Kep City, Cambodia, 31 January 2017 -- The Salesians of Cambodia celebrated the Feasts of Saint John Bosco with the official opening of a Program to integrate children and youth that are physically challenged at the Don Bosco Technical School and Children Fund of Kep Province. The Project is sponsored by USAID through its Program "American Schools and Hospitals Abroad" (ASHA) and the Salesian Missions of New Rochelle. "We are not creating a school for people with disabilities, but it is now a school where they can be integrated in society," said Fr Albeiro Rodas, Rector of Don Bosco Kep.
The Program opens with the Solemn Mass of Saint John Bosco presided by Fr Roel Soto, Superior of the Cambodian Delegation, Fr Gianluca Tavola (PIME), Parish Priest of Kampot and Kep provinces and Fr John Maung Peng (Burmese missionary and Parish assistant). The Mass, celebrated in front of the Don Bosco Birth House Monument (Little I Becchi), was animated by the Don Bosco Sun Children chorus and assisted by different groups of the Parish.
The official act of opening of the Project known as "Don Bosco Kep Campus Friendly to Persons that are Physically Challenged" started at 9 AM with the speeches of Fr Roel Soto as Cambodian Salesian Delegate, Fr Mark Hyde, Director of Salesian Missions and Mr Sean Callahan, USAID Cambodia´s Deputy Mission Director. Mr Anh Pak, past pupil of the Art Communication Section in a wheelchair and Mr Savon Vuth, past pupil of Social Communication and Journalism, born without legs, cut the ribbon of the lift installed between the two main buildings to facilitate the access of students with any kind of physical disability. They came also with Dr Phillippe Long, a veteran Bulgarian doctor that has been in Cambodia and Thailand for more than 40 years supporting young people and children from poor communities and the one who brought Anh Pak to Don Bosco in 2014 and Ms Lidia Linde, the President of Siem Reap's based Together for Cambodia Organization, who cared for Savong where he was a child.
At 2 PM the school was visited by His Excellency Khem Setha, Governor of Kep Province with representatives of all the Province's departments. He underlined the importance of the Project for the inclusion of children and youth with any disability and how it becomes a model for many other educative centers in Cambodia.
The day was closed with a Cultural Program in the night to thanks the donors, but in a special way Fr Mark Hyde, Director of Salesian Missions and Mr Jaime Correa-Montalvo, Director of International Projects. Fr Hyde gave the Good Nights thanking the Academic Community for the Program and the Salesian atmosphere in this corner of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
The Solemn Mass of Saint John Bosco in front to the Don Bosco Birth Monument of Kep (Little I Becchi).
The Don Bosco Sun Children's Chorus.
Mr Sean Callahan, USAID Cambodia´s Deputy Mission Director and the Salesians.
Savon Vuth and Anh Pak, Don Bosco Kep past pupils, coming to cut the ribbon.
Fr Roel Soto welcoming H.E. Khem Setha, Governor of Kep Province.
Salesians of Cambodia with Fr Mark Hyde and Mr Jaime Correa Montalvo of Salesian Missions.