Many impoverished children in rural Cambodia don’t have access to money to buy uniforms and their school supplies in order to attend primary school. The Ponheary Ly Foundation provides these “school bundles” to children who would otherwise not be going to school.
Ponheary Ly Foundation was started after the fall of Khmer Rouge Regime. Ponheary, who comes from a family of teachers was working as a tourist guide at that time. She saw the need to educate the children who were abandoning school in favour of begging tourists for money. Ponheary began to persuade the tourists to support children at school rather than on the street.
The Ponheary Ly Foundation is a registered non-profit organization in the USA whose goal is to locate and serve the many children in Cambodia who live in the poorest rural villages and do not have access to equitable educational opportunities.
The schools supported are already established government schools with Khmer teachers. Ponheary Ly Foundation simply supports the schools that already exist in their villages, and provides an opportunity for all children to attend.
In 2014, PAWA donated £4891 as a start-up cost to support a girls media class. Each girl got to access computers, learn how to use them, access the internet and made documentary videos of their lives. Their first video, The Sunflowers of Strayang, tells the story of the struggle girls undergo in Cambodia to finish school. 540 girls benefited from this project which is now completely self-sufficient.
In 2015, PAWA funded £6449 for 32 girls to live in a boarding house. This helped the girls stay in school whilst creating a community environment with after-school activities in order to keep track of them.
In 2016, PAWA increased the funding to £11,419 to support the whole boarding house which houses 50 girls.
In 2017 Ponheary ran into difficulties with the government who owned the dormitory and the decision was made to move to a smaller independent dormitory completely owned and run by Ponheary. 17 girls lived in the dormitory and were able to benefit from more classes, workshops and English lessons with a native English speaker. PAWA continued to support Ponheary through this traumatic transition by donating £12,362.
PAWA is continuing to support Ponheary in 2018 with £9,000 for 19 girls to have English lessons, computer classes and workshops on vital issues such as hygiene, domestic violence, leadership and financial planning.