Libraries in prisons
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Libraries and Education Centers in prisons

Most of the people in detention come from disadvantaged or marginalized groups with low levels of education: 30% to 40% lack basic literacy and numeracy skills and have no professional qualifications. Official institutions (the ministry of education and ministry of labour) as well as a few NGOs provide educational or vocational training but opportunities to improve education levels and prepare the detainees’ socio professional reintegration are still insufficient or inadequate.

literacy classesVocational training for detainees


This project is part of the continuity programme launched in 2012, which aims to set up 26 library education centres (BCE) in Cambodia’s 26 prisons. The project, carried out in partnership with the Ministry of Education, the General Department of Prisons and partner associations Mith Samlanh and M’lop Tapang, is co-financed by the AFD, the Pierre Bellon foundation and Sipar.

The objective

The current objective is to contribute to the education and training of detainees, and in particular young adults aged between 14 and 25 who constitute almost 60% of the prison population, by preparing them for their socio-professional reintegration and thus reduce recidivism.

The project has three main components

  • Transform the 26 prison libraries into permanent Education Centres (in particular through the supply of equipment, books and digital tools).
  • Implement education programmes (literacy classes), reintegration and vocational training for detainees in collaboration with civil society organisations and educational and training institutions.
  • Strengthen the capacity of the prison administration to implement the national reintegration policy efficiently.

Testimonies' videos

See all Sipar's videos

A few figures

  • 26 library education centres
  • 30,000 detainees have access to libraries
  • 7,000 readers per month
  • 224 detainees benefit from the literacy programme
  • 153 detainees benefit from the vocational training programme
  • 284 professional reintegration sessions


A prisoner on Vocational Training on beauty with Mith Samlanh at CC2 prison

“They are more than teachers for me. They are just like my family. My teachers are always there to encourage me to move on and never lose hope. Without them, I have no idea where I would be now.”



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