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Cambodia: Floating Village


It’s 9 am in the village and it’s really buzzing with families who’ve been up since dawn. Shops come by on boats selling fruit, veg and traditional Khmer sweet snacks.

Families are all out in their open-fronted homes – eating, sitting and looking out, chatting, wandering from house to house, chopping up fish and bagging it up to sell.

The smell of smoke was overwhelming a couple of hours earlier as breakfast and lunch was cooked off the back of every home – they’re cooked together to save fuel and time.

Now the smoke lingers but the water is at its clearest because it’s wet season, so it feels fresh. The family are close – at one point the boy puts his sister’s hair in a ponytail… another time the primary school teacher comes round and hangs out with them, cutting Seima’s fingernails.

The oldest boy goes fishing with his father – at 4am they drop the nets and then at midday they return to reel them in.

The boys have been helping their father since the oldest one was seven. Not every day – only during school holidays. Otherwise he comes alone. While they’re out he pours water on the fish to keep them fresh.

The (floating) village shop is opposite their home and is run by a group of teenagers who sit outside.

Seima, five, lives in a floating home in the village with her family and goes to (floating) pre-school, which she loves.

Seima, five, lives in a floating home in the village with her family and goes to (floating) pre-school, which she loves.

 

Our First Read programme aims to promote early learning and development in the remotest corners of Cambodia – and it doesn’t get much more remote than the ‘floating village’ of Ses Slab.

  • Seima, five, lives in a floating home in the village with her family and goes to (floating) preschool, which she loves
  • She helps her parents with chores in the morning, including repairing her father’s fishing nets, before travelling to school by boat
  • Her parents are determined to support their children through school
  • Save the Children trains teachers, provides teaching materials and pays to help rebuild the school – which is needed every year