June 26, 2009—Ven. Thach Ne and Thach Sathoul of the Pothivong temple in Saigon are embarking on a grand mission on a small local effort, step by step, they are bringing back Khmer literacy and teaching Khmer Krom children in Binh Phuoc province to learn their native Khmer language and the language of Buddha, Pali.
For majority of the students who come to learn at the Wat Phum Thom pagoda, this would be their first time ever at seeing what Khmer writings looks and sounds like.
Where as before, they passed writings on the wall off with a mystical glance now they are making out the spelling and can scribble copies into their notebook and pride themselves on the ability to pick out the characters of the alphabet.
The success of Wat Phum Thom pagoda led by Venerable Thach Ne is an exceptional story of success due to great zeal and dedication from both monks and local villagers working together for what they believe is their duty to protect, preserve and transfer the Khmer culture to the next generation of children who are slowly losing the ability to speak, understand and relate to their Khmer elderly and the culture as a whole.
Even though under resource, Ven. Thach Ne who is due to go to India this year -granted all visa papers are in place- to continue his study of Buddhism, is making big promises to his student.
Ven. Thach Ne wants the children to succeed not only in learning their native language but the national language as well in order for them to be more competitive and better able to raise themselves up and he hopes to do this by giving encouragement to efforts of all his students, promising them that if they excel in both languages he would sponsor and help send them to continue their study in Prey Nokor (Ho Chi Minh City) with the support of Wat Pothivong temple.
The Wat Phum Thom temple now counts 150 pupils and 11 temple kids who are supported by sheltered by the temple.
Keep update and follow their activities by following our Kumar Phum Thom Project here.