|The construction site of AMATAK House of Cambodia's 19th school.|
Father Fumio Goto, 85, has helped build 18 schools in Cambodia, and is working on No. 19. Each new school serves about 200 children who would not be able to get an education otherwise.
A member of the Society of the Divine Word, Father Goto heads AMATAK House in Cambodia, a nonprofit organization based at Kichijoji Catholic Church in Tokyo.
The new school that is underway will serve five villages that are often overlooked by other aid efforts. Father Goto explained that many nonprofits tend to give aid to areas with high levels of infrastructure, often leaving underdeveloped areas neglected.
Education opens up unlikely options, according to Father Goto, who recalled an instance in which a young girl was going to be sold into slavery. “Parents who can’t afford to feed their children often end up selling their eldest daughter for $300. It doesn’t mean it’s their will; they just have no choice,” he said. Father Goto helped the family by sending them food, as long as they promised to keep the girl in school. When she eventually became a teacher herself, Goto found it difficult to express the emotion he felt about the situation. “When you see people like her, you realize what great joy you can find in helping people,” he said. “I’m so thankful that there are more and more people willing to help.”
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