Voices From The Field
March 28, 2024

A few days ago, I was talking with Mike, a good friend and a generous supporter of our work. Mike asked me a lot of questions. Some really good questions. He wanted to know more about what was happening with our work – on the ground – in country. As our conversation continued it occurred to me that others might also be interested. That led to the notion of periodic newsletters – each one focusing on just one of our NGO partners – and highlighting the work they are doing. What you are receiving today is the first of a regular monthly publication I’m calling “Voices From The Field”. Feel free to give me some feedback. It’s always welcomed.

Phnom Kulen (mountain of the lychees) is a high plateau located about two hours northeast of Siem Reap city. Now a National Park, it’s a special place in Cambodian history. It’s also one of the most impoverished areas in all of Siem Reap province, with a population of 4,500 people struggling to create a life in eight remote villages.

It’s a challenge for these folks to raise a family and survive in this isolated area. They are also endangering a mostly unexplored, pre-Angkorean archeological site dating back to 800 AD. Fortunately, our NGO partner, Archeological Development Foundation (ADF), led by my good friend JB Chevance, is well established on the mountain and continues to directly address the challenges there.

Huge among those challenges is education. The entire region has only six rudimentary primary schools and one secondary school. The nearest high school is down off the mountain, miles away and out of reach. I’ve been to this region several times for a first-hand look. I’ve visited these schools personally. I understand the daunting challenges they face.

We’ve partnered successfully with ADF to improve education opportunities on Kulen for the past five years. I’m happy to report that now, with another $25,000 partnership grant from our SE Asia Foundation, JB and his outstanding team at ADF, are expanding their work to tackle more of these educational needs.
Here’s what’s happening now . . . in their own words . . .

We are excited to announce the start of a new project for the next 3 years, supported by SE Asia Foundation to enhance Phnom Kulen schools. With the technical support of Sipar Cambodia, our ADF team, and all the teachers are now setting up 7 upgraded libraries in Anlong Thom (primary and secondary schools), and Popel, Khlah Khmum, Sangke Lak, Ta Penh, and Phum Thmey primary schools.

Here are the new library shelves arriving

Here we are now sorting and labeling the new books

Exciting to see our beautiful new library shelves

Happy to see them so full of new books

This current project will also upgrade the level of English teaching in 4 of these schools.
Under the supervision of Samry and our recently recruited English teacher, Lihieng, this project will benefit more than 980 children (including 494 girls) and 35 teachers from Khnong Phnom Commune.

We’re really proud to partner with JB, Samry, and the ADF Team, working together to improve education for all those marginalized kids on Kulen Mountain

If you’re interested in knowing about the work that our other Cambodian NGO partners are doing in service to those most in need, you can click here.

Life is good — at least for some of us it is
Others need a bit of help
Together we can provide exactly that

At the SE Asia Foundation we do not simply “help” people
We Help People Help Themselves
That is our focus
That is our commitment
That is where our actions show up

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