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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 18 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 soon after and knew the school was a perfect fit. Rich focuses on school operations, marketing, fundraising, as well as web, IT, finance and insurance projects. He lives in Koh Samui, Thailand and visits campus regularly.

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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 Dallas, Texas.


Gunvor Sarelin-Sjöblom

A former university lecturer, Gunvor is an artist, author and volunteer who lives in Finland and Sweden. 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 in charge of 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. She is based in St. Petersburg, Florida.


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

Now retired, Katherine was 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. She is based in Houston, Texas.


Rev. Panha Mey

Panha Mey is the pastor of Cambodian Baptist Church of Houston, TX since 2015 and also serves as chaplain with the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. Prior to ministerial vocation, Panha worked as a corporate accountant and budget manager with Cingular Wireless. Prior to that, he spent three years in East Africa as a missionary where he worked as a mission assistant treasurer, local church youth director and refugees relief worker. Panha is married to Sokchea Mey and have two children, Catherine (15) and Caleb (9). 


Sokchea Laura Mey, M.D.

Sokchea Laura Mey, M.D. is an anesthesiologist and currently practices in Houston, TX.  She graduated medical school from University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio in 2005.  She is married to Panha Mey and they both have been board members since 2021.  Her favorite hobbies include gardening and traveling. Sokchea is married to Panha and have two children, Catherine (15) and Caleb (9). 


Richard Vander Meeden

Richard leads and manages information technology for the board, and has been a member since 2019. He has worked in IT in a variety of industries from mining and minerals to biopharma and currently manages Microsoft Cloud infrastructure for the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco, CA. In addition to working for the court Richard has started his own venture, providing specialized financial services to underserved industries.


Dara Pei, principal

Dara Pei was appointed interim principal of The Cambodia Academy on May 1, 2021 and then promoted to principal in November 2021. Dara has been with the school for many years as a teacher and IT instructor and has done a great job stepping into the role and keeping the board up to date on what is going on at the school.


Chenla Saiman, vice principal

Chenla Saiman was appointed interim vice principal of The Cambodia Academy on May 1, 2021 and was promoted to vice principal in November 2021. Chenla is a graduate of The Cambodia Academy and the first in her family to graduate from university. She was most recently a teacher at the school, and we are very excited that one of our own graduates is now in a leadership role at the school.


Sa Sok, operations manager

Reaksa "Sa" Sok was appointed full-time operations manager in January, 2021. He reports directly to the board and is responsible for managing all non-academic affairs on campus, including overseeing maintenance and building projects, monitoring and reporting expenses, managing cafeteria staff and other services, and providing detailed communications to the board.

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