who we are
In early 2009, Gary and Meredith Liddle travelled to Cambodia on a holiday. On that trip they encountered many young children wandering the streets of Siem Reap and other towns and villages who, in most other countries, would have been at school. They learnt that the main reason the children were not at school was because their parents could not afford the cost. They came away from Cambodia with a strong desire to do something about this problem.
Later in the same year Geoff and Pam Shanks, good friends of Gary and Meredith, also travelled to Cambodia and quite coincidentally formed a similar view.
Gary and Meredith decided to establish a charitable Foundation aimed at raising money to help more Cambodian children to attend school and to achieve sound literacy and numeracy skills by the time they reached the end of primary school. By mid-2010 the Children of Cambodia Foundation had been established and fund-raising had commenced.
Education is not compulsory in Cambodia. Families are desperately poor, particularly in rural parts of the country. When money is scarce sending children to school ends up low on the list of priorities. Families of school children are required to cover the cost of stationery and uniforms and in many cases do not have transport, usually a bike, for the children to get to school. Many families find this difficult.
The Foundation determined that if the costs of attending school could be covered, more families would send their children to school. This became the goal — raising enough money to provide every child with the required stationery to last them for the school year and the necessary uniforms. A uniform would be provided for all students in Grades prep, one and four. Bikes would be purchased for students who did not have other means of getting to school.
The Foundation also decided that if there was available money once the essentials had been covered, school improvements would be funded along with additional materials such as library books and classroom teaching aids.
In addition to this work, it had become clear that teachers would benefit from professional development opportunities relevant to their work. In an arrangement with Australian NGO Teachers Across Borders, Children of Cambodia has funded all school principals and a number of classroom teachers to attend short courses held during the July school holidays at neighbouring town Kampong Thom.
And so we have reached a significant milestone of ten years of work in rural northern Cambodia. We commenced in 2010 with one school and 650 students. We now support 10 schools and in the order of 3500 students. We have spent almost $270,000 providing this support. We hope that the next 10 years will continue to see many children benefit from the educational opportunities that Children of Cambodia help to provide.
GARDEN OF DESIRE
ALL SEASONS CARETAKING