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Report from Srei about PLF Computer Lab

7 October 2011

The course of action on our part to start our own computer training means not only do we save a bit of money, but we make sure the students really learn the material and not get lost in the back of some overcrowded computer class using inferior equipment. A bonus is that we get to help a competent khmer woman shed her disability and realize her innate ability to share knowledge. Read more to hear first hand from Srei (their instructor) about her life experience as a disabled person in Cambodia, about how she came to be heading up the lab, about her students and what she hopes to accomplish in the future.
We feel the computer lab has been a tremendous success and hope our technology supporters will continue to support the lab as we increase capacity to serve more and more students.

The first class of Microsoft Word graduates from Srei's Computer Course at their graduation party on October 2, 2011

My Brief Story about The PLF Computer Lab

By Sotheara Ly (Srei)

At first I must say “how do you do” to all of donators and generous who support the PLF Computer Lab. My name is Sotheara Ly, my nick name is Srey or Srei. I was born in 1965 in Vat Bo Village, SalaKamroek Commune, Siemreap district, Siemreap Province. I have 6 siblings. 5 are females, 1 is male. I am the 3rd daughter in my family. My education I got only grade 3 at Vatdamnakk Primary School.

I finished my class only grade 3 then started grade 4 for about 2 months suddenly Cambodia felt into the dark and deep grave of genocide regime of Pol Pot. There were no schools in the Pol Pot Regime. The genocide regime took 3 years long, Cambodia turned up to be bright again in 7 January 1979. Cambodia had released from Pol Pot regime but there were no schools to run for children or adult absolutely because what related with education and knowledge were destroyed completely.

Srei, in Siem Reap as a young teenager.

All children and youths had to wait about 3-4 years later, new school started to run for new term but during this time unfortunately, I fell into the very silent planet, no sound took place on this planet completely, it meant that I became a deaf, losing my hearing in early 1983, April, and so what I could do to get education? I forgot almost all vowels and consonant Khmer because my brain was attacked by the severe torture in genocide regime and the worst disease; Rheumatic Fever that caused me became a deaf so my education stop completely at grade 3.

I had been forgotten to give access to get some educations to make my life on my own for near 30 years, there had never been someone some NGO asked me to give a bright future by connecting me to active world or by giving a little bit of education or knowledge, shortly speaking no one care about me, my life, my education besides joked or teased me “you are deaf you can’t learn anything because you can listen nothing”.

Yes they were right I became profoundly deaf. But that their teases had never discouraged me completely just 50 percent remained 50 percent I found out the new way to mold myself from a stone statue in to active human. I began started my first lesson from a,b,c…as a small child in kindergarten started her first lesson, too. It was work well because I remember some of how to spelling words. No matter what happen I did learn by free time I had. So I am a teacher usually teach myself thoroughly the current time. Now I know 4 Languages, Khmer, Thai, English and a little bit French. I can read and write clearly Khmer and Thai, a pretty good English, While French I didn’t use often like English I forgot a lot can still read but not write. I cannot speak foreign language well as I have never heard someone speak Thai, English and French in my life. But I can guess the spelling in the English Phonetic Symbol Rules, there are always in British English Dictionary. I like British English Dictionary such as Longman Advanced  Dictionary. I use Longman to study English, it teach me to pronounce all words by using the signs called Phonetic Symbol. Don’t you know the phonetic symbol can let the deaf spelling words very well, easy to remember how to spelling word. I know English so pretty good so I can show the world about my life by my own self.

Srei, in her classroom at PLF Offices in Siem Reap

Why I can write on the digital device? This is another knowledge I got in 2009, the year I began to know school the first time in my life. I started my computer course at a private school near my home on 21st Mar 2009, finished on 09th September 2010, I got Certificates for 7 programs are Microsoft Office Word, Microsoft Office Excel, Microsoft Office PowerPoint, Adobe Photoshop CS4, Adobe Flash CS3, Aleo Flash and Corel DRAW X4.

