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Starfish Scholarship Fund

Nicole Phua and Ernest Lee came to Cambodia and made a commitment see a group of students from Knar School through to graduation. In 2014 those students did indeed graduate from High School, all of them the first in their family to do so.  
Grads Knar grade 12 2014
The name for this scholarship fund comes from a tale adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley:

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement. She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

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The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!” The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.
Ernest and Nicole, at Knar School during the time they volunteered there.

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As the school year runs from October 1 to the end of July, volunteers who come during the summer months will not follow the same schedule as those who come during the school year. Students are often eager to learn and thus are willing to participate in extra English classes during the summer, but since class/workshop attendance is optional, attendance varies greatly. If volunteers would like to set up an English class or workshop during the summer, they must email PLF at least 2 weeks in advance of their arrival in order to inform the students of the class. Volunteers can determine class times but ideally, classes will run for a minimum of two weeks.

Email volunteer@theplf.org with any questions!

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First aid at Knar

We’ve had people come and teach music, sewing, woodworking, show students how to fix bikes, do yoga, administer first aid, do crafts, build a fence, garden and compost and repair furniture. We’ve also had volunteers do research and needs assessments, support infrastructure projects, perform medical screenings and design curriculum and implementation for the arts, leadership, science, and sports programs.

Soccer at Tchey

If you have a specialized area of expertise that would be useful and/or interesting for the children, let us know and we’ll help you set up a workshop. The students (and teachers) are thrilled to learn new things and to say you’ll find them eager is a serious understatement. Be advised that for these workshops, we’ll expect you to provide all the necessary materials, tools, etc.

Check out some news stories on skills classes:

Soccer Team at Tchey

Health screenings at Knar

Teaching a water safety course

Putting on a play at Tchey

Email volunteer@theplf.org with any questions!

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Microsoft Office: These classes are held from 5-7am at Tchey school. You’ll be leaving the house at 4:30 am each day so it’s not for everyone. The students in this class have a beginner’s grasp of Word, Excel and Powerpoint. The class recently received 10 digital cameras, so the insertion of a guest teacher could mean developing an exercise that is centric to photography and the use of images in a document or presentation. Keeping workshops in the computer lab more image based works well for non-English speakers; assisting in exercises that are more language based (MS Office products) can get tricky.

Tchey Media Lab

Digital Media Classes: These classes are held in the Media Lab at 7 Candles (where you’ll be staying) or at Tchey school depending on whether internet is needed or not. The students are learning website development, graphic design, photography, videography, social media, Youtube, WordPress, iMovie and blogging. If you have any expertise in these areas, please be in touch with your skill sets and we can promise you a highly enriching experience.

Check out some stories on PLF Media students:

Tchey Media Team coverage

Media Lab on Goodtube

And be sure to read this news story on two volunteer’s experience with videography at Tchey.

Email volunteer@theplf.org with any questions!

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Neither school holds regular art classes taught by the teachers; therefore this creative program is entirely generated by volunteers. It occurs during the time in between classes. One class from 11-12 and the other from 12-1. Be creative in developing a program. Most of these kids only learn by rote and thus receive little instruction on creative thinking. Art classes can range from painting pictures to performing a play. Before leaving by tuk tuk, you will be given a PLF basket which you are free to fill with whatever supplies you want to use for your program session. The PLF closet now has some materials such as crayons, paints, paper and pencils that have been donated, however if there are specific materials your project requires, you are expected to fund the resources yourself.

Tips and Program Suggestions from other Volunteers:

Art!

• When our volunteer program first began we would have said: “Start with the basics, even with older children” but thanks to our many volunteers, the students now have a good basic knowledge of arts and crafts.  We definitely recommend PLF’s Pinterest for some new and slightly more challenging fun ideas!
• Incorporate activities that emphasize self-pride in their work.
• Find sustainable projects to do using materials they have access to.
• Students tend to copy each other or the instructors examples. Try not to use examples and find ways for the students to create original work so that they can develop individual and creative ideas.
• Bring some music to spice things up, or a game in case you end early.
• Be aware that some of these students may be very young and have never held a paintbrush.

