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Hello!

Welcome to the first issue of our newsletter - designed to bring you (our wonderful sponsors and supporters) the news and latest updates from The Mango Tree Primary School. In each edition we will bring you stories from the children who attend the school, demonstrating the direct impact that your sponsorship has on their lives. We will also bring you updates about the progress of other Mango Tree Development Projects, and how your donations are helping to change lives and give the community hope for a better future. We hope you enjoy the first issue!
 
- Kevin & Leakhena Knight (Founders, Manna4Life)
School Update
With the generous support of our donors, The Mango Tree Primary School opened its doors to 101 students from the Tang Khiev community, in grades 1 - 3 on the 1st of November 2014. 

It goes without saying, that Manna4Life, the students and the wider community were elated that all requirements were in place for the school to open and function at a Nationally Accredited level for start of the school year.  The school building was finished, the resources had arrived, the school was fully staffed and the children were registered, excited to attend and all had uniforms. 

The school is currently staffed with three government teachers, four supplementary teachers and two teachers aids. This level of staffing means that we are able to provide the children with a full day of school (most schools are only half day), enabling them to complete the government curriculum in the morning and then supplementary classes in the afternoon (including: English, sport, art and music).

We view the opening of the school as a huge success, and it is a credit to everyone involved in the project. We are now looking toward the achievement of our next key milestones: opening the school kitchen to provide a meal for each child every school day and expanding the scope of the school to include years 4 – 6. To achieve these goals we are working on a number of fundraising initiatives, and are continuing to seek additional child and community sponsorships.
Mango Tree Students
Bona's Story
Bona is the second youngest of five children. His parents struggle to provide for the basic needs of Bona and his siblings on their construction worker wages, and their home life can often be difficult - with many mouths to feed, sometimes Bona would come home from his previous school to find no food to eat.

Feeling unhappy at home and thinking no one at his previous school cared about him, Bona dropped out at grade three to go begging at Oudong Mountain. Bona's parents were sad that he left school, but no-one could change his mind about returning - he simply couldn't see the point of going.

A Manna4Life staff member was speaking to Bona one day in the village - telling him their story and why they thought that attending school was important. They told him "We love you, we care about you, and we want you to have a bright future. This is why you should think about returning to school." At the time Bona still seemed uninterested in returning to school.

The news of the opening of The Mango Tree School in November 2014 generated excitement in the village - including for Bona. He soon came back to see the Manna4Life staff member - to tell them he wanted to go back to school - as long as he could attend The Mango Tree School.

We are happy to report that Bona started at Mango Tree School in November, and was 5th in his class. The supportive environment has seen Bona prosper - he is happy and working hard at his studies and in December was 2nd in his class. 

With the support of our sponsors we aim to expand our school (adding a grade each year) to ensure that students such as Bona and other children like him can continue to study in a supportive and caring environment close to their homes.
Akara's Story
Akara is the second youngest of three children and is the only daughter in her family. Akara's father is a construction worker, and her mother takes care of their house.

Akara's parents believe in the importance of education for their children. They told Manna4Life that they "didn’t have a chance for study that’s why we have to work so hard for our whole life and we cannot read and write either. So, we don’t want to see our kids growing up like us”. This is why Akara's parents registered her for The Mango Tree Primary School. 

Attending The Mango Tree Primary School has had a very positive influence on Akara's life. Before she attended the school Akara's parent told us that she was often in trouble fighting with other children and skipping classes at her previous school.

Her first month at Mango Tree School was difficult, as she continued to have disagreements with her class mates and did not always respect her teachers. Rather than just telling her off (or ignoring her behaviour), the teachers at The Mango Tree Primary School have taken the time to help Akara understand the right way to treat her fellow students and her teachers, and have encouraged the good behaviour through positive reinforcement.  After three months at The Mango Tree Primary School, Akara's behaviour is much improved and she is enjoying school so much that she even tried to come when she was sick so she would not miss anything!  Akara's parents are so happy that she is able to attend the local school, and that she is enjoying her education so much.

This turnaround in Akara's behaviour and attitude towards school is testament to the way in which the school approaches education. Built within the community, the school's staff understand the unique difficulties faced by many of the students in their lives so far, and their previous negative experiences with the education system in Cambodia - and provide the children with the extra support they need to help them succeed.  


* The names of children in this newsletter have been changed to comply with our Child Protection Policy.
Water Filtration Project Update
We are very excited to be able to advise you that funding for completion of this project has be secured. Thanks to the generous donation of the Ratanak Foundation (Canada) we are now able to sign contracts for the installation of the water filtration system! This will enable a reliable supply of clean drinking water for The Mango Tree School and wider village, and completes one of the community's initial goals.
Christmas at Mango Tree
Many thanks to our donors at Dunedin Baptist Church and our friends, family and supporters in Canada for helping bring some Christmas spirit to The Mango Tree School! With this assistance, we were able to make our Christmas pageant a rousing success with over 300 children attending the play, songs and games. As you can see from the photo, the children were very excited to each receive a small gift and were so happy to join in the community event.
Did You Know....
Our school is named after the 400 Mango trees that were obtained and planted throughout the Tang Khiev community. The mango trees once grown will provide a shade canopy in the village, as well as provide food for the families, the school and will even be used in micro-enterprises (such as making and selling mango jam and chutney!). Our trees were planted in October 2012.
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The Mango Tree Primary School and associated child sponsorships are undertaken in partnership with Global Development Group (Project J835N) and the Great Commission Stories.
Copyright © 2015 Manna4Life, All rights reserved.


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