Cambodian Children’s Fund
In 2020, successful grant recipients Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF) received $20,000 from 100 Women members towards “Keeping Girls in School: Removing Barriers to Education for Cambodia’s Poorest Female Youth project in Phnom Penh, Cambodia”. This program aimed to support 136 disadvantaged girls to gain access secondary education at CCF’s Toul Ampil (TA) School. The 100 Women grant was used to fund education supports including books, resources, uniforms, equipment and transport.
Before CCF’s intervention, more than 60% of the targeted families the charity worked with, had never sent their children to school, or they had but later pulled them out of schooling, with many of the children having attended primary school for only one or two years.
In addition, the ratio of girls scavenging on the Steung Meanchey garbage dump far outweighed the boys. Getting young girls living around the former dumpsite into school faces many barriers. But we found a far more significant hurdle was keeping girls attending classes, especially once they reached secondary school, as their parents perceived trade-off between putting the food on the table, earning money for rent, or servicing family debt vs sending their daughters to school, is higher.
The legacy of helping girls stay in education and complete secondary school with the skills to effectively compete in the labour market, make decisions about their own lives, and learn the socio-emotional and life skills necessary to adapt to a changing world, is that they become leaders in their chosen careers, become leaders in their community, and lift their families out of poverty. These young women have the potential to overcome challenging starts in life, a testament to CCF’s belief that education has the power to end povertyNicky Ward – CCF
Who are Cambodian Children’s Fund?
In 2003, while on vacation in Southeast Asia, Hollywood Studio Executive Scott Neeson ended up standing ankle-deep in trash at the sprawling Steung Meanchey landfill of Phnom Penh. In a haze of toxic fumes and burning waste, he witnessed thousands of children and adults rummaging through the garbage dump for scraps they could sell for money. They earned 4,000 riels ($1) a day – if they were lucky.
“There were kids everywhere. In some cases, they’d been left there by parents that didn’t want them. It shook me to my core,” says Scott of that first day at the garbage dump. Scott met a child within the first twenty minutes of being on the garbage dump. He couldn’t tell if it was a girl or a boy because they were completely covered up, partly to hide from the heat and partly because there was nowhere to leave their belongings.
It turned out that this girl, 9-year-old Sreyoun, was working on the dump with her mother and younger sister, who he subsequently found out was seriously ill. As they were living in extreme poverty, it was relatively inexpensive to sort out their problems right there and then. So, with the help of a translator, Scott had arranged a place for them to live, got the girls into school, the sister into hospital and when back in Los Angeles, he planned to send money each month to keep the family sustained.
It took little more than an hour, and it struck him, with the horrific backdrop of the garbage dump, how simple it was to help.
That was the start of CCF. Founded in 2004, CCF was set out with a vision to lift the Steung Meanchey community out of poverty and into a new era of hope and possibility through the provision of education. Our approach is based on a fundamental belief that education will provide children with pathways out of Poverty.
In addition, by developing the leadership potential of our students, leaders will emerge that will create generational change and a better future for Cambodia. Starting from getting 45 children off the landfill in 2004, CCF now has been supporting more than 3,000 children in full-time programming and over 30,000 community members through 60 integrated projects across 6 core program areas – Education, Leadership, Career and Life Skills, Community Outreach, Healthcare, and Childcare.
In 2019, Sreyoun graduated from university with a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics.
What did the funding from 100 Women achieve?
During the reporting period, even though Covid-19 disrupted activities, CCF achieved significant outcomes such as:
● 134 female students were kept in Education.
● 2 new female students enrolled in TA.
● The annual attendance rate for our female students at TA was 96%.
● The pass rate for our female students at TA was 94%.
● The public school pass rate for our female students at TA was 98%.
● 100% of TA students were vaccinated against Covid-19.
● 100% of TA’s students and their families were safe from Covid-19 infection.
View the thank you video to 100 Women below.