library and education in prisons

The prison libraries-education centres program, launched in 2012 with co-financing from the European Union and AFD, and in collaboration with the General Department of Prisons (Ministry of the Interior), aims to contribute to the education and preparation for socio-professional reintegration of the more than 30,000 prisoners in the kingdom's 28 prisons. The objective is to reduce recidivism, especially among young people aged 14 to 25, who are nearly 60% of the prison population.

In addition to access to a library with a computerized lending system, this program also offers:

  • Literacy classes conducted in partnership with the Provincial Directorates of Education
  • Workshops to prepare for socio-professional reintegration led by the NGOs Mith Samlanh and M'Lop Tapang
  • Vocational training sessions conducted by the Provincial Vocational Training Centers

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The majority of Cambodia's 37,000 detainees come from poor and marginalized backgrounds, most have no professional qualifications and 30-40 per cent of them have no basic literacy or numeracy. The institutions (Ministry of Educationand Ministry of Labour) offer an increasing number of educational services and vocational training, but opportunities for educational development and social reintegration of prisoners for vocational preparation remain insufficient.

prisons libraries in the digital age

Contributing to the education and training of prisoners and enabling them to dream of a better future is the objective of our "Libraries in Prisons" program that began in 2012. Sipar and its partners are convinced ofthe positive impact of this program and wanted to go further by equipping libraries with a digital laboratory of five to ten computers whose content can be consulted by all, offline. These interactive digital tools offer new opportunities for prisoners to continue their secondary education, acquire technical skills (agriculture, cooking, mechanics, etc.), deepen their command of a foreign language (English, Chinese, Thai, etc.), strengthen their practical life skills (financial management, preparation for employment, management of a micro- company...) and develop their knowledge of the basics of computer science.

This programme is a great innovation in the Cambodian context. The rapid advances in the digital field in the country are such that its mastery is becoming more and more necessary, especially for young people who have broken socialization.

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Reading is very important, especially for our reintegration into the community. This will help us find a good job

Detainee from Kindal prison, 24

Published by Sipar in August 2020, the autobiographical novel written by a former inmate of Preah Vihear prison lifts the veil on daily life in detention, tracing the author's tumultuous journey.

The novel is available in the libraries of the 27 prisons.

28 BCE

for 38.000 detainees

8 000

readers per month in 2021


participants in literacy classes


beneficiaires of professionnal reintegration sessions in 2022