Cambodia is a captivating travel destination for the more adventurous explorer. The locals being some of the most generous and compassionate people greeted during a trip is a common story often spoken amongst travellers.
Sadly though, it’s almost certain that every Cambodian greeted will have a genocide story, whether their own or that of a family member. And though they may not tell you their story, the here and now of their survival through it all is always in the background.
During the genocide, targeted attacks against teachers left Cambodia with a shattered education system. Over the last 40 years hundreds of international organisations flooded in with the promise to build and develop the broken country. Most organisations may have had the best intentions, yet the growth of shiny new SUV’s on city streets with millions still living under the poverty line highlighted a huge problem. A top down approach to development and lack of transparency was just not working.
locally-led organisations had to be part of the development process. And it is this reason that we support SCAO (Save Children in Asia Organisation).
SCAO is a grassroots organisation established by Mr & Mrs Sameth in 2007. Since then, SCAO has built 3 educational centres providing free English and computer classes and delivering programs to people in the local villages of Som Roung and Prey Ponror, communities that were determined to be the most at need of their services.
At the time of this writing, the centre based in Som Roung has been closed down. In response to these changes, our Sponsor a Teacher program will now make way for an expanded program to support SCAO through the tools identified to have the greatest impact on the communities they support.
35% of Cambodian’s are still living in poverty (1). Lack of employment opportunities and limited access to clean water and decent sanitation remain the biggest challenges. SCAO have identified two solutions. Firstly, investing in English education creates more confident students to pursue further education and seek careers with greater financial stability. Secondly, the delivery of community development services targeting priority needs such as access to clean water and sanitary to improve health and wellbeing.