In Cambodia, head teacher Bin Nou makes a difference

Photo story: Head teacher Bin Nou from Siem Reap, Cambodia was trained to identify students with vision problems to help remove barriers for active participation and academic success in education

October 07, 2016 by Liesbeth Roolvink, UNESCO
3 minutes read
Bin Nou - Head Teacher Ta Tum Primary school in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo credit: Claire Eggers

This is Bin Nou. She’s 35 years old. Nou is a head teacher at Ta Tum Primary school in Bantheay Srey District in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Recently she participated in a vision screening training organized by the Ministry of Education in partnership with Sightsavers and Fred Hollows Foundation to identify students with vision problems. The ministry promotes eye health as part of its inclusive education strategy to remove barriers for active participation and academic success in education.  

After the training, Bin Nou received a vision screening kit so she could test the eyesight of children in her school. 

Teachers during the vision screening training. Photo credit: Claire Eggers

Teachers during the vision screening training.

Photo Credit: Claire Eggers

During the training, participants were offered a free eye examination and since Nou experienced some vision problems herself, she was keen to be tested. Indeed she needed glasses so she returned home with her very first pair of glasses!

She loved her new look and happily posed for our camera, mentioning that the School Health Initiative Project (SHIP) is very important for Cambodia’s rural communities. SHIP is a partnership between the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, Sightsavers, Partners for Child Development and Fred Hollows Foundation, with financial support from the Global Partnership for Education through the World Bank.

Nou explained: “Our villages don’t have easy access to eye care providers and glasses are not available locally. Therefore vision problems often remain uncorrected”.

Determined to make a difference in her school, Nou conducted vision screening for all 205 students and identified one student who needed glasses, Matai, who is 8 years old and studies in Grade 3. Matai could choose glasses from a wide range of different colored frames and picked yellow, the one she liked most.

With improved vision, Nou expect better learning outcomes from Matai, and that is of course a priceless result of a very simple and low-cost intervention.

After celebrating World Teachers’ Day earlier this week, let’s honor passionate and committed teachers like Nou, as they clearly make a difference in the life of their students.

Bin Nou and Matai with their new glasses. Photo credit: Bin Nou

Bin Nou and Matai with their new glasses.

Photo Credit: Bin Nou

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East Asia and Pacific: Cambodia

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SHIP Project implement in two districts in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. I am one of the optometrist mobile team do eye consultation and refraction to children at schools we found that many children living in rural under uncorrected their vision eventhough simply correction with low cost spectacle vision care for children in school is importance for their education as well as give up school due to visual impairment. I would like all donors should extension the project to other districts or provinces in Canbodia.

Thanks for an interesting article. We do not often hear about primary school teachers being enabled to assess the eye health of their pupils.

Please do not use abbreviations without first spelling them out. SHIP is not identified. One has to go to the author's blog - - to learn that it means the School Integrated Health Project.

In reply to by Michael

Thanks for your comment Michael. I have modified the blog to include the full explanation of "SHIP" where it first appears.

Thanks for the awesome post.

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