ISF Community Library cultivates a culture of education while teaching one ISF grandfather how to read and write
62-year-old Srun Nan lives with his daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren in Chbar Ampov’s graveyard community. Because he didn’t have the land to grow crops or rice, he was forced to relocate to the city from his home province nearly 30 years ago. However, until 2017, Srun Nan didn’t know how to read - limiting his opportunities for gainful employment. Instead, Nan supported his family by helping with household chores, cooking, and watching his grandchildren while his daughter and son-in-law worked.
As part of its Community Library Project, ISF opened an accessible library in Deum Sleng Village (or Chbar Ampov's graveyard community) in 2014. Committed to alleviating poverty for disadvantaged children and their families, ISF ensures its programmes serve the wider community. Projects like the Community Library Project dually serve to provide children with a safe place to study while cultivating a culture of education and literacy within the entire community.
Many of ISF’s parents lack basic literacy, and for beneficiaries like Nan, ISF’s Community Libraries are the first accessible resource that teach and promote literacy. Having never been to school, Nan was unable to read or write. However, keenly interested in Buddhism and Cambodian knowledge, he would visit the library where, in her spare time, the librarian would read to Nan. Over time, the librarian started teaching Nan how to read, having him repeat after her and practising writing in Khmer.
Now, Nan can read and write Khmer fluently. Through the community libraries, he realised the importance of literacy. He now understands literacy helps broaden his worldly knowledge and increases opportunities to obtain a decent job with a stable income. Literate since 2017, Nan has become an advocate for education. He shares that his grandson is currently enrolled in ISF's Education Programme, where he emphasises the importance of school. Through ISF's programmes, he hopes his grandson will graduate from university and learn the skills necessary to escape the cycle of poverty.