Building the Foundations for Peace: GLEF’s Next Schools

Golden Leaf Education Foundation (GLEF) is moving forward with the next set of school projects!

In April 2012, the Golden Leaf Education Foundation Board approved three school projects to focus our funds toward. Each of the submitted projects were thoroughly reviewed by the Project Review Committee (PRC), a group made up of non-biased GLEF members who hold no stake in any of the projects.  The schools are: Koh Broteal Elementary school in Pursat Province, Phoum Bourn Svay Klaing Elementary school in Kampong Cham Province and Soeur Village Elementary School in Banteay
Meanchey Province.

Koh Broteal  

After the fundraiser, The Rotary Club of Edmonton West in Canada and the Rotary Club of Pursat in Cambodia reached out to GLEF, wanting to help kick-start this project. After the PRC reviewed the status of each school, it was decided to put funds from the auction toward rebuilding Koh Broteal Elementary School. The process started in November 2012 — one year after GLEF’s first school, the Âng School in Battambang was officially opened.

Koh Broteal Elementary School is located in Pursat Province in the poor, rural village of Choum Raisse. There are currently 142 school-aged children in the service area, with 215 children ages one through five who will soon be expecting to attend school in the coming years. However, the broken-down, single building school can only hold 68 students. As a result, these children attend class for half the day. The local community can only send their children to the existing school for the first two grades before they have to exit because of capacity issues. It sits on land once used as labor camps during the Khmer Rouge genocide. Many lives were lost, including those of children, on this land. GLEF board members Bonneary and Dave Simas* sponsored the project along with Bonneary’s mother, Ms. Eng Lean Ly. Bonneary and her mother were both enslaved in the Choum Raisse labor camps and lost numerous members of their family. The rebuilding of this school is of special significance for their family, as
it’s a way to help the healing process, from the tragedy of the Khmer Rouge.

*Bonneary and Dave Simas abstained from all voting processes.

Phoum Bourn Svay Klaing Elementary School  

This school has received so much support from the community in Cambodia. The school is located in Kampong Cham Province in the Commune of Svay Klaing. Very rural and once infiltrated by the Khmer Rouge, the community is working on improving the educational opportunities for the 167 students who currently attend the school. There are only four small classrooms and eight teachers, so students only attend half days.

The wooden structure that serves the school is leaking from the roof and has holes in the floor and walls. The principal reports that students frequently miss school because poor weather conditions cause flooding and increase the risk of the school falling apart.

Mr. Sokhom Tauch*, the project’s sponsor, is a Cambodian refugee. He continues to seek funding for his former community that was destroyed by the Khmer Rouge.

*Sokhom Tauch abstained from all voting processes.

Soeur Village Elementary School

Soeur Village Elementary School is located in the poverty stricken Mongkul Borey District. The current school consists of two buildings with 12 classrooms, but serves over 1,065 students. The structures are unsafe, unstable and too small for the number of students who want to learn. The community wants a better building, but don’t have the means to rebuild it.

This project is sponsored by GLEF founding member and dedicated volunteer Ms. Chhunny Sok*. Her father, now deceased, was a teacher in this area. During the Khmer Rouge take over, many educated people, including teachers were killed. Chhunny’s father survived, but many of his fellow teachers, and friends and family, died. He remained true to his belief that education is important, and continued to teach in the village after the genocide. Chhunny is dedicating her efforts to rebuilding this school to honor her father and his passion.

Funds raised from Chhunny’s donated auction item of a Cambodian Dinner (sold four times over) go toward this project.

Check our website for project updates and to donate.

*Chhunny Sok abstained from all voting processes.

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