Date — 10 March, 2014
They were inaugurated in the presence of UNESCO representatives, local government officials, French delegates and representatives of the media.
Their construction was made possible partly by the proceeds from the auction of a platinum IWC watch, which went under the hammer for CHF 173,000 in November 2013.
One of the school buildings was renovated and the second was newly built.
The Hun Sen Roluos Primary School officially has nine fully equipped classrooms and a modern library.
In order to give more people access to reading material, a new mobile library has also gone into service and will pay regular visits to many remote villages.
Siem Reap, Cambodia, 10 March 2014 – The Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has opened two school buildings with a library in Roluos, Cambodia. Their construction was made possible partly by the proceeds from the auction of a platinum IWC watch, which went under the hammer for CHF 173,000 in November 2013. In the future, the company’s commitment will give 1200 children access to a school education. A new mobile library is also part of the joint efforts undertaken by IWC in conjunction with the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation and the Sipar organization to combat illiteracy in the country.
As of last weekend, the Hun Sen Roluos Primary School officially has nine fully equipped classrooms and a modern library. Here, just 13 kilometres from Siem Reap, the capital of one of the poorest provinces in Cambodia, 1200 children will be able to benefit from an education and the chance of a better future. In a country where almost two-thirds of the population is unable to read, this is an encouraging prospect. In order to give more people access to reading material, a new mobile library has also gone into service and will pay regular visits to many remote villages. The minivan is colourfully painted with images of the little prince, in acknowledgement of Saint-Exupéry’s masterpiece and of the Foundation that his descendants set up for the benefit of children and young people. Working together as partners and with the help of Sipar, a locally-based organization, IWC Schaffhausen and the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation completed the project in just 6 months. One of the school buildings was renovated and the second was newly built. They were inaugurated in the presence of UNESCO representatives, local government officials, French delegates and representatives of the media. “The Cambodian education system is short of teachers and specialist staff because the generation of thirty to forty year-olds is virtually non-existent,” said Georges Kern, CEO of IWC. “We take our social responsibility very seriously and believe that every human being is entitled to an education. We are especially grateful for this opportunity to contribute to the education of the youngest generation with the school and mobile library.”
We take our social responsibility very seriously and believe that every human being is entitled to an education.
—Georges Kern, CEO of IWC
Since teaming up with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s descendants in 2006, IWC has honoured the memory of the great French writer and pilot with a series of limited Pilot’s Watch special editions. Several unique pieces in platinum have since fetched high prices at auctions, and IWC has used the proceeds to support a wide range of projects organized by the French Foundation for the benefit of disadvantaged children. As recently as November 2013, one of these unique timepieces came under the hammer at an auction held by Sotheby’s Geneva. The watch, a Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” in platinum (Ref. IW502801), changed hands for the sum of CHF 173,000. IWC and the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation used the proceeds to finance the school whose inauguration was celebrated last weekend. “Without the support of strong partners like IWC Schaffhausen we could not possibly fulfil our mission,” explained Olivier d’Agay, great-nephew of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Director Saint-Exupéry – d’Agay Estate. “We liaise closely with Sipar,a non-governmental organization that has been working to combat illiteracy in Cambodia for the past 22 years and supports a wide range of school and education-related initiatives here on the ground.” An inscription on the newly opened school building in Roluos commemorates the participation of the three organizations: “This school building was built by Sipar with the support of the Antoine de SAINT-EXUPÉRY Youth Foundation and IWC Schaffhausen – March 2014”.
For the CEO of IWC, Georges Kern, social commitment is an integral part of a successful corporate policy. “We are deeply proud and honoured that our partnership with the descendants of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry helps to sustain his humanitarian philosophy and contributes to the education of young people.” Back in 2008, following the auction of the platinum Pilot’s Watch UTC Edition Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, IWC invested the proceeds in Sipar projects in Cambodia. One of the many joint projects realized by IWC and the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation is support of the humanitarian Vol de Nuit/Vuelo Nocturno institution in Argentina. This charity works hand in hand with schools, homes and institutions established to help street children in Buenos Aires and in this way rescues many of them from lives of crime, begging and general neglect. The proceeds from another auction were used to build the “Ecole des Sables – Antoine de Saint Exupéry”, a school in the Mali desert. The establishment is run as a boarding school, which offers nomadic children access to education for 8 months a year.
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