I had barely stepped into the yard that a couple of kids were already jumping into my arms and asking me to play in their Khmer language.
I had just crossed the gates of Knowledge Training Centre (KTC), an English teaching private school in Spean Chreav Village, Siem Reap Commune (10 minutes from the city of Siem Reap, Cambodia). The school was founded by the most generous, caring, inspirational and beautiful woman: Moeun Phary. Learning English is key for the future of Cambodian kids if they are to learn important skills and have careers that will contribute to the development of Cambodia. Phary and her team’s mission is to help Khmer people help themselves. Her dream is to be able to welcome more students at her schools so that young Cambodians, like her own kids, access good education and gain important knowledge that will help the country become better and stronger.
Currently, 500 kids attend KTC and 200 a second school also ran by Phary and her associates which offers vocational training including sewing and motorbike mechanics. But it’s still not enough… The surrounding community is poor, very poor. So Phary founded an NGO, Khmer for Khmer Organisation (KKO), in 2007 to help find sponsors who can pay for the poor kids’ education. Due to Phary and her team’s big heart, many of the kids don’t pay to attend the school. But the waiting list is still very long…
I spent two days volunteering at KTC, helping teachers with phonetics, games, maths and so on and I was incredibly touched by the warm welcome I was given. Hundreds of beautiful, genuine smiles – from kids and adults alike! I felt as part of a big family straight away and I was welcome in their house with arms wide open.
During my stay, I met 14-year old Ying, a beautiful girl whose dream is to become a doctor. Having lost her parents, Ying lives with her grandma who also takes care of her brother, sister and six other family kids. The grandma is very poor and seeing her cry as she explained her situation to me and a KTC staff was heartbreaking. I decided to sponsor Ying so she can study at KTC and maybe one day fulfil her career dream.
If you would like to know more about KTC and KKO or find out how you could sponsor a child, check out www.kko-cambodia.org and www.ktc-cambodia.org. Or if you come to Cambodia one day, contact Phary. Volunteers are always welcome and kids are so happy to see new faces cross their gates. I can honestly say that this is one of the best experiences of my life.
To Phary and her team: ”orkun thom thom”! (thank you very very very much!)