Just a ten-minute bike ride from PLF Offices is a dormitory called Bamboo Shoots, that houses twenty young women struggling on their own to complete 12th grade. These girls have come to Siem Reap from rural villages to attend high school and complete their education. Following the departure of the NGO that set up their housing and previously supported them, PLF has stepped in to help these girls finish the school year.

PLF volunteers assist the girls in preparation for their English final exam and scholarship applications for university.

Everyday the girls attend high school, return to the dormitory to prepare meals, complete homework, and attend English class. PLF is currently providing dinner for the girls five nights a week and volunteer teachers. The PLF program includes English lessons taught by volunteers from Learning Enterprises, Gillian White and Brooke Heinichen, as well as a life skills, leadership, and women’s empowerment program taught by Loren Hyatt.

Despite their struggles and their difficult living situation, these girls are dedicated to completing high school. Many of them have come to Siem Reap from villages far away and only see their families a few times a year. However, they know that education is important and will do what it takes to graduate.

PLF volunteers bike to the dormitory nightly to provide food and supplemental English lessons.

In an assignment on the importance of education, one of the students, Sophy, wrote:

“Education is very important for people like us. It helps us to get a good job and occupation. It’s important for life in the future. It helps our country to become developed. It helps our people to become good citizens that respect the laws of the government. It helps the family to be efficient for business. We can have development of industry.”

In addition to teachers and dinner, PLF is supporting a computer training program at the dorm, including books and salaries for the teachers. Brooke Heinichen and visitor and volunteer George Harding worked in the dormitory’s computer lab to ensure that the equipment was ready for the girls’ use. The students have been learning the basics of operating a computer as well as Microsoft Office Suite. These skills will be invaluable upon graduating from high school.

In the future PLF hopes to continue to support to the girl’s dormitory. While the current group is graduating in August, PLF would like the house to be a place where more girls from rural areas can come to live, attend school, and learn English and other important skills.

If you have questions about the girls dormitory program or are interested in making a donation to support the 12th grade girls or future programs, please contact Lori Carlson at [email protected].

Article by Loren Hyatt