Archaeology Development Foundation (ADF)

ADF is an organization based in Siem Reap and working on Kulen Mountain – home to the ancient, pre-Angkorean civilization – about a two hour drive from Siem Reap. (Kulen Mountain was also one of the last strongholds of the terrible Khmer Rouge regime.)

This is a very poor area of Cambodia. Very poor. Accordingly, ADF works on two fronts:

  • Exploring and preserving the ancient ruins from as far back as 900 AD, and
  • Community development for the people living in the nine villages on the mountain.
By successfully helping the people to more sustainable lives, they are also able to better protect and preserve this priceless history of ancient Cambodia.
ADF’s primary focus is on education, right in line with our mission. Over the past two years we have worked with the founder and Executive Director of ADF, Jean-Baptiste Chevance, and his fine team of community development professionals. Together we have made significant improvements in two of the local village primary schools, namely Sangke Lak (124 kids) and Khlah Khmum (95 kids). It’s not easy to get there. Here’s the best road in to these villages.
The road to the Archaeology Foundation school
Archaeology Foundation sign
During this time we have built two new classroom buildings, refurbished existing buildings, added a library, provided new desks and chairs, built a store room, improved water systems, funded perimeter fencing for both properties, provided trees and other plantings to stabilize the terrain and provide shade, and various other improvements all aimed at helping these kids get an education in these very challenging circumstances.
Here are a couple of the classrooms we funded, along with the desks being built on-site.
Archaeology Foundation new classrooms
Archaeology Foundation classroom
Desks at Archaeology Foundation
We also built a library. Here’s a look outside and inside.
Archaeology Foundation library building
Archaeology Foundation library books

We’ve also helped with the water system. We’ve all heard stories about large INGOs* doing what they think is important. Here’s another example of that. These toilets were provided by one of those organizations (I think it was USAID). They did “toilets”. They did not do “water”. Incredible! Well, now water is piped in and the job is finished. The kids can actually use the toilets. And, to add to the bargain, now they have a first-rate WASH station also.

Archaeology Foundation toilets
Archaeology Foundation wash station
This represents significant progress, but there is still a lot of work to be done to get the education opportunities for these kids up to a marginally acceptable level. For example, there is only one secondary school on the mountain for all nine villages. Simply getting there is a major challenge in this area of no paved roads, merely dirt trails.

We’re currently working with JB and the team to develop some pragmatic plans for moving ahead with helping the kids from the two schools in Sangke Lak and Khlah Khmum. Without this help their education will simply finish at grade 6. No further opportunities. Imagine what life will be like for these kids when their education ends at grade 6 – if they even get that far.

We’re working on that. I’ve already promised this girl about to graduate from grade 6 a bicycle so she can get to the secondary school. Two more years and her sister will need one also. That has to be part of our future plans. Otherwise, education for these kids ends right here – at grade 6. We can’t let that happen.
Girl at Archaeology Foundation with Bill Taylor
Two girls at Archaeology Foundation

During our upcoming visit in January 2020 we’ll be exploring ideas for making some improvements to the secondary school to accommodate these kids, and starting a bicycle program in the two villages so the kids will have a way to get to the new school. This way, the 45-minute to one-hour walk can be reduced to about 20 minutes – if we can also make some improvements to the trails they will need to ride.

Still working on the budget for all of this, but one thing for sure. We’ll need some more funding and would welcome your support.
Just click here and let us know to direct your donations to ADF.

* International Non-Governmental Organizations