Back To School

Written by Lizzy McCormack

This is our favourite time of year at Free To Shine. It’s a time of frantic preparation, anticipation, and most importantly, joy. It is time that we send all 700 of our girls back to school.

Every girl receives a “back to school pack”, comprising of exercise books, pens, a school bag, uniforms, shoes, and anything else she needs to succeed at her education. These items are bought, packed and personally delivered by our dedicated Education Officers and Social Workers. On delivery days our tuktuk resembles Santa’s sleigh, filled to capacity with parcels and packages and our happy, smiling team, all prepared for a challenging journey through mud and over roads subject to flash flooding. Sometimes we wonder if a boat might be a better option.

We source all our school materials and uniforms from the local markets, so that not only are we investing in girls education, we are also investing in developing Cambodia’s local economy. Since we purchase so many uniforms at once, we can often arrange with the seller for them to travel out to the school for the day so that it’s easier for every girl to get their correct size.

Trying to organize and prepare 700 over excited students is no easy task. Just to give you an idea of the magnitude of this job, over the last two months we have given out:

Over 1200 uniforms,
2 pairs of shoes to every girl,
Almost $2000 worth of books and pens,
A schoolbag for every girl,
and 20 bikes to the newest girls on our program.

It's been a hectic and fun few months and we are so happy to have successfully completed this task for another year.