With October rolling around schools in Cambodia wrap-up the academic year with exams prior to the annual Pchum Ben holiday which marks a time of thanksgiving to one’s ancestors, and also the change of seasons. This time of year produces trepidation for local students as well: it is exam time.
For the past three years we have awarded the top Grade 12 students at Savong’s School a full scholarship to University in town, 14 kms away. The scholarship is well designed to respect the real needs and realities facing university students from the rural community.
They normally face four significant barriers to taking part in university courses.
- The barrier of money. Enrolment fees (around $450 per annum over 4 years,) are actually higher than some families manager to earn over 12 months. By providing fees and a required laptop, we overcome the primary hurdles.
- Transport into town each day. Fuel and transport are relatively costly in Cambodia and so we provide the scholarship students from Bakong a daily ride into University and home again. For some families this frees up the family 50cc motorbike so it can be used for other duties.
- Living allowance. Enrolment fees alone don’t adequately support a university student throughout the year, and so we pay a modest $45-50 per month to help cover living expenses and to ensure the student isn’t draining resources from their family. By being self-sufficient they are under much less pressure at home in terms of ‘pulling their weight.’
- Structure and support. Cambodian students are highly motivated, but homes are not well designed for the needs of a student who needs access to wifi, and space to quietly study. Our scholarships ensure that the students have access to the school facilities – study space – as well as the support of their peers and predecessors. The Bakong scholarship students get on well and support each other.
University studies take place in the mornings in Siem Reap, and in the afternoons the students travel back to Savong’s School where they undertake duties including some teaching. Their presence provides an element of mentorship for the younger students. Also their progress is tracked, and we we keep an eye out for any health issues (for example one student needed glasses which we paid for.)
Now here’s where you can assist. Averaged out over a four year period (the minimum under the Cambodian degree system) the scholarship adds up, in western terms, to that classic measure: one take-out coffee per day or $US 20 per week.
We are looking for 5 additional sponsors to help support the latest scholarship winners whose names will be announced shortly. This is a tremendous opportunity to give effectively and to ensure that your gift really does get results. Armed with a degree, these students will be able to transform the lives of their families. Your gift has a real multiplier effect.
You’d like to find out more. Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Or a quick link to PayPal – to set up a 24 month x $US80 sponsorship. BE A SUPPORTER RIGHT HERE.