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Weddings and Understanding finance




Leng and Sry On are proudly included as ‘Parents’ in several weddings recently, as our older members come to wedding age. They feel very honoured, standing in for ‘departed’ family members. In many cases they have been foster parents for 10-15 years for some of their residential student ‘family’.

Leng and his wife Sry On, perform the ritual of cutting hair, symbolising cutting away any past thoughts of boy friends or girl friends.

Khmer marriage ceremonies are steeped in tradition and are typically rich in symbolism and meaning. One of the most significant roles in a Khmer wedding ceremony is that of the parents. They are seen as the most important figures in the ceremony, and they are called upon to perform various rituals and blessings.

Leng, Sry On and Channy’s mother give the bride and groom heartfelt blessings for their life together.

Leng and Sry On have been ‘parents’ to Channy (who arrived at ODA in 2008 when she was 11,and her two sisters were 10 and 9) when their father was killed and mother was on the run to escape the same fate, with five little children. Mother begged the Village Chief to see the older three were taken care of, and continued to run to safety near the Thai border with the two very little ones.

Mother, still very poor, sought them out many years ago, by hitch hiking from the Thai border to find them. They were so happy she hadn’t forgotten them, but asked if they could stay at ODA so they could continue their education. They also knew their mother would find it very hard to feed five growing children. Such old heads on young shoulders, as we find with so many of our residential students.

It was wonderful to hear that Leng and Sry On were asked to perform ‘parent’ roles along with Channy’s mother, in her recent Khmer wedding ceremony. They felt very proud and honoured to do so. This is a testament to the close relationships they had with Channy and her sisters, and it highlights the importance of family and community care in Khmer culture and at ODA.

Channy completed her Accounting Degree through the ODA University Program, and has been working for some three years now. Her husband also has a university degree and Leng gave a ‘fathers blessing’ to them both for their future life together.

Considered to be King and Queen for the day, they hire clothing for the ceremony and some of the most important aspects of a Khmer wedding ceremony include the performance of various rituals that are intended to bless and protect the couple for their future together.


Classes for ODA Central students

Bob, a volunteer teacher at ODA, now retired from RMIT University, Communication Engineering, Melbourne Australia.

To emphasise the importance of understanding money, Bob took around 20 lessons of 1 hour duration on what he called Financial Management. The lessons were presented in English, with the students more skilled in English, assisting the others with the translation. The lessons are necessarily slow to allow for the translation, meaning, and use of the new English financial words.

The lessons ranged from exploring the concept of money as a foundation pillar in civilisations, to the Annuity Equation for loan repayments with Simple and Compound Interest, and finally to Central Banking with Digital Currency and the economic indicators for a country.

Cambodia is a particularly interesting country for such lessons as the Khmer Rouge Regime (Pol Pot) destroyed the Central Bank and abolished money all together. When money was reintroduced, following the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge, it was interesting that the government restored “value” to the piece of paper called 1,000 Riels (KHR). It was decreed that 1,000 Riels would buy 1kg of rice and the people immediately grasped the value of 1,000 Riels, as the value of rice was well established.

Approximately 1kg of rice as demonstrated by the ODA students.

The students were impressed to hear that the Cambodian Economy is rated in the Top 10 countries globally, albeit coming from a low base.

Financial Management classes are not covered in schools here so an understanding of finance is extremely valuable to our students.

If you share our vision and would like to join the ‘Friends of ODA’, click on the DONATE HERE button below to the Paypal link on our website. As little as $2.50 a week, less than the price of a cup of coffee, from enough people - will ensure ODA can continue our free English schools to bring change to these keen outlying village youngsters.

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