Providing education...and hope.

We're glad you're here! We are a 501c3 educational charity operating a school in rural Cambodia for more than 300 students in grades 1 through 9.


The school was founded in April, 2004 by Foster City, CA Rotarians Hans Eide and John Barrett. Both men had been working on a separate Rotary project to deliver wheelchairs to the region and were touched by the genuine kindness of the locals. Mindful of the widespread poverty and the scars that still exist in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and Khmer Rouge era, they believed that education was the surest way to help deserving children break out of the cycle of poverty they were born into.

Over the past 15 years, the school has grown and thrived thanks to worldwide support from Rotary clubs and individual donors who share the vision that education is the key to success.

Meet The Team

Hans Eide (1934-2016), founder

The Cambodia Academy at Mongkol Borei was founded in April 2004 by Rotarian Hans Eide. After having been both touched by the genuine kindness of the locals, Hans led efforts to turn an underutilized building into a thriving school in a region where education in neither compulsory nor affordable for the poorest families. Hans passed away in March, 2016, and the board is committed to keeping his legacy alive and thriving for the children of Cambodia. Read more about Hans' life.

John Barrett, founder

John joined the Rotary Club of San Mateo, California  in 1995 and is a founding member of The Cambodia Academy. He has served as Sergeant of Arms for the Club and has been active on the Club’s World Community Service Committee, primarily working on Rotary International projects. While assisting Hans Eide with the distribution of a container of wheelchairs in the town of Mongkol Borei in 2004, they conceived the idea of the school and founded it shortly thereafter. John is based in northern California and leads legal, corporate and financial affairs for the charity.

Richard A. Howell

After a visit to Cambodia in 2008 and being changed by the experience, Rich was looking opportunities to get involved with an education project for Cambodian children. He didn't look long: he met Hans through a mutual acquaintance shortly thereafter and knew the school was a perfect fit. Rich focuses on payment processing, marketing and fundraising, as well as web, IT, finance and insurance projects. Rich currently works as the VP of sales and marketing for central banks in the currency technology division of Giesecke+Devrient in Sterling, Virginia. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Brian Howell

Brian and his wife Traci have been student sponsors since 2016 and made their first trip to campus in 2018. Brian is VP of Strategic Partners for Avantor and as a veteran of the pharmaceutical industry brings a strong background in corporate management and strategic planning. Brian's focus is corporate strategy and expanding our donor network as well as seeking new funding avenues. He is based in Weston, MA.

Gunvor Sarelin-Sjöblom

A former university lecturer, Gunvor is an artist, author and volunteer who lives in Finland. She met Hans and got involved with the school during a 2010 trip to Cambodia with The Women's Bank, which supports women's sustainable businesses in developing countries. She taught at the school for two months in 2015. As a native Swedish speaker who also speaks Finnish, English, German and French, Gunvor is a tireless advocate of the school and leads our fundraising efforts in northern Europe. 

Michael Ruess

Michael has served on the board since 2015. As an owner of the Sanae Beach Club in Hua Hin Thailand, he brings expertise and practical know-how in business and financial operations. He is a member of Rotary Club of Royal Hua Hin, Thailand and is currently based outside Vienna, Austria.

Jill Noska

With more than 20 years of experience in payment processing and fintech, Jill is a student sponsor and is the board lead in maintaining our donor management platform and ensuring the integrity of our student rosters. Jill leads our efforts to integrate student data with our donor management platform, and under her leadership, the charity rapidly achieved a 100% student sponsor rate.

Hank Henley

Hank is a retired 27-year secondary and university level educator, freelance humanitarian photographer, and loyal supporter of the school. As the owner of Hank Henley Headshots, he has served as our official photographer for more than six years. Hank focuses on fundraising and donor management as well as curriculum issues and expanding arts offerings. He lives in Tijeras, NM.


Sebastian Lok Sjöblom

A multiple student sponsor, Sebastian joined the board in 2020 after being an active supporter of the school for several years. He will focus on managing our current donor network in Europe as well as expanding funding opportunities and bringing additional enrichment programs to campus. Sebastian is a senior property underwriter with AXA. He and his wife Jenny live in Stockholm, Sweden.

Katherine Walsh. MS, DrPh, RN, NEA-BC

Katherine is a vice president in the Houston Methodist hospital system. She provides strategic guidance and corporate governance guidance as well as strengthening our donor network in the US. She will explore additional health-related programs that the board can offer on campus for the students and their families.

Soviet Miech, principal

Soviet began his career as an English teacher at his alma mater, Mongkol Borei High School, before moving to a teaching position at The Cambodia Academy in 2010. He was promoted to principal in 2017. After attending Mongkol Borei High School, Soviet attended the University of Management and Economics in Battambang. Currently, he is enrolled in a Master’s Degree program at the University of Battambang, studying English teaching and related academic issues. Soviet's wife is a teacher at Mongkol Borei High School and he has one daughter, age 10 and a son, aged 6.   


Many photographs on this site are courtesy of our sponsors Hank Henley Headshots and
Lyn Avery Photography.

Contact Us

Tel: 650-346-7425



1534 Plaza Lane #320 Burlingame, CA 94010

EIN 27-2168959

© 2019 by The Cambodia Academy.