What we do.
As a team of working volunteers, we strive to carry on the vision of Hans Eide, who founded the school in 2004 to provide an education to poor Cambodian children whose families could not afford to send them to school.
A lot has improved in Cambodia in the past 15 years, but the development and growth in the cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap has largely bypassed the countryside, where the need is still great.
Q: Why does this school exist?
Many children in Cambodia do not have access to nearby schools, and often drop out due to economic pressures. Their parents may not be able to get them to a school, or they may not be able to afford the uniform expenses and other costs required by public schools. The scholarships our donors provide take care of everything—tuition, uniforms, food, and transportation.
Beyond that, we provide a high-quality Khmer and English-based education. English skills in particular are critical to success in Cambodia. Our vice principal is the liaison with the provincial and governmental education authorities to ensure that we are exceeding curriculum requirements and are reporting results in a timely manner.
Q. How are students selected to attend the school?
The only criterion is that the student is confirmed to be too poor to attend public school. We have an intake session each year in which first graders and their families are interviewed by our principal. We are only able to admit approximately 25-30% of the students who apply.
Q. How is the school funded?
We are a 501c3 charitable organization that is based in Burlingame, California. We were originally funded largely through Rotary International grants and several Rotary clubs. We are now funded primarily through the generosity of individual donors and some individual Rotary clubs in Norway, Thailand and the USA. The volunteer board takes no percentage of donations for expenses, and in fact provides additional financial support to the operation of the school. Except for nominal IT and support expenses, all donations are passed through for the use of the school.
Q. What kind of sponsorship opportunities are there?
Many of our donors choose to sponsor students on an ongoing basis. The sponsorships include tuition, uniforms, two meals a day, and, if needed, transportation to the school. Many other donors choose to donate to the general fund, where money is used in the area of greatest need.
Q. What makes your school different?
We are located in a rural area of Cambodia where the need is great. We focus on providing a quality education for both boys and girls, and our academic results are recognized by national and provincial education ministries. We are becoming well known in the province for our healthy student body, since we offer two routine meals each school day. Some of our faculty speak English, and we have frequent volunteers on campus who interact with the students in English, which provides them with the opportunity to gain a skill that will improve their career prospects and lives.
Q. Why did you choose Cambodia for the school?
Beginning with the first visit by Hans Eide and John Barrett in the early 2000s, the founders and volunteers of the school have each been moved by the spirit and kindness of the Cambodian people. For generations, the country has faced and endured war, repression and the lingering danger of landmines. We want to help the poorest children of Cambodia, and we believe in the words of Nelson Mandela: "Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world."
Q. How is the school viewed by local Cambodian authorities?
The local officials in the village of Mongkol Borei and the province of Banteay Meanchey have been very helpful and supportive of our efforts.
Q. With the passing of the founder, Hans Eide, in 2015, how is the school managed?
We have built on the foundation Hans started and strive to honor his vision. Our board has expanded from three members to ten, and we meet on a monthly conference call to discuss school business, fundraising, projects, student outreach, IT issues, and other topics necessary to keep the school running.
We have focused on creating repeatable processes that will provide a foundation for growth of the organization. Board members make frequent visits to the school to check on operations and to interact with the faculty and students.
Q. What does the future hold for the school?
Our future is bright! We are looking into how we can extend the reach of the school and are exploring a number of programs, including a comprehensive system to track graduates, and launching a college scholarship program. We are also looking into formalizing our vision and dental outreach programs, expanding the art program, and adding a computer/IT program. Our ability to add additional programs and someday potentially open another campus is dependent on our ability to raise and sustain donations.