Introduction of Coming of Age

          Have you been through coming of age? This was the question raised up on the first unit of our literacy. Our new literacy facilitator, Cara Shelton, was guiding us through this section expressly because it was a new concept of learning for us. The final product of this first learning section is to write a narrative essay about our coming of age. I thought, it was feeling fantastic and nervous simultaneously because I was never digging through my past of determining the right, specific moment that clearly demonstrates my coming of age.

           Right before starting to write the essay, we’ve been searching about the rite of passages around the world. Everybody was assigned to a country with an amazing and terrifying rite of passage or coming of age. For example, I was on a research of the Ethiopian coming of age called “Hamar Cow Jumpy.” This was a really interesting coming age where men have to jump over the castrated, male cow for times. It is a representation of men leaving their childhood behind and continuing their ways to adulthood. They will be able to own many properties and marry. As my reflection about this coming of age showed, it is really dangerous to have this practice, but we have to respect the culture.

          If you like to learn about other rites of passages, you are welcoming to click on this website:  13 Amazing Coming of Age Traditions


From Nothing to Something – Sep 28th – Oct 3rd

Thanks, Patagonia for donating us wetsuits and shorts.

On the 28th of September, 2017, LMRT finally had a chance to begin the adventure of our first trip. It was the trip of we becoming certified divers. To be honest, before the arrival of Koh Seh island, I was feeling the butterflies in my stomach the whole time because I was super excited to become a diver, which was my dream since I was a young boy. I had never been to Koh Seh before, so that was my first time. I was picturing many things in my head about the island and the upcoming diving courses and tests. We had been studying the online diving courses, SSI for about two months for the final test. There were many aspects of the whole course: physical aspects, technical aspects, and emergency coping.

A team photo of LMRT after finishing all the first dives, Koh Seh.

Once we arrived the island, the island people were gathering and welcoming us. We were sleeping in the tents for the whole first trip. Part of our budget expense, we were also planning to spend money on the construction of our own bungalow. The island food was well-cooked and delicious. We got to meet our amiable diving instructor, Christine. She is from New Zealand. For the first day until the end of the trip, we had to dive five times in order to be certified. To do so, we dove five times with Christine; we had many pool sessions with the focuses on our buoyancy, equipment setting, and other diving skills. Finding a neutral buoyancy was extremely challenging for me and I bet for the rest of the team. Neutral buoyancy is all about avoiding yourself from sinking to the seabed and floating to the surface. You have to adjust the air inside your BCD and simultaneously with your lungs followed by inhaling and exhale.

After, we required to do a paper test and pass it in order to demonstrate our knowledge after learning time-consuming SSI lessons. Everybody was passing the test. Speaking about diving, when I started diving with Christine and other LMRT members, it was phenomenal to see and observe all those marine lives again. Sadly, I saw many damaged and killed corals because mass-destructive fishing: trawling. I first remembered my first time diving with another instructor at Koh Song Saa islanding my Preventative Health exploration. Comparing both locations, it was an immense difference. I am sad, but it gives me the courage and optimism to fight those obstacles in order to rehabilitate those lives.

After setting up the equipment and get ready to dive.

On the last day of the trip, Christine was announcing all of us to become a certified diver. We were proud all of our team’s effort and determination; it was a memorial time. We were allowed to plan our own dive with the divided teams. It was mind-blowing because I actually allowed to dive independently with our teammates. After that, we headed back to school with happy faces, proud, honor, and courage to pursue our goals. Overall, the whole trip was life-changing moments. It is deep down into our hearts and brains. Just imagine, five days ago, we were students who were non-certified, but look at us now, certified divers and change agents for future Cambodia.

Impact Hub – Youth Impact

On the 12th of September, 2018, my friend and I went to Impact Hub for inspirational talks of our talented young adult Cambodians. The event was clustered with Cambodians and foreigners. The main purpose of the event was to hear all the passions and amazing stories from their achievements. There were four speakers who were willing to share their stories. There were Cambodian original singer, writer, and filmmaker. They are the people we know in Cambodia; it was a pleasure to meet in person and get have a fruitful conversation.

My most favorite highlight of the event was hearing a motivational speech from a Cambodia original speaker, Rithy LemorKesor. She was talking about how belief within yourself could bring you to anywhere for your dreams. Kesor has a band known as “Small World Small Band.” She was sharing her band’s newly released album, “2×5” and it was a remarkable entertainment. Her partner played the guitar and we all sang together. At the last minute of the event, we had her autograph and many photos with them.

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Bambujaya – A Project Leads to Brighter Education

In this sixth year, Bambujaya is a newly introduced project to all the students in Liger from one lady, named Elan. Bambujaya will be also a new private school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It will open to any kids in the city with a cool, developed, and Khmer curriculum. So, where can they get the curriculum for those kids? And how can they try to find new ideas for the curriculum?

Ellan is a wise, Cambodian lady who owned many businesses in Phnom Penh. She is the director of the Bambujaya project and the person who initiated this amazing idea. Ellan has a strong relation with Liger Leadership Academy within many different projects, for example, Hidden Voices. By seeing the potential and the reliable abilities from the Liger students, she decided to carry the Bambujaya project with them. It will a remarkable opportunity for the Liger students to help Cambodian kids through education.