After I finished my course, got Certificate for 7 Programs I became a computer teacher for Ponheary Ly Foundation (PLF) in 6th December 2010. The first time I started, there were only 14 students with 3 computers I taught 4 hours a day. Then the project was expanded more so sister Lori, PLF President added 8 computers in classroom after rebuilding the new classroom. The new class started on 06- May-2011. The schedules keep the same, 2 hour for AM, 2 times for PM even my schedules for 4 hours but I always work at least 5 hours a day from Monday to Friday; more ever, there is Extra Time is added is Sunday Course for teachers and students from Chey and Khnar Primary School. The Sunday Course started from 8 AM to 12 PM.

For obtaining good effect for each student get in the course, I tested different methods then I decided to edit and prepare the Lessons and Exercises for Microsoft Office Word and Excel, modifying several times for more effective results. I did all work alone because there are no one in my house knows these programs clearly so I do not have assistance besides the book I bought from market. My methods let the students get access to basic of each program let them solve the problems on the Word and Excel windows and use the tools effectively because of they know the basic not the surface of Microsoft Office Word and Excel.

To add even more effect I don’t use English language for principle on teaching but Khmer language so they are very fond of studying that forget their turn the time to get back to their home. The all of my lessons and exercises usually relate with computer and the funny topic for practicing typing Font Khmer Limon and Unicode then is designing pictures use only AutoShapes and WordArt in Ms Word they can build the very good pictures in their dream not worse than use the design programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Corel DRAW or Paint or others ones…please visit our Facebook page if you’d like to see some of their work.

There are 52 students have attended in the computer course. 43 students study Ms Word, 9 students study Ms Excel. They are all come from Angkor High School, 10 January 1979 High School, Somdeth Orv High School, Angkor Thom High School, Preak En Kosa High School and University and teachers from Khnar and Chey Primary Schools. I teach 6 day a week from Sunday to Friday, 4 hours a day.


Now one of my students named Khoun Sokha, a Second year graduate at Build Bright University not finished Ms Excel yet but can obtain the first job in her life at a private company in Siemreap Province. The following text below was Khoun Sokha’s I interviewed her directly in the PLF Computer classroom.
Q: What kind of your job?
A: I work in the Office as an Administrator.
Q: Who found this job for you?
A: I found by myself.
Q: What do you think about PLF Computer Lab?

A: For me PLF Computer Lab is very good school because it give me a good opportunity to the poor students. After the students finished from Microsoft Office they can work as officer. Teacher always explain very clearly one by one before she go to the new lesson and she always try to give basic of the source new method for her students. So I think that the PLF computer Lab is the very good school for building the new bridge to a bright future. She added that she became an officer get good salary, $65/month. Unfortunately, her friends became food servers at restaurants work from dawn to dusk get only $40/month because they do not know computer.

The Budget for PLF Computer Lab per month:

Dave Claunch of Liaison Resources in Austin, Texas, has been a  supporter of PLF Technology Programs for some time. Recently Dave came to Cambodia to see the lab in person and ascertain next steps to move the project forward.

1. My salary is $250/month
2. For Printer: A4 about 2 packages $3.5/ package. Fill printer toner $5.  Total: $17/Month Average
3. For different supplies such as liquid glue, stable, paper clip, white board marker…about $10. Sometimes need nothing. Total: $10/Month Average
4. For computer problems take place occasionally I usually solve by own self, not spent money. But if get serious problems I have to have fixer do instead and spent money for charge not more than $10/computer but now there are rarely serious problems happen to the 12 computers. I carefully take care about virus. This fourth point also need about $10 keep in budget package per month to prevent bad thing happen unexpectedly, we can need more than $10 so we should save money from now to fix them in future. Total: $10 /Month Average
5. The printing and Binding of Books, which we do ourselves except printing in color, per month varies widely but average maybe $15 per month
6. Occasional bike repairs to keep their transportation working since many must come some distance. We need good attendance.  Total: $10/month keep in budget
7. The computer lab needs to pay the electricity in the room we occupy. We pay about $100/month for the space and the electricity for 12 computers.

The total of this is about $400 a month for everything to run the lab.

Thank you for supporting this project.

Sotheara Ly

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