Sixteen-year-old South Korean student Gyubin Han is ensuring some 2,800 rural children can study more productively – and with improved safety and greater comfort – with his project to upgrade Pursat Primary School's electrical infrastructure.
Northbridge International School pupil Gyubin, with the assistance of Yeonhap – a South Korean company specialising in the production of miniature circuit breakers (MCBs) – has revamped the wiring at the school, installing improved MCBs, wiring and lighting.
"I sought assistance from Yeonhap in the undertaking of my project, and as Pursat Primary School is near their factory, I wanted to start there. And this is just the beginning.
"We had a lot of discussions on what infrastructure we should focus on improving, and many classes lacked properly installed lighting and had fans connected to exposed wiring, while many appliances were connected to just a single MCB.
"I carried out a feasibility study and managed the project, and Yeonhap – wishing to help their local community – agreed to fully fund the project, which is focusing on all these areas of improvement," Gyubin said after visiting the school again on June 10.
Official data shows that 34 people were killed and 72 injured in fires in the first quarter of 2023, with electrical faults determined to be the cause in 40.25 per cent of the cases.
And MCBs – the small switches that automatically trip the circuit when a fault is detected – are key components in reducing electrical fires.
Grade 11 student Gyubin said he wanted to benefit students at rural schools in Cambodia by improving their electrical infrastructure.
"I was aware of the consequences of electrical fires due to poor electrical infrastructure such as badly managed cables and overloaded MCBs, and I wanted to address this.
"I also had experience of visiting rural schools and understood that sometimes the infrastructure didn’t create the best learning environment for students –although their spirit for learning was always heartwarming.
"This resulted in me looking to improve the electrical infrastructure in rural schools in Cambodia as I realised major positive impacts could be made by installing proper MCBs, wiring and lighting for students," he said.
While the project has already been impactful for Pursat, Gyubin said ongoing inspections and maintenance were crucial to making a lasting change.
“Yeonhap has very kindly agreed to carry out [such inspections] in the future.
“With their help, I am confident the kids at Pursat Primary School can study and play safely for years to come,” he said.