Boys! How we can pay the electricity?

This year, our Don Bosco Technical School of Sihanoukville got an increase of 35 percent in electricity. It is the first time the school got such quick and sudden jumping. In a technical school, electricity is just vital for the development of its programs. Without electricity, how is it possible to make the technical workshops go on?

The administration of the school sent a claim to the electricity authority. The school defends the position that it is a non-for profit organization working for under privileged children and young people. A student in Don Bosco – in his/her two years of formation – pays 20 dollars per year! If he/she cannot pay, he is also supported according to the needs of his/her family. Feeds at Don Bosco are rather symbolic than a real payment. Students at Don Bosco do not pay actually the real value of the education they receive. However it, the electricity authorities hold their intention to charge the school as it were a ‘private school’ or a ‘business entity’.

Don Bosco as an organization in Cambodia, does not look to rise funds from children and youth. It gets support from national and international organizations to guarantee the education of children and youth from impoverished communities, especially farmers and unprivileged communities in the cities.

In this way, Don Bosco is supporting the development of Cambodia by providing with skillful youth that will be able to contribute to their own country either in the private or public sector. A boy that gets a place in any program of Don Bosco, is a boy that will have better opportunities for engagement and the foundation of a good family for his society.

Don Bosco needs more compromise from the national sectors

So far, the main benefactors of Don Bosco in Cambodia comes from foreign organizations of Europe and US. They have been important in the development and sustainability of programs like the technical schools, the Children Fund, the Children Home or the literacy centers. As Don Bosco is administrated by religious personnel, transparency and honesty have been also a way to keep that any international fund gets the real destination: the impoverished youth.

However, in the current time of development of Cambodia, programs like Don Bosco should get more support from the private and public sector. If Don Bosco is training youth to be electricians, mechanics, secretaries, communicators, hotel managers, it is right to expect a participation of the private and public companies in the support of the Don Bosco programs.

It is not logic to increase the electricity fee for a school like Don Bosco. If the school is not for profit, from where the school will afford to pay high electrical fees?

The electricity authorities refused to give a positive answer to Don Bosco Sihanoukville that asked a reconsideration in the sudden 35 percent increase in the monthly cost.

It is said for example in the EAC page:

‘EAC is here to help you in getting better electric power service at reasonable rate in your home, industry or business.’

If any industry or business can apply for a reasonable rate, why a charitable school cannot do the same? Any industry and business expects to get profits every month. Which monthly profit can get a charitable organization every month?

Of course, paying high rates for electricity means that the school has to look funds. Using funds to pay electricity means to reduce the number of students and, therefore, the number of poor youth that would benefit from the school. Other solution should be to charge students in order to pay the electricity. It would mean that poor boys could not join the school and, therefore, the mission of Don Bosco as a charitable organization for poor youth would be over.

We expect that Don Bosco could apply for that reasonable rates from the electricity authorities. The production of Don Bosco is the production of Cambodia: youth with best opportunities for their own nation. Don Bosco is not a foreigner organization showing up. It is a Cambodian space for the poor, dreaming in a best future for everyone.

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About Albeiro Rodas

Albeiro Rodas (in Cambodia Sky Ly Samnang), is a MA in Digital Communication, independent journalist and a Salesian of Don Bosco from Amalfi, Colombia, based in Cambodia since 1999. He is the creator of the Don Bosco schools of journalism in Sihanoukville and Kep with young people from poor communities and the founder of the Don Bosco Kep Children Fund. Medal for Social Commitment UPB (2010); among the 100 more upstanding Colombians abroad (Marca Colombia, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X39xwdGtVXI) and among the 12 Colombians that are making this a better world 2013 (http://www.colombia.co/en/culture/colombians-that-are-making-this-a-better-world.html).

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