Posts Tagged education

Sponsoring Further Education for Young Women

International Women's Day

This International Women’s Day we’re celebrating four young women – Sophea, Porka, Phaiia, and Varnsi  – who are facing a brighter future after completing their education at the Svaychey village school. These four girls no longer face the poverty cycle that results from lack of education; they have been accepted to the Australian Centre for Education (ACE) in Siem Reap and began their study in early 2017.

The Realities of Education in Cambodia

Access to education is something we take for granted in Australia. With the majority of Australian girls completing year 12 our experience is a stark contrast to Cambodia where attending school can change a girl’s entire life.

Only 32% of children go on to secondary school in Cambodia and only a small percentage of these are girls. Incomes are low and life is difficult. For a young girl with very little prospect of earning an independent income marriage becomes the only option for putting food on the table. This is the reality that faces girls in Cambodia who cannot access education.

Path Porka, the youngest of four children in a farming family is already planning how she can share the ongoing blessings of this opportunity. She stated in her ACE application, ‘I want to help the children to get the knowledge and get a good job in their future’.

Reaching level 12 English qualifications and achieving a diploma costs just under AU$2000 at ACE. With the average Cambodian family earning less than this per annum, attendance would not be possible for Path and her friends without support. Without a diploma it is not possible to sit university entrance exams.



International Women's Day

Humble Beginnings in Svaychey Village

The Cambodian education system was dismantled under the Khmer Rouge and the neglected educational infrastructure has been slow to recover.  When the Step2Foundation began in 2012 the girls of Svaychey village had a decrepit school building and only one teacher with a teacher’s aide for over 250 students. There were no books or pencils and very little clean water.

Still, they showed up every day.

Four years of hands-on project work and dedicated fundraising by the Step2Foundation means that the school is now one of the best in their region. There are eight classrooms, eight teachers, a library, and a toilet block. The school now has electricity, operational computers, and a clean water filtration system is almost complete.

Education Makes Dreams Come True

To enrol in ACE, an international school with campuses across South East Asia, these hopeful young women had to do well at school and submit a written application.

Phaiia said on her application form, ‘I like studying English because I need it for my job. I want to go to University, to get more knowledge in the future and I want to be an English teacher at the University’.

Attending ACE means that Phaiia is well on her way to reaching this goal. On completion of her diploma she can return to Svaychey as a teacher. Already she is working with the Head Teacher to further improve her English teaching skills along with four hours of teacher training per week.

You Can Help Young Women Access Education in Cambodia

Two of these wonderful young women have regular sponsors who donate $12 per week. Regular support for the other two would make an incredible difference to their lives.

You can change the direction of a young woman’s life for the cost of lunch.

In Australia, 83% of 15-19 year old Australians are enrolled in study. These four young women are beating the odds in Cambodia where their education levels will put them in the minority and open up a safer future. For them, being bold for change was as huge, and as simple, as showing up every day for school.


Education is at the heart of the Step2Foundation’s philosophy. We support local youth by giving them employment opportunities. All of our projects are undertaken with a long-term view to contribute to a thriving, sustainable village.

Help us to celebrate this International Women’s Day by sharing our story widely.


We’re excited to announce that Varnsi has received a merit scholarship in recognition of her outstanding performance at ACE!

‘The hard work that Varnsi put into being accepted to ACE highlighted how determined these young women are to succeed. Step2Foundation is thrilled to provide the support they need to complete higher education and achieve their dreams,’ said Zeynep Roberts, Foundation Founder & Director. As one of the course’s most improved students Varnsi will receive three months of free tuition.



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Our First Volunteer – Liam Horniblow

Volunteer teacher in Cambodia

My experience teaching in Siem Reap, Cambodia at Svaychey Village

In December 2015, just prior to Christmas, I was provided with the wonderful opportunity to head to Svaychey Village which is approximately 20km east of Siem Reap Cambodia to teach English to 160 students from age 5 to 18.

I was both very excited and also nervous. This was the first time I had ever been in another country for a period longer than a couple of weeks. At first it was very overwhelming, to witness a village where the way of living was very different to what I was used to in Australia. It took me a week to settle in to living in the village but after a week this different lifestyle became much easier.


Settling in to Village Life

Home stay at the village gave me a wonderful insight into how the locals live and allowed me to create some wonderful friendships with the adults and children of the village. I have to say that living in the actual village was tremendously helpful as it allowed me to feel a part of the community and it assisted greatly in my teaching and understanding of the students. The locals in the village were extremely friendly which also made it very easy for me to settle in. Also, I cannot speak more highly of the family that have been providing me with wonderful support by way of daily meals and general advice and friendship when I’ve needed it.

The Village is like my second home, even though there have been times when the cultural and language barrier has been challenging, I have been able to adapt to this wonderful way of life as it builds character and confidence for me personally.


The school at the village is also amazing and this is a credit to the fine work that has been done by Zeynep and the Step2Foundation.

My first day teaching at the school was extremely enjoyable and has remained like that since I started. The students are simply amazing and continue to surprise me with their understanding and speed of learning. They really value the importance of learning English and always try very hard to improve every day. The English teacher Sok has been a fantastic support to me and also to the students.

The Rewards of Volunteer Teaching

Since I arrived 2 months ago I have seen a significant improvement in all of the students and the teacher Sok. He is extremely important to the school and without him the kids would be unable to learn English. Sok has shown a major interest in improving his English for the benefit of the children and I believe we have worked really well together. I am so grateful for all his help and feel confident that he has also gained a better understanding of English from my own teaching. The school has students ranging from kindergarten to year 12 and operates from 8:00am to 7:00pm at night.

For me personally, this has been a life changing event that has provided me with an appreciation for the many cultural differences that exist between Cambodia and Australia. Not only have I taught them but they have also taught me a lot about teaching and many other life lessons I will take with me forever.

I strongly recommended this experience to anyone that wants to be a part of an extremely unique cultural experience and to teach English to students that would be extremely grateful and kind in return.

I can be contacted via email: should you have any questions on this amazing life experience.

Interested in volunteering with the Step2Foundation?

Contact the Step2Foundation or Volunteer Abroad directly to find out more.

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