By supporting projects that meet the community’s basic physiological and safety needs, Step2Foundation donors have enabled children in an impoverished region of Siem Reap to obtain an education. Their health and happiness will form the pathway out of poverty for students and the people they care about.
The number of children attending Svaychey Village School has doubled since the charity began in 2012. Step2Foundation’s supporters are making a tangible impact for the community of Svaychey.
Access to a reliable source of clean, fresh water is a life changing for communities in rural Cambodian areas. Previously, families relied on their children to source water. Now these children can able to attend school instead.
Svaychey village’s second water tower is now operational and producing clean drinking water for the wider community. The new water filtration system is in addition to the two water systems completed in 2017 – one at Svaychey Village School and one in Lolei – bringing the total amount of clean water being produced per hour to 2,400 litres.
‘Feedback from both communities has been overwhelmingly positive,’ said Zeynep. ‘Seeing the kids enjoy drinking fresh water was the highlight of my trip!’.
Safe drinking water is a human right. Each of these water filtration systems costs US$10,000 has been funded by generous donors like you. Thank you to all our existing donors for giving these children the gift of an education.
Students at the Svaychey Village School in Cambodia received two new computers in February. That brings the school total to seven.
The digital divide is shockingly evident in the developing world. With the UN stating that only 5% of households having internet access in developing countries, access to technology is precious. So are the opportunities to learn and connect that it brings.
Teacher Sok has internet access which allows him to connect with learning resources and other teachers. Each computer has English/Khmer programs, the Microsoft suite, and interactive learning games. Using the computers to learn English is a favourite with the kids. Computer literacy puts them well ahead of their peers when it comes to future job opportunities.
Your donation of $400 can purchase a refurbished PC with the necessary software.
Volunteer teachers bring fresh ideas and expertise to the English language lessons. We see it as crucial that the volunteers visiting through Step2Foundation are qualified educators. Our next Australian teacher arrived in Siem Reap on 24 February to a warm welcome.
A rigorous screening process by a qualified volunteer provider facilitates the connection between high-quality teaching volunteers and Svaychey Village School. These talented teachers support our permanent teaching staff to develop their skills and improve English literacy for the children.
To find out more about teaching in Svaychey, contact Volunteer Abroad.
Zeynep’s luggage was a little heavier than usual when she visited in January… due to the generosity of donors Oriana Price and Jessica Burke who sent children’s clothing, shoes, school supplies, and books. The supplies were distributed to families in need who also received milk and food items.
The simple act of providing food and necessities removes enormous stress for children in impoverished families. Often they are faced with pressure to pursue a meagre income working in the fields rather than an education.
The thing is that $10 per month is enough to provide books and supplies for ten children. The gold change in your car console could change the life of a child in Cambodia.
Can you make a difference to children who desperately want an education?
The new year has also seen the beginning of a relationship with a Cambodian doctor based in Sydney. Her medical unit makes regular visits to Cambodia where they focus on improving knowledge around health and hygiene.
We’re pleased to share that their team will be visiting Svaychey Village School as part of their program later this year.
The Foundation built two toilets on the school campus in 2014 but rapidly increasing student numbers mean more are needed.
Collaborating with the community and looking ahead to address key areas of need is crucial to creating pathways out of poverty. Along with ongoing development in the areas above, Step2Foundation will fundraise for specific projects in 2018.
Planned projects include support for the secondary education of a new round of students at ACE, school infrastructure needs such as building more toilets on the school campus, and a breakfast program. To succeed these projects require the generosity and commitment of people who care.
People like you.
One of our regular donors, eleven-year-old Layla, donates $10 a month. ‘It makes me feel really sad that kids just like me don’t have the books or pencils that they need for school,’ said Layla. ‘My sisters and I donate some of our pocket money because we’re so much luckier and all kids should be able to go to school’.
Like Layla and her sisters, you can give the gift of an education to disadvantaged children in Cambodia. Regular donations allow us to plan for the future and ensure we can work with the village to strategically improve lives.
Help us continue to make a difference in 2018. Every dollar donated makes a huge difference to a community who desperately need support to break an entrenched cycle of poverty. All donations over $2 are tax deductible.
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.
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.
‘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.
When Zeynep first visited Svaychey Village five years ago, she was dismayed at the state of their school. The poverty that comes with lack of education was evident wherever she turned. Zeynep’s firm belief that all children deserve an education led to the founding of Step2Foundation.
With the support of a committed group of volunteers and donors like you, the poverty cycle is being broken for those that need it most.
In 2017 Step2Foundation gained registration as an Australian charity, supported four determined young women to continue their study at the Australian Centre for Education in Siem Reap, and ran a major fundraising raffle that was born at our inaugural fundraising dinner in September.
If you’d like to help make a difference to the lives of students in Cambodia consider supporting the Step2Foundation by donating or volunteering.
Fantastic News – your support raised just over $2300 towards our Water Project. We are on track to commence mid-January 2017 and in good timeto collect vital water supplies during the wet season for the school and community. A big thank you from the families of Svaychey!
2nd Prize – Doris (Ingleburn NSW)
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