Students had to write a small application by answering the listed questions, and it will be available for only six students. As this went, the students could feel the sense of competition among each other. They tried to promote many talents/skills and abilities to the Lead Learning Facilitator, Caroline, best as possible. As the listed of six students came out, I was the chosen one. It was an amazing feeling because I can see my potential through this cool project. I know after this project, I will be able to take a big step to enhance Cambodia’s education. The other chose fives were Malika, Sopheak, David, and Ketya. In addition, we will get pay for this project because our job is curriculum developer. All the money we receive will go to our bank account and support our future education.

We started working on grade one; we gathered all the textbooks and teacher guidebooks. There are three different subjects: Khmer, math, and social science. I was first working on the math subject and continuously working on the other two subjects. Our methodology of modifying the learning lessons in each book was very simple. Here were the main points we focused on: photo enhancement, content modification, teaching strategy enhancement, and technology enhancement. Furthermore, we also introduced new ideas such as cross-curricular connections, additional exercises/activities, and additional extensions and scaffolding.

After working with this methodology over many weeks, our team observed that it was not good to keep working with this method. We expressly noticed that it was extremely inefficient even though this method was actually working with us of focusing on the details in each subject. But it was time-consuming and really hard to finish all the three books. Thus, we had to change. We started to brainstorm all the important lessons in each subject. I was assigned to work on science subject with a lesson, time. Our new methodology is called, “Add-Ons.” Instead of changing the whole curriculum, Bambujaya can still use the government books, but when it comes to specific lessons, for example, time, the teacher can use our Add-Ons to extend the students’ knowledge of understanding.

To initiate an Add-On for each lesson, we were needed to focus on six majors components. There were….. These were the facets that all of us as a curriculum construction needed to consider since education needs to involve those six points. I was assigned to design an Add-On for a lesson in Science which is time (day and night). Basically, Caroline and other members were parts of planning out this specific lesson. We were brainstorming it on a paper. After, it was my responsibility to bring all of the ideas from the brainstorm to organize it as a formal lesson. All of the members including me were using an online presentation, Prezi to present the Add-On; simultaneously, we also need a digital copy of the document.

When all of the Add-Ons were checked with Caroline and finalized with everybody in the team, it was the time to present to our curriculum communication who had the knowledge in constructing a curriculum. Our curriculum communication, his name is Virak. So we printed out our Add-Ons in Prezi and sent to him. Once Virak finished with the checking, he would come to us to confirm any information if he had any confusions and feedbacks. Working only for two hours each day for five days in every week was not enough for us. Therefore, we had planned out a weekend meeting with Virak to go over the works.

Eventually, the seven weeks had passed, and we need to move on. For the last week, we met up with Virak to look at the overview lessons for the next grade (second grade) after finishing the first grade. We had a small meeting with him to start planning out the lessons that are needed for the second grade. After that, it is all about the second team of Bambujaya to continue and keep up the incredible work for us. By becoming a curriculum designer for Bambujaya is an honor for me; I am now truly designating myself as the “change agent” of Cambodia. Developing the education system is one of my dream that I extremely want to pursue hereafter. Working with Bambujaya is a great start for me and I will promise myself to work until the top.


From Nothing to Something!

Our science facilitator, Karen, was introducing a new opportunity to all the seniors on an evening. The opportunity is called “Liger Marine Research Team” known as the “LMRT.” It is a three-year-long scientific project focusing on the rehabilitation of the coral in Cambodia, specifically Koh Seh’s coral reef. The team will be taking many surveys on the marine life and ecosystem in order to write a final report to present Cambodians. To become one of the members in LMRT, we had to answer two essential questions from Karen. The questions were asking us about our passion towards the ecosystem and how our skills contribute to the achievement of this time-consuming project.

The project was requiring eight students only. You just proved that you are having a strong passion and great effort toward this project. On Friday, Karen was finalizing the students and announcing the names at the assembly. Guess what, I heard my name! I was feeling the gratitude and happiness to become a member of LMRT. There were other seven students who were called: Soliday, Nilroth, Sythong, Lux, Kimseng, and Sythong. They are my friends who I know expressly about there passion for science. It is a perfect team. I love the members including me. After the announcement, we received more information that we will work with MCC, Marine Conservation. MCC is non-government conservation; it is working on one of the islands in Kep archipelago.

Before heading to the island, LMRT had to organize the schedule and find the support: grant. Karen started to search through online and contact with many people for a grant. She finally found a grant who was willing to provide money to the projects that science-related. The grant we applied is called “Rolex Explorer grant.” There were many papers we had to fill and write. We got to submit the grant and it was about one month of waiting for the result. Eventually, LMRT did not receive the grant. We were sad and we had to fight to find another grant. Karen continued to contact with many people and she luckily received another grant that we could apply. It is called “Laguntza Foundation.” We took all of our written papers for the previous grant and submitted for this new grant. Still, we had to wait for the outcome.

After a long wait, LMRT could not stop the eagerness of hearing the result. On August the 19th, 2017, Karens announced the result; finally, we received the grant! It was a total of 15,610 US Dollars! Oh my god! It was an immense moment for LMRT researchers. My other friends, facilitators, and staffs were cheering and congratulation our start. Most of us were tearing up because we could not expect this incredible time. The Languntza Foundation will provide us resources and financial support throughout until our three-year final report officially publish. That was a memory and our next plan was to organize the budget system and begin out trip of becoming the certified divers at Koh Seh!

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