Fr Ashley Evans SJ leads the Xavier Jesuit School project in Sisophon, Cambodia. The Jesuits have opted to establish the school in this location to make the most impact, as well as to serve the group of youth most in need of quality education in the country.
Growth and three new classrooms
The school’s educational goal is to empower young students through the development of their intelligence and knowledge with free inquiry and the use of reason as the means to respond to the wonder of God’s creation.
Jesuits, staff, donors and volunteers are helping the Xavier Jesuit School Project to grow quietly and firmly. The Blessing Ceremony of three new classrooms at the Dey Lo Kindergarten and Primary school was held on the 6th of October.
The new kindergarten and primary school classrooms are blessed
Development of the individual is core
A critical response to the values of other cultures is encouraged while helping the students to understand and respect the rich heritage and wisdom of the Khmer culture in which they live. Its precepts requiring that each individual takes full responsibility for his or her own actions.
Cambodia society is primarily Buddhist and the school, while Catholic, is embedded comfortably within it. The wider objective of a Catholic education is the full development of the talents of the individual for the greater good.
Musical talents to inspire
During September, a group of Japanese volunteers shared their musical talents with 150 grade six primary school students attending the Summer School. The students heard piano, oboe, trombone and melodica from the Japanese musicians. One sang a beautiful opera song to the amazement of all present .
A Japanese volunteer sings to inspire the students
Tom and Will, the American volunteers participated with funny folk songs on the guitar and piano while Lucia Wong, teacher trainer at Sisophon, joined in on the flute.
Br. Tino, an Indonesian Jesuit scholastic and Ms. Dawoon, a Korean volunteer with Jesuit Service Cambodia also sang some haunting lyrics for the students. Many of the students were enthusiastic about the music and are inspired to learn to sing like the performers.
Daring to dream of a better future
Fr Quyen Vu SJ has been working in Sisophon for most of 2015 and writes: “Dreams are to be realised and fulfilled. Dreams help us to invest our time, energy and talents toward them. Without a dream, people don’t know where they are heading or what they are working for. Dreams allow us to see that the impossible can be made possible.
“Hence, Xavier Jesuit School, is a dream in the making for the Jesuits in Cambodia. It is located in the most needed area of Cambodia, Svey Sisophon, where the education system is weakest throughout the country.
"Yes, there will be challenges but these challenges are the desires of the Jesuits who ‘dare to dream of a better future’ for the youth of Cambodia.”
Article compiled by IJM, 15th October 2015