Here's a little more about the "why" and "what" of what we'll be doing in Cambodia.
In 2002, David and I went to Cambodia and met an amazing woman named Ponheary Ly who acted as our tour guide to the ancient temples of Angkor Wat.
Ponheary, a Khmer Rouge survivor, was a teacher before becoming a tour guide. She has made it her mission to make sure the local children get an education.
These kids are only guaranteed an education through the 6th grade by the Cambodian government. However, it costs them about $12 a year (that’s what, 3 Starbucks Grande Lattes??) for the uniforms and school supplies they need to attend. This is a fortune in a country where many people earn less than a dollar a day.
In 2005, an American woman named Lori Carlson met Ponheary and was so inspired she started a non-profit foundation to help these kids. You can read much more about it all here: http://www.theplf.org (make sure you check out the “news from the field page” to see all the great things they’ve done this school year so far).
The foundation not only provides uniforms and school supplies, but helps supplement teacher salaries (which are only $25 per month), build wells and gardens in the schools, buys bicycles for students who live too far away to walk to school, and provides funds for secondary students to go to high school and receive English tutoring.
Many of these kids will learn enough English to be able to work in the Hospitality/Tourism industry there which provides the highest paying jobs in the area.
One hundred percent of the donations they receive go directly to getting the kids what they need. There is no “middle man”, there is no “overhead”. The organization is not affiliated with any religious or political group.
So, in December I’m returning to Cambodia, this time with my mother. We plan on visiting some of the schools and bringing along whatever donations we can. While there, we will go shopping with Ponheary and then bring what we’ve bought directly to the kids in the schools. I’ll also have the opportunity to meet the foundation’s president (Lori Carlson) who will be there during that time. I’m very excited to be even a small a part of this.
If anyone would like to contribute, you can do so through the foundation’s website and the contribution is tax deductible. Most contributions made though the website are saved until the beginning of each school year (September and October). This year, they outfitted over 2000 children with the donations they’ve received. If you donate through the website, please indicate "Kristina Johnson Donation" in the remarks field so they know it will be from our group. I've just found out that this money will be available during our time there as well. If you do donate through the PLF website, make sure you let me know so I can add your name to the list and the total.
If you’d like to give a cash donation that would be helpful too as I will add it to what I’m bringing with me and it will be used immediately while we are there. The smallest amount of donations can really add up.
P.S. The pictures scrolling at the top were taken during our visit in 2002.
After many emails back and forth to Lori in Cambodia, we’ve finally settled on where we’d like the donation to go.
The Foundation wants to support a new school in a remote village called Koh Ker. This school sits literally in the middle of a cleared mine field, surrounded by a barbed wire fence. The good news is that it’s a brand new school. The bad news is that there’s nothing there much more than the buildings. They currently have no decent well or supplies for the 100 children who attend. Click on the link below to see more.
With the over $2400 we've raised, we're going to be able to outfit the 100 kids who were measured for uniforms on the last visit. We're also hoping we can help to get a well built so they can have clean water. Stay posted....
|Thailand and Cambodia Intro|
|Thai Air LAX-BKK|
|Bangkok Day 1|
|Kristina Johnson & David Franke|
|Anise Strong & Adam Morse|
|Marlys & Vince Backley|
|Chris Hopgood & Morton Lee|
|Eugene and Leslie Volokh|
|Dean & Shirley Hopgood|
|Amy & Ross Kramer|
|Jim & Karen McNutt|
|Barbara and Michael Budnick|
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