I met Vanessa on a study abroad program in China in the summer 2007. She is currently the founder of The Cambodia Education Fund. She has been such an inspiration to me, that one person can have such a large impact on the community. That is the reason why I would like share her experience. In the next few months, I plan to visit Cambodia and to follow up on her project in person.
Everyday children around the world of all ages are sent out to beg or work instead of attending school. In Cambodia, who can blame them when it costs $0.25-0.75 to attend and the average family’s income is $1.00 per day. This is the norm in Siem Reap, a city full of tourist seeing the infamous Angkor Wat. Children approach tourists to sell postcards, beg for small change, and when all else fails simply ask for some food.
I was one of these tourists, and as much as I enjoyed Angkor Wat, it was the children of Siem Reap that truly captivated me. A further look into the country and I learned about the violent dictatorship that killed two million people just over 30 years ago. As alarming as this recent genocide was, Cambodian people remain the most welcoming and compassionate that I have ever encountered.
Right now, Cambodia needs help. Many people send food or clothes, but with an extremely young population, I see education as the only viable means for change. There are many NGO schools in place ready to educate these children and even offer reverse tuition. I have found two that I find exceptional in the poorest slum of Siem Reap, which you can read about through links on this website.
The Cambodia Education Fund’s goal is to not only raise money, but to raise awareness on the lack of education in third world countries and how this basic need can make a huge difference. My goal is to raise $10,000 by the end of the year and for more people to know and care about the amazing country, Cambodia. Please read more about the specific programs I hope to fund.
Mission Statement: The Cambodia Education Fund endorses the idea that education is a child’s right, and is also the key to ending the cycle of poverty. The Cambodia Education Fund provides funds to proficient non-profit schools, individuals with the desire to attend primary, secondary and post-secondary education, educational-oriented orphanages and other educational disciplines. The Cambodia Education Fund fosters learning and academic excellence by working with local educators and school administrators to ensure children receive access to education.