Every year on 21 February the world is reminded of the importance of language.
To mark International Mother Language Day, the Asia Multi-Lingual Education Working Group is highlighting the “challenges faced by some 2.3 billion people worldwide who don’t have access to education in their mother tongue and are excluded as a result.“ An article by the Working Group’s Coordinator which was published in the Cambodia Daily details her own expériences trying to learn in a school environment where she could not understand the teachers. In this she recognises the progress being made in Cambodia to increase access to multi-lingual education for ethnic minority groups.
Language plays a crucial role in CARE’s work in Cambodia.The obvious example is CARE’s focus on increasing access to education for those from ethnic minorities. CARE has been instrumental in developing a multi-lingual education model for Cambodia and working with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport to expand this. However, as a development organisation working with the most marginalised people this language becomes even more important in order to reach all the people we work with. Many other projects - such as the work of Partnering to Save Lives to improve maternal & neonatal health, or CARE’s efforts to strengthen the accountability of health service providers - work with indigenous communities. Ensuring those from ethnic minorities have equal access to services such as healthcare is vital if we wish to reach all members of a community and language plays a key role in this.
The full article celebrating the impact of multi-lingual education on the voice and participation of ethnic minority communities is published in the Cambodia Daily. A Khmer translation can be found here.
Read the article in English >
Read the Khmer translation >