Dear Sombath…from Ben Edwards

Dear Sombath,

I was talking to Shui Meng yesterday about your ideas on holistic education,”education of the heart” as the basis for building strong governance; shaping personal morality and integrity, individual and societal concepts of active citizenship, and relation of self to the natural environment, family, community and society.These ideas continue to inspire and direct my approach to education as a teacher. I am now living in Hong Kong and it is fantastic to see so many young people here engaged as active citizens and how the education system, both formal and informal, is teaching people to be informed, concerned and active in all aspects of society.

A group of my year 9 students were doing a research project about Laos recently and a large part of their presentation was about your work in education and civil society. The ideas they learnt about have motivated them to find out more, to understand how privileged they are in Hong Kong, that other countries are struggling to achieve what they often take for granted here- and they are planning more projects to follow up. We will be running a school trip to Laos in the Autumn, have set up a ‘Design for Change’ program as an after school activity at our school and they will also be raising awareness and funds for UXO victims in Laos. I hope it is some comfort to you that you continue to inspire us and that your ideas are meaningful and guiding to so many young people in their daily lives and work, well beyond the borders of Laos.

I look forward to talking to you about all this soon, showing you what the kids have done as a result of your inspiration, and discussing all the exciting projects that we have planned.

Ben Edwards