Mango Tree School is one of the projects of Manna4Life, founded by Kevin and Leakhena Knight. Mango Tree School opened in November 2014 to provide free education in a supportive environment to children struggling with poverty in the Tang Khiev community and nearby settlements, approximately 38km north of Phnom Penh.
Initially, the school catered for grades one to four. The goal now is to add a grade every year. The new school year, which started in November 2017, saw a sixth grade class introduced after adding a fifth grade class last year. The school has reached its maximum capacity in terms of space, and is using a curtain to separate the sixth grade students from the rest of the classes.
The age of students joining the first grade varies, the oldest student being up to to thirteen years old. Many of them have not had opportunities to go to school due to poverty related reasons. The school team is considering starting an accelerated program for older students.
Mango Tree School would like to continue to expand their capacity so that they can add new grades up to grade nine and implement special programs to cater to the unique educational needs of Tang Khiev. They have purchased one hectare of land are looking for some help building on the property.
A lot of the parents struggle to make a living, so it is not always easy to get them to understand the value of education. In 2007, Mango Tree School was able to talk to a mother who sent her daughter to travel to Poipet, a city known for trafficking. After meering, the mother agreed to bring her daughter back home and her daughter is now one of Mango Tree's top students!
Just as it takes many years for a mango tree to bear its fruit, it takes time to see the fruits of education. But Mango Tree School is grateful that more and more parents are understanding the value of education. Through parent teacher meetings, Mango Tree School is able to communicate the importance of education to the community.
Recently, a group of children from the Tang Khiev Village went with a group called Peace Bridges to learn about nature, plant trees, and enjoy the environment. They attended the third annual tree planting event and had a great time. It was a wonderful opportunity for the students learn about the value of their environment.
Kevin and Leakhena will be in Vancouver from March 18-26. Join us for a Knight Round Table Discussion on March 26th.