The latest from Cambodia – September 2020!

Written by our Cambodia Team.

September programs in villages. 

In September we are still teaching in village classes with a total of 263 students who are attending our supplementary classes during COVID-19. We also found that there were some village students who previously attended our classes but dropped out because they are going back to study in government school. However, we are still seeing a small amount of students coming to register in our supplementary education classes as new students.

Here is the breakdown of students in each center that they usually attend the classes:

      • CAD1 = 91
      • CAD2= 68
      • CAD3= 100

Total in each center = 263 students.

According to the comparison between the total numbers in August and September, we can report that there has been an increase in attendance of 9 students.

CAD school updates.

It is good time to report that our partner CAD center was approved by the Ministry of Education to reopen again on September 14th 2020. The CAD center must follow the conditions and principles such as: following the hygiene rule, use hand sanitizer, check temperature and the main important thing is making a hand washing place for the students. All students must wash their hands, wear their mask and have their temperature checked before entering the class.

Celebrating Pchum Ben Festival.

What is Pchum Ben Festival?

Pchum Ben is a traditional ceremony to remind people to bring the food to the monks. Each year in September there is a ceremony called Pchum Ben “បុណ” which combines the Khmer words “Pchum”, which means “to gather together”, and “Ben”, a “ball of food”.

The festival reminds people to remember their ancestors who have passed away. Also the festival educates younger people on how they should give respect to their relatives.

How to celebrate Pchum Ben Festival.

The ceremony takes 15 days by Khmer calendar and is a time when Cambodians honor their ancestors up to seven generations back. It is one of the most important holidays in the country.

Cambodian people have a deep respect for their parents, grandparents and ancestors. They always go to the pagoda on their ancestor’s anniversary or someone’s birthday. This is the way to show high respect even on days. For this year the main celebration days are on 16th, 17th and 18th September.

What do the people do from (1 roch to 14 roch) early at 4am?

Early in the morning, around 4:00 a.m., people prepare food, fruit and rice. They make small balls of food and go to the pagoda. There they throw the balls of food just outside the temple. It is believed that some of their ancestors, those who committed sins when they were alive, cannot enter the temples, even as ghosts. And they can only eat food that is prepared by their descendants. So this food is for them.

People believe that if these spirits don’t see their relatives bringing food for them, they will get angry and wish their relative bad luck.

The 15 roch is the day of Pchum Ben Ben.

The 15 roch is the most important day of Pchum Ben and also the last day of the ceremonyុ, (called Dak Ben). During Dak Ben, people go to a pagoda to offer food for the monks, they are also believed that deceased relatives will wait at the pagoda for food made by their families.

Before going to the pagoda, children prepare food for their parents at home. Parents are precious gods for Cambodians because they give life, take care and worry about their children.

COVID-19 update.

The total official number of Covid-19 cases in Cambodia is:

      • Coronavirus cases: 283
      • Recovered: 278
      • Deaths: 0

As numbers remain low, it seems that people are returning to normal and there is large concern from the government and other non-government organizations, that this will cause an increase in infection in the community.

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