Here’s a direct way you can change a life in Cambodia.


The young man photographed above comes from a poor rural community where family incomes of less than $US50 dollars per month are not uncommon. With this background no matter how bright the student is at high school, university is out of reach. In a real sense, poverty is passed on from generation to generation.

Well, for this student the cycle has been broken thanks to a simply managed realistic university scholarship run by a local school in Bakong, Cambodia and supported by sponsors overseas – practical people who commit what adds up to ‘coffee money’ to ensure bright students can reach their potential. Once these students win a good graduate job (in Cambodia less than 3% of adults have a degree – compared with 26% in the USA) then they will help their family. Your gift keeps on  giving.

If you would like to sponsor a University Scholarship student to cover enrolment, living allowance, transport this costs just $US80 a month, and we have set up a SPONSOR arrangement that will bill you automatically each month for this amount – with a limit of 24 months. (For your security.)

You have the right, of course, to cancel donations if your circumstances change – but this is a great way to set up a significant support system for a rural student in Cambodia.

Click on the Logo to take yourself through to PayPal and the $US80 per month, ongoing subscription.
Click on the Logo to take yourself through to PayPal and the $US80 per month, ongoing subscription.
  • For further information feel free to write to me: Duncan Stuart at
  • All donations are receipted – they are lodged into the registered New Zealand charity Cambodian Rural Schools Trust
  • PayPal is secure
  • All funds, apart from a small transfer fee, go to the project. We do not incur marketing or admin expenses.


Exam time at Savong’s School


The stress of exams. The pressure to do well. A number of students here will win a Savong School 4-Year University Scholarship as a result of their hard work.

Examinations were held this last week at rural-based Savong’s School – just ahead of the Cambodian Pchum Ben holidays in which families honour their ancestors. Many children took part in the exams which are held to an officially recognised standard thanks to input from a local university and authorization by the Ministry of Education. For the senior Grade 12 students these examination provide the opportunity to gain a full four year university scholarship and laptop computer so there is a lot at stake here.

Results will be announced in late October after the Pchum Ben holiday season, which of course means plenty of marking for the teachers. Good luck everyone!

Naturally, if you’re reading this and wish to find a truly amazing way to support a student to realise their dreams and potential, you’re invited to take part in this programme.

The ethics of gifting


I had a very thoughtful piece of feedback today from a woman whose opinion I greatly trust and admire. Lori works with the brilliant Ponheary Ly Foundation in Siem Reap, and she has immersed herself in Cambodia and in the business, if I may call it that, of promoting and funding a worthwhile cause. The PLF is one of the most efficient, ethical NGOs that I know of in Cambodia, and if Ponheary Ly or Lori Carlson raise a point of discussion, well these are two people who are expert in their field, realistic in their approach and focused 100% on the cause of education for disadvantaged children in Cambodia.

Lori very politely asked me if I’d thought through the ramifications of yesterday’s posting about collecting good used laptops and distributing these to needy students in Cambodia.

Here are two downsides she raised. And I can add more.

1) Imagine you were the up and coming retailer in Siem Reap setting up in the laptop retailing business. Suddenly, an overseas organisation dumps product into your market.  Where instead of purchasing locally, and having that money largely spin around the Cambodian economy, we help put a nail into the side of the local family business.

2) The economy of shipping used laptops to Cambodia is less impressive than you might first guess. Between collection, packing and then shipping the value depreciates – but used laptops will also attract sizeable duty in Cambodia also. (We found that with books three eyars ago – even second-hand books.)

Good points. I can add another downside. Supposed we give a laptop in good faith and, used baby that it is, it fails or has problems.  Could the poor Cambodian student afford the repairs? Are we giving a gift, or a burden?

The discussion is a good one.  After all, the concept of world aid has moved a long way from the sending of used blankets to flood victims overseas.  Every gifting dollar needs to add value to the recipient – the individual, their family, their village and ultimately their nation.

I’ve always felt that education, per se, is one of the most socially beneficial and efficient gifts we can can offer – but just as I point out to visitors that bringing felt tips from overseas is quite needless (you can get them cheaper in Siem Reap, and you support local enterprise) then Lori’s point about bringing in laptops is precisely the same.

Time for me to go back, have a think and to better develop my thinking around the gifting of capital items.  Thank you Lori.

Meanwhile, lest I cause any confusion, let me point out that the Laptops awarded to scholarship students last month were all purchased in Siem Reap – brand new, and I dare say at a price cheaper than you could find in Singapore. Win, win, win.

Here’s a project we’re working on this year – Laptops for Cambodia



Each year big corporations and Government agencies turn over a large number of laptops – renewing machines for key staff, or aligning their stock so that all staff are on the same system. Of course some laptops simply slow down and die. No, we’re not interested in those ones.

But we are interested in laptops that have some good life left in them, and host a recent version of Windows – from XP forward. 

Cambodian students represent a burgeoning group who need laptops for their studies and while brand new laptops are ideal, there are no complaints so long as the laptop is in good working order.  Do you know an organisation that is replacing its fleet of laptops?  If so, drop us a note and we might be able to organise something. 

Savong School in Cambodia knows several students – and sister NGOs – through whom we can distribute laptops for those in genuine need. 

Laptop Day for the Savong School Scholarship Students

Eight of the Savong School scholarship winners – today they each received a new laptop. Their parents were invited to celebrate.

Friday March 15th was a blue-sky day for the latest intake of University Scholarship students at Savong’s School. Under the scholarship scheme these students are supported in four ways:

  1. Enrolment fees are paid for them for four years – intermediate plus three Bachelors years.
  2. A living allowance is granted each month to help them cover their living expenses and for books and stationery. It is important that these students not feel like a financial drag on their families.
  3. Transport into town each day to Angkor University.
  4. A laptop computer – as required by the University.

To be honest, our fundraising had lagged last year, but this last month a very generous supporter made a donation that enabled us to buy a laptop for each of the students, and to cover their living costs and enrolment fees for another year. The gift gives us time to fundraise while providing continuity for the students.

At the Laptop ceremony the students were invited to bring their parents and this was a considerate move by Savong. Family is, or course, an especially important unit in Khmer society, and this was a chance to celebrate the success of these families: proud parents of the student children.

In the photo below is student Chorm Thea, age 22, and his dad on the left, a farmer who has grown up in extremely tough times. Chorm Thea is one of 6 children, and it is likely that once he gets his degree (these students are hard workers) he will then support his brothers and sisters through University as well.

In this fashion, the gift of a scholarship reaps tremendous returns in Cambodia, assisting not only the bright students who shine in the annual exams, but also their families and their villages.

The giving isn’t all one way either. While doing their studies, these students also do some tuition, mentoring and other duties around the school.


Student Chorm Thea and his dad, on the left, receive a brand new laptop as part of our scholarship commitment.

Laptop Ceremony planned for Scholarship Students


Today I spoke to Savong and activated a transfer of funds to the school account in Cambodia so that the laptop computers, required of the 9 new scholarship students now they are at university, can be purchased.

Savong was very excited and plans a ceremony to celebrate the laptops, so that the students – and their parents – are duly honoured.  And that honour also goes, of course, to the donor who made the gift possible.

We will post photos as soon as ceremony takes place: we think within a week.