Step2Foundation works to bring quality primary school education to disadvantaged children in Cambodia
The Step2Foundation project began when Zeynep Roberts (foundation founder) met a local tour guide Soviet Ty in 2012, whilst working on a project with Cambodian Children’s Trust (a Non-profit NGO group).
Soviet, a young man articulate in English and with a keen interest in helping his community, convinced Zeynep to visit his village situated approx. 20kms East of Siem Reap. His dream was to develop an English school for the primary school children.
Soviet’s intense passion was born out of his belief and personal experience that education is the only way to break the poverty cycle and to create opportunities for employment and financial security. This belief drove his persistence to find the right person to support his cause. After Zeynep visited the village and experienced first hand the enthusiasm of the children in very difficult conditions with limited resources, she knew at once that it was much more than just developing an English class. It was about building an entire new school and a school community.
There and then, Zeynep committed to Soviet that she would help the village and the school. The support of her family and friends in the initial two years was invaluable, especially Zeynep’s sister Kamuran, who also worked and contributed to the project. In the initial stage, the school was fully renovated and building was completed for an English classroom and two further classroom foundations. The cost of the project was fully funded by Zeynep and her family.
In order to expand the projects and ensure their sustainability Zeynep knew the importance of creating a registered foundation which would include the support and expertise of a dedicated wider team. As a result, Step2Foundation was born and registered in April 2015.
The current team includes four Foundation Directors and two Local Operations Facilitators.
Zeynep Roberts – Foundation Director
A mentor, trainer, teacher and academic, Zeynep is dedicated to social development changes in disadvantaged communities. Her passion and vision enables others to contribute to establishing and supporting projects both in developing countries and at home in Australia. Zeynep has also led workshops with NGOs to develop their strategic direction and purpose in Cambodia.
Colin Wilson-Brown – Director
Colin’s insight into business management has been honed during a long and successful career in advertising and consulting. His experience at senior management level in international and domestic businesses brings to the team a unique talent for effective relationships with local and international stakeholders.
“My involvement with Step2Foundation as a Director was inspired by Zeynep’s determination to make a difference and I am happy to be able to help the gentle and long suffering Cambodian people, for whom education will be their road out of poverty”.
Jan Tai – Director & Secretary
Jan brings diverse and extensive professional and personal knowledge to the Step2Foundation in her role as a Director. Her commitment to social change from the grassroots is strengthened by skills in training, operations, fundraising, finance and strategic planning. In addition, Jan has experienced both living and working in the developing world, giving her a sound understanding of the numerous challenges that inequity can present to marginalised communities. Jan is passionate about ensuring the Step2Foundation strategy is well aligned to the needs of the community and its members.
Paul Kerr – Director
A Professional Conference and Event organiser, Paul has worked with a diverse range of clients and suppliers within Australia and Overseas for more than 20 years, motivating teams and building results through relationships. “My involvement with Step 2 foundation, began in 2016 when asked by friend and ex business associate Zeynep, to help stage the Foundations ‘Human Spirit’ Charity Dinner”. The Event was a success raising enough money to fully fund a second water filtration system for Svaychey Village in Cambodia – a game changer for the whole community.
“Previous charity work with a Cancer agency has inspired me to continue to help those in need, and Step 2 Foundation is such a worthy cause because every child does deserve a right to an education, and indeed education is the only way to break the poverty cycle in Cambodia”
Ty Soviet Local Operations
Soviet utilises his talent and skills in English language, tourism, and business relations to actively help his community. His dedication to building an education program to support change and improve outcomes in Svaychey is evident in his accomplishments to date. Soviet works tirelessly to achieve his dream of helping the people in his village.
Sok Nhung Teacher
Here is a message from our English Teacher …
“…our school is prospering and students are coming to study every day. I added more hours in the evening from 1.30 pm to 7.00 pm to cater for additional students who want to learn English. I am very happy to see each day the children are learning and developing. I’m feeling supported and appreciate people believing in us. I am working hard to make a difference for our community”.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela