2017 Project Focus: Education in Cambodia

In the rural countryside of northwest Cambodia is a village called Sokhem. The people of Sokhem and the surrounding communities continue to face significant social and economic hardship decades after the brutal genocide by the Khmer Rouge. Extreme poverty and human trafficking are rampant in the isolated villages along the border between Cambodia and Thailand. 

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Our friends at Love Without Boundaries (LWB) have seen the devastating effects of the war. Without significant economic opportunities in Cambodia, the adults in most families cross the border into Thailand to work, leaving children behind to fend for themselves. Older siblings care for younger siblings in their parents’ absence. Not only are the older children unable to attend school, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation. Cambodia has the highest child labor rates in southeast Asia. Sex trafficking and child marriage are also significant problems.

We believe that every child in this region deserves the most basic rights of good nutrition, medical care, and education. Statistically and anecdotally we know that educating children, especially girls, is crucial to lifting communities out of poverty.

Provided by Love Without Boundaries

Provided by Love Without Boundaries

Since 2003, LWB has been working in vulnerable communities in China and Uganda, building “Believe in Me” schools. As they looked to expand their programs, Cambodia seemed a perfect fit to implement a holistic community program that provides nutrition, healthcare, education, and childcare. Children receive a hot meal while at school, preventing malnutrition and stunting, and urgent medical needs like infections, burns, and dog bites are treated. Villagers nearby are now selling vegetables from their gardens to the school nutrition program, so creating educational opportunity has also boosted the local economy.

LWB has opened two primary schools in Cambodia so far.  When they first made a commitment to the children of Sokhem Village, only 8% of the 118 children there were getting an education.  As soon as the school doors opened, over 60 new children enrolled.  But many more are prevented from attending because they are the primary caregivers for their younger siblings.

Here’s where Somebody’s Mama comes in.

LWB wants to build a “sibling school” in Sokhem. The sibling school will serve the infants and toddlers of working mothers, many of whom leave home to cross into Thailand well before first light and don’t return until late in the evening. This care center will allow the older children to attend school fulltime and will also provide the babies with much needed nutrition. An alarming 75% of the children in this village suffer from chronic malnutrition. Not only that, but the sibling school will also provide employment to seven women in the area—a director, four caregivers, and two aides.

Provided by Love Without Boundaries

Provided by Love Without Boundaries

We have committed to raising $14,320—approximately half of what it will take to build the sibling school. LWB will be covering the cost of the land, the foundation, and the iron roof. We’ll be covering the rest. What does that look like? 

$10 = one brick and transportation costs (1,200 bricks needed)

$20 = one door (6 doors needed)

$150 = signs

$250 = paint

$300 = electricity

$500 = toilets

$1000 = water tank (or 10 friends give $100 each!)

Because LWB is the only NGO working in the area, we have the ability to affect real and unique change in an underserved region. We have an immense amount of respect for the work LWB has done around the world to improve the lives of vulnerable communities, and we are honored to partner with them on this new venture in Cambodia.

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Want to donate to the Sokhem Sibling School project?