance of children in the schools and also ultimately promoted the value of education amongst Bunong mothers. School years run from November – September in the region. In fact, the number of enrolled students increased from 77 to 132 in the school from the previous to the 2018-2019 school year.
A recent meeting with the District Education Cluster Lead, Mrs. C. Sophea, was very positive. She highlighted the good performance she observed at the schools and noted that in the 2016-2017 school year, one of the schools had 22 percent of its students drop out, but in the 2017-2018 school year when Project Konsae launched, only five percent dropped out, and the school had a zero percent dropout rate in the 2018-2019 school year. Even better, 92 percent of students passed that school year.
The School Director, Mr. Bunthan said, “As result of project support from WHI, children are physically and spiritually looking healthy and class attendance was reported regularly.” At a school event this August, the students, their parents and caregivers, and the community enjoyed celebrating the very first awards for studying hard and being outstanding students.
As part of the school feeding program implemented in this project, some mothers were mobilized to cooperate with the school and cook food for their children to have breakfast there–which seems to have contributed to the remarkable increase in enrollment.