Following a visit to Cambodia in July 2012 a small donation allowed free English lessons to commence for students at a temple at Kok Beng Village near Siem Reap. On our return to Australia we decided we wanted to offer the same opportunity to more rural Cambodian children.
With the help of the Phillip Island community we raised sufficient funds to construct a school building at Oroluos Village, also near Siem Reap. The Oroluos school opened on December 12, 2012.
A Cambodian Non Government Organisation (NGO) – Growing Cambodia Organization – was established and now holds an official licence to operate three schools at Kok Beng, Oroluos and Beng villages – Beng school having opened on 6 June 2016.
Growing Cambodia Inc, an Australian non-profit entity, was set up to assist in fundraising and promoting volunteer participation at the schools.
In December 2014 a partnership was entered into between the Ministry of Education, the primary and secondary schools at Koy Meng in the Banteay Meanchey Province and Growing Cambodia Inc. Over 580 primary and secondary students attend these government schools. With the infrastructure already in place our organisation contributes funds to help improve the quality of education through the provision of art materials, stationery, pens, library books, computers as well as other teaching aids.
Our ultimate goal is for these villages to become self sufficient with an improved quality of life for the whole of the village. This involves not only education, training and the development of skills that provide opportunities for higher incomes but also includes better health care, clean drinking water and a sustainable environment for the villages.
Once this has been achieved we hope our model can be used in other rural villages throughout Cambodia.