GLEF Annual Winter Potluck Sat, Feb 7

GLEF_2015-PotluckCelebrating GLEF’s Fifth Year, come visit and hear stories from GLEF’s January 2015 trip to Cambodia sucha as the Svay Klaing School dedication ceremony, Soeur School ground breaking ceremony, stories of giving medical supplies, bicycles, uniforms and much more on Saturday, February 7, 2015 starting at 5 p.m.

All are welcome! Please bring friends and family. Children are welcome.
Admission is free!


Those with a last name starting with A-N:
Please bring salad or dinner dish. Suggestions include salad rolls, pad thai, Cambodian chicken or tofu salad, stew, or whatever is your favorite dish.

Those with a last name starting with O-Z:
Please bring dessert or fruit.

Sat, Feb 7, 2015

Oaks Park Pavilion
7805 Southeast Oaks Park Way, Portland, OR 97202


5:00 p.m.
Doors open and potluck buffet will be set up as people arrive. People can eat whenever they wish.

7:00 p.m.
GLEF Introductions
Stories from GLEF’s January trip to Cambodia

8:00 p.m.
Time to Dance!
Sambo Tep, DJ Music

RSVP & MoreInformation

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Help Make a Difference


There are numerous ways you can support students in Cambodia through GLEF. Some ways are:

Buy a Book: GLEF Founder Kilong Ung’s memoir Golden Leaf: A Khmer Rouge Genocide Survivor details his experience of surviving Khmer Rouge Genocide, and immigrating to the U.S. where he grew from a teenager to an adult, overcoming hurdles and achieving rewarding experiences.50% of book sales support GLEF’s mission. $24.95 + shipping.

Buy a Desk:  A $40 donation purchases a brand new desk for students in Cambodia. Desk donations can be dedicated “In Honor of”, or “In Memory of” a special person in your life. (Donate right side of this page; please let GLEF know the dedication information.)

Leave a Legacy: Including GLEF in your estate plan is a powerful way to invest in the future of education. Leave a legacy gift and help empower humanity by enhancing educational opportunities internationally. Contact GLEF for more “Leave a Legacy” information.

Donate to GLEF’s Mission: Donations to GLEF are tax-deductible and can be made here online (right side of this page) or by mail:

Golden Leaf Education Foundation
3439 NE Sandy Blvd. #412
Portland, Oregon 97232

Shop Click on the logo (top right side of this page) and shop! It’s as easy as that and will then donate a percentage of your purchase to GLEF!

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Four Years Old and Three Schools!

GLEF_Svay-Klaing-Build-CompleteOur third school, Phon Bourn Svay Klaing School in Kampong Cham, Cambodia, opened its new doors on Nov. 3, 2014! The new, five-classroom building is where 150 kindergarten-sixth grade students learn. This new building is a welcome addition to the village. The school’s previous building posed potential danger to the students, faculty and community and it was in desperate need for replacement.

According to Svay Klaing villagers, the original school was built in 1979 immediately following the defeat of the Khmer Rouge regime. School building materials were the remnants of abandoned buildings in the village. The local temple donated land for the school inside the temple compound, but were unable to support the costs of maintaining the building or operating the school. The building was beyond repair. Parents worried that the school’s roof or the walls would collapse, especially during days with heavy rain or wind storms. The school principal reported students were frequently released early in response to potential risks posed by weather conditions and the poor physical structure of the school.

GLEF Svay Klaing 3.3.14_S.Orn_crop_3550Svay Klaing School Project Lead, Mr. Sokhom Tauch is a Cambodian refugee who had the opportunity to resettle in the U.S. He returns regularly to his home country and community to give back. One of his projects was raising the funds necessary to rebuild the temple that shares its property with the school. Each time he would visit his community, he witnessed the deterioration of the Svay Klaing School, hoping that the government would help. Seeing the children benefitting from the classes taught at the school, and the families who placed education on the top of their priority list gave him the inspiration to rebuild this school. In November 2011, Sokhom and his wife had the chance to see the opening of GLEF’s first school building at Âng School in Battambang, Cambodia. It was an amazing day for them, seeing the newly built school building standing elegantly and ready to serve happy and excited children and their parents. Shortly after, Sokhom submitted a project proposal on behalf of Svay Klaing School to GLEF; it was approved in 2012. In 2013 GLEF raised the funds to build Svay Klaing School a new five-room building. Groundbreaking for the new school was Jan. 15, 2014. With the help of Sophalla Orn, GLEF Project Manager in Cambodia, GLEF received regular construction updates and photos. The original building was torn down and students carried on their studies at the temple next door. The children were able to witness and at times help (see photo) during the construction process! Upon the completion of this project, Mr. Meng Leng the Chief of School Support Committee/ Construction shared, “The school is very beautiful and strong. We are really satisfied and love it. I commit to look after this new school, a valued gift from GLEF.”

GLEF thanks all our supporters for providