Our goal is to work in existing public schools rather than building our own private programs. There is no need to re-invent the wheel when there are already schools in place that are hungry for training and resources. We believe that the best way to create true sustainability is through working with school administrators and village leaders to build the capacity of the school to run on its own. This comes hand in hand with fostering the dedication of the community to support those efforts. We target schools in rural areas where the majority of the community is living in poverty and where most of the adults have lost the value of education through decades of war. Additionally, these schools are in fair proximity to Temples, where the allure of going out to work selling trinkets to tourists is greater than the allure of attending a poorly managed school lacking resources. In these areas where there is no push to go to school, our efforts are focused on creating a pull.
TCHEY Primary School
Tchey Primary School has over 1,000 students studying in grades K-6. The base of our support at Tchey comes from supplying 500 of those students in need with supplies and uniforms at the beginning of each school year. We also provide Microsoft Office courses, robotic legos, supplementary English courses, solar power, a bicycle distribution for graduating 6th graders, ukulele club, chess club, and a secondary school scholarship program.
KOH KER Primary School
Koh Ker Primary School is in rural Preah Vihear Province near the ancient temple complex of Koh Ker. The school is in one the areas hit hardest by decades of conflict. When PLF arrived at the school in 2006, the 40 students attending Grades 1-3 were about the only healthy ones in their village. Today, we’ve expanded the school to Grade 6 for more than 130 students and in 2016 added a kindergarten. In the beginning, students started coming to school because of the health benefits of the PLF breakfast program. Today, we’ve expanded the programs at Koh Ker to include English classes, a library, and all-you-can-eat lunches three times a month. Graduates of Koh Ker live at PLF’s dormitory project in Srayang so that they can continue to secondary school . To learn more about these students and this area, watch our student documentary, Sunflowers of Srayang.
ROMCHEK Primary School
Romchek Primary School is 25km from Koh Ker and has just over 200 students studying in Grades 1-6. We began supplying uniforms and schools supplies in the beginning of 2015, and the following fall we launched a lunch program and English courses, and built a clean water system, an office building for the teachers, and a new kitchen area. We are still in the process of assessing the needs in Romchek and are working to build the school up to the same level of academic achievement as Koh Ker. Graduates of Romchek live at PLF’s dorm project in Srayang so that they can continue to secondary school.
WAT BO Primary School
Wat Bo Primary School is an urban school in Siem Reap with over 6,000 students in grades K-6. It is one of the most highly developed public schools in the country and does not require PLF support. Our project at Wat Bo involves providing access to this excellent school to over 600 students who otherwise would be unable to attend because of the requirement that they provide their own uniforms and school supplies. Bicycles are also provided to graduating 6th graders and those students are followed by us along their journey through secondary school. PLF also provides internet services to the school to compliment their existing computer classes as well as participates with the community in facility development of the campus.
KHNAR VILLAGE Learning Center
There has only been one situation in the history of our organization where working outside of the school created a more favorable approach. The Khnar Village Learning Center is a PLF Project that supports more than 100 students currently studying at Khnar Primary School and graduates who have continued on to Secondary and High School. Our program at the KVLC includes English, Science, IT, and Ukulele classes, Chess Club, Arts & Crafts, and a health station to meet the basic first aid needs of our students. We have also recently begun our first Adult Education Program at the KVLC, which provides a wide range of workshops on topics like domestic violence, family planning, and human rights to parents of PLF Students.
SRAYANG Secondary School Dormitory
Srayang Dormitory is located 100km northeast of Siem Reap. It is home to the graduates of Koh Ker and Romchek Primary Schools, for whom the nearest secondary school is more than 15km away. The dorm is under the careful watch of field director Sothea and Sieng Ry, who singlehandedly brought education to her village as the only educated woman in the area after the war. The students at this dorm are the first in their villages to complete a secondary school education (Grades 7-9). Those who successfully finish their education move to our dormitories in Siem Reap whether for vocational education or to pursue their high school diploma. Of those who have chosen to continue formal education, 100% have continued through to university. These students are the hope of their communities; their hard work pays off in better salaries and career trajectories all of which is the biggest factor in lifting their communities out of poverty.
SIEM REAP BOYS & GIRLS High School Dormitory
We have two urban dormitories for high school students located just outside the center of Siem Reap city; one for boys and one for girls. Students from Srayang who complete secondary school with high scores can continue onto the urban dorms in Siem Reap, along with other students supported by PLF that come from areas across the country where there are no opportunities for upper level education. The need for student housing in urban areas is particularly large because the High Schools of good quality in Cambodia are located exclusively in cities. As a result of this scarcity, students will send themselves to the cities to enroll in school and do their best to make ends meet, often by working night jobs or other unsafe forms of employment. The urban dormitories in Siem Reap remove these pressures by providing safe housing, access to high school, as well as supplementary English and computer classes and a wide array of workshops.
Read more about our Residential Housing program here.
Our office is located on the ground floor of Seven Candles Guesthouse, which is run and owned by Ponheary’s family. The guesthouse also houses a computer laboratory for urban PLF students and a training room for workshops. When we’re not out at school, this is where the rest of the action happens!