We might be different, but we can still play together

A group of students from Mith Samlanh have been working with International School of Phnom Penh’s (ISPP) Grade 2/3 class over the past few months to explore how children’s rights are being met in Cambodia.

The students from ISPP first did some research on Friends-International (FI) and then visited the ChildSafe Centre in Phnom Penh to find out how FI helps protect the rights of ALL children in Cambodia. They also visited the Mith Samlanh education and training centre to see how the programs work first hand.

Both groups of children are working towards building a meaningful and on-going relationship with each other, despite their many apparent differences.

In preparation for their first visit to Mith Samlanh, the ISPP students organized some activities to brainstorm the rights to education and what that means to them using pictures to communicate their ideas. Although initially a little wary of each other, the children soon began to work really well together. All the students were enthusiastic about this visit and committed to meeting again to explore these issues together.

For the next session, Mith Samlanh students went to visit the Grade 2/3 class at ISPP to explore the right to play. The ISPP students considered the different types of play and organized activities which reflected these. They also thought about their responsibilities to make playing safe, inclusive and fair. The Mith Samlanh students had never been to ISPP before and had a great time playing with the ISPP students in their own school.

The third visit was held back at Mith Samlanh, where the Mith Samlanh students arranged their own teams to lead and teach the games they play to the ISPP students. All the children had loads of fun teaching, learning and playing with each other.

Friends-International and Mith Samlanh would like to acknowledge and thank Ms. Anita Mathur and the Grade 2 and 3 students from ISPP for being involved and working with all the students.

Here’s what some of the students thought about the visits:

“Although there are differences between us, we are all a similar age and we can find ways to understand each other. It’s not so hard to understand each other,” Srey Mom

“I was caring because helped people to get their water and to take turns. I was a risk- taker because I told them how to play the game. I was tolerant because I respected them and they respected me and our differences,” Chakrya

“I want to play with them! It’s so much fun, we all have fun!” Vanna

“I want them to understand us and who we are, where we’re from,” Sokha

I showed them how to make things and asked them questions, it shows I was a communicator and knowledgeable about our play stuff and telling other people about it and being responsible. I was speaking English and Khmer and acting stuff out,” Nano

“The second visit was lots of fun because we never saw or played the games and toys they had at their school. The last visit at Mith Samlanh was fun because I enjoyed being able to teach them new games too.” Chamram

“I was empathetic because I tried to put myself in the place of my friend and told the boys not to be too rough. I was worried they may be rough and frighten my friend. I also thought how it might feel to visit ISPP for the first time,” Ndashi

“I’m happy to see them and play with them because they can understand us more too. We want them to know about us and support us,” Chnap Chet

“I felt good because I got to know the children who come from Friends and that we could play together and think about rights. I felt responsibility to help keep them safe. I was caring because I helped people move around and that nobody was left behind. We were open-minded and caring, as we want to get to know each other. I could be myself and respectful to them. We may look different, dress different and our schools and lives are different. I wanted to show empathy and understand that there is differences but we can still enjoy our right to play together,” Robin

“The first time was very exciting. I was very very happy to see the ISPP students at Mith Samlanh playing with us,” Sophy

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