Read some news on art classes:

Art classes at Tchey

Art students illustrate a storybook

Email volunteer@theplf.org with any questions!

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In Cambodia, the official school year runs from October 1st until the end of July. Additionally, during August and September, PLF runs “Summer School”.

There are no full-day classes at Cambodian primary schools, instead students attend either; a full morning or a full afternoon session throughout the school year.  During this time you could hold your classes between 11am and 1pm, ie the period in between the morning and afternoon sessions, or you could hold your classes during the early evening sessions; 5-7pm.  During “Summer School” you can run your classes any time of the day.  The month of April is always best avoided.  It is one of the hottest months plus it is when one of the most highly celebrated holidays in the Cambodian calendar takes place.  Students will attend school during most of the other holidays throughout the year, but not this one.

In the English Enrichment Program you will be creating activities and exercises that support the teacher’s curriculum. You are not responsible for teaching the curriculum but are there to help solidify what the teacher has already taught.

For your first day, a PLF staff member will accompany you and assist with getting you orientated to the school grounds, introude you to the local teacher you will be working with and answer any questions you might have.  On this first day, please take the time to talk to the teacher to understand where the students are at which will help you in preparing your exercises and activities for your upcoming classes.

Inside the classroom you can expect an atmosphere of excitement, as the students love to learn and they love the novelty of having a foreign teacher with them. The local teacher will be there to help translate if it is absolutely required but in the main only English should be used.   The local teacher will always be available for support, similar to a Teachers Assistant but it is your job as the volunteer to lead the class.  You need to come into this setting with direction, plans and goals that will help enrich the students’ English potential.

Participation, by the students in activities, exercises that involve coming up to the front of the class, demonstrating and answering questions is very typical and encouraged in this setting. Please also note that any resources you might need for your classes will need to be sourced and paid for by you.

There will be a range of ages for the students you will be working with but they are placed in English classes according to their English ability.  Student attendance can be flaky at times so be prepared to expect as few as 5 students, or up to 20 students in the class on any given day. Regardless, you will be teaching whoever is there and the teacher will be there to support you.

You will travel from the Seven Candles Guesthouse to the school each day via one of the organization’s tuk tuks. Apart from drivers these guys will become great resources to you in other ways; translators, as they speak English well and they also enjoy helping you out by being interactive in your classes. They can also take you anywhere you may need to go after the volunteering session.

English exams

Email volunteer@theplf.org with any questions.

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Cambodia is a developing country, recovering from decades of civil war, genocide and occupation. During the Khmer Rouge era all infrastructure was destroyed along with all the schools and hospitals. Change is rapid but there is still a very long way to go. The gulf between the towns and the countryside is ever widening as towns prosper and villages do not. 80% of the population of Cambodia lives in the countryside and for the majority, life is a daily struggle.

For our volunteers, the Ponheary Ly Foundation has put together a “must read”  Volunteer Orientation Guide with background information on what you can expect as a volunteer. We highly recommend you have a look through this, especially if this is your first trip to Cambodia .

You can also have a look at this video by Peter Haynes for some visuals on the schools, the accommodations, the kids, listen to a couple of other volunteers, etc.

We hope before your arrival, you’ll spend some time at our website, have a look through the media section, watch some videos, read some stories. We hope you’ll come to understand our philosophies and strategies and be able to arrive in Cambodia as “present” and prepared as possible.  Any questions, please ask.

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A&L Lending a Hand Group has helped PLF with on-going health clinics at Knar School, as well as sponsoring a couple of very well-received solar panels. In 2012, they deepened their commitment and  funded three-year scholarships for 12 students.

 Funding twelve students at Angkor High School until they graduate!

“A&L’s Lending a Hand group was developed to help monitor, fund raise and donate the funds raised by A&L and our staff to charities within our community and overseas.

Lending a Hand has developed a close relationship with the Ponheary Ly Foundation in Cambodia. The relationship came about after a staff member volunteered with the PLF in Cambodia and saw first hand the benefit we could provide through donations and sponsorship.

The Lending a Hand committee is made up of both management and staff and when selecting partners or projects, the committee investigates to ensure the support that A&L is providing goes to the right people. We carefully decide to support only people and organisations that can provide confirmation of their funding expenditure.”

Lending a Hand

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A Wide Reach

The Fairly Cambodian Scholarship Fund has brought together a group of Australians who fund the basic necessities of several special needs students, many of whom are homeless and who suffer from chronic medical  conditions or disabilities, and who often need medical assistance and help getting food.

In addition the fund has graduated 14 students from high school.

In 2014, the Fairly Cambodian Fund will continue support of two high school students and three University students.

 

Kerrie Meehan, owner of Fairly Cambodian, a fair trade gift shop in Healesville, Victoria, Australia, leads philanthropic missions to Cambodia and is a frequent volunteer for PLF at Knar School. In addition to providing scholarships for several high school students, she and her family have taken under their wing a few of the more high-risk primary school students at Knar School.

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The Ryerson Scholarship Fund has supported over 50 students in their quest for a high school diploma, as well as sponsored attendance at various vocational training centers.

Ann Seda

Ann Seda

Em Chantry

Em Chantry

Hun Malin

Hun Malin

Ly Dolla

Ly Dolla

Ruon Samreth

Ruon Samreth

Sem Sokha

Sem Sokha

Thoun Channy

Thoun Channy

Tom Phally

Tom Phally

Laim Soda

Laim Soda

Chan Samphaos

Chan Samphaos

Chann Sreynich

Chann Sreynich

Kung Bunthoeun

Kung Bunthoeun

Sean Sopheak01

Sean Sopheak

Sun Sem

Sun Sem

Yarn Sopheak

Yarn Sopheak

Chan sreyna

Chan Sreyna

Hu Malin

Hu Malin

Chhuon Soket

Chhuon Soket

Hieng Hoeuy

Hieng Hoeuy

Ho Kimhong

Ho Kimhong

Huor Puthy

Huor Puthy

Leang Huoy

Leang Huoy

Noeun Sokim

Noeun Sokim

Nuon Bonnat

Nuon Bonnat

Oum Reaksa

Oum Reaksa

Rouen Leakhena

Rouen Leakhena

Soum Suntheary

Soum Suntheary

Sung Sokunthea01

Sung Sokunthea

Sway Samnang

Sway Samnang

Tes Sathakvika

Tes Sathakvika

Tutt Dumm

Tutt Dumm

Rorn Chaimrey

Rorn Chaimrey

Sea Samnang

Sea Samnang

Habb Vanny

Habb Vanny

Chroeb Sokieng

Chroeb Sokieng

Ann SedaEm ChantryHun MalinLy DollaRuon SamrethSem SokhaThoun ChannyTom PhallyLaim SodaChan SamphaosChann SreynichKung BunthoeunSean SopheakSun SemYarn SopheakChan SreynaHu MalinChhuon SoketHieng HoeuyHo KimhongHuor PuthyLeang HuoyNoeun SokimNuon BonnatOum ReaksaRouen LeakhenaSoum SunthearySung SokuntheaSway SamnangTes SathakvikaTutt DummRorn ChaimreySea SamnangHabb VannyChroeb Sokieng

35 graduates and counting~!


Nine Students

Knar Primary School Alumni


Seven Students

Tchey Primary School Alumni


Nineteen Students

Wat Bo Primary School Alumni

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Alex, Gazzie and Polly Ryerson

“After we visited Siem Reap in 2007 and met Ponheary, we were very excited about the opportunities to help out the children of Cambodia.  We are constantly inspired by Lori and Ponheary’s work and are looking forward to providing support for many years into the future”

~Alex Ryerson