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Cambodian youths take gold medals at LAB

Ean Monileak / Khmer Times Share:
Chhim Noppon and his teammate present their research about natural fertilizer. LAB Cambodia

The “Believe Khmer Can” mentality resulting from the victory of the longest handwoven scarf in Guinness World Records has proven to be effective in uplifting the Khmer can-do spirit among the youths in Cambodia. This same mentality is also what led young Cambodians to get gold medals in a competition in Hanoi, Vietnam last month.

Sean Mouy Ing, a 10th grader from Beltei International School, brought home a gold medal from the Learning Across Borders (LAB) competition in Hanoi, Vietnam from July 18 to 25. LAB is an educational non-profit organisation that aims to bring together teachers and students around the world to discuss and work on environmental issues. Students are teamed under the supervision of a teacher to conduct a research and present their findings in Hanoi.

“My research project is about a plant called water hyacinth,” Mouy Ing said. “I choose water hyacinth because this plant is negatively impacting ecology and humans. Also, the plant also has its own exceptional benefit.”

Nine gold medals for Cambodian youths at LAB Global Finals. Phearum Phouvnieth

Mouy Ing did her research on the Internet and went around asking the locals about water hyacinth. She said, “I go outdoors asking people about their view on water hyacinth, as well as interviewing some women who make a career out of it. I also conducted some experiment in making bio briquettes out of water hyacinth.”

This is the inaugural year for LAB, and the theme for this year’s competition is called “Human: Incorporating Ourselves Into Nature.” LAB believes that humans are an integral part of nature. Humans are changing nature, but we also have the power to find solutions to the problems surrounding it. Thus, students are asked to research on how we affect the world we live in.

Chhim Noppon, a 9th grader from New Generation School of Preah Sisowath High School, is also a LAB medalist. His research is mainly on natural fertilizer. Noppon, a 15-year-old trilingual student, is very keen in making natural fertilizer a dominant fertilizer in Cambodia. He said he aims to “increase the Cambodian farmers’ knowledge on rice farming and creation of fertilizer, decrease the possibilities of polluting or contaminating the water source, and improve the health of both the farmers and consumers.”

Sean Mouy Ing in her solo exhibition on water hyacinth. LAB Cambodia

Noppon stressed that LAB is a unique and great programme because it allows students across different nations to interact with one another and share experiences. He said he has learnt a lot from the programme.

“After testing this, I would love to share it among Cambodian farmers and other researchers or scientists because any form of sharing and helping will help Cambodia to grow economically and scientifically,” Noppon shared.

LAB competition in Hanoi saw the active participation of 11 countries, 84 teams and about 160 students, according to Noppon. All nine students who represented Cambodia in the competition won gold medals. Sam Kamsann, the teacher supervising the Cambodian teams, expressed his pride on the students bringing home gold medals. He told PNN that “this shows the ability of our students as we are just a developing country competing on regional and international stage, but we are on the same level as other countries.”

The next Learning Across Borders (LAB) competition will be held in Siem Reap, Cambodia next year. Mouy Ing hopes that more Khmer youths will participate and bring even better result to the country.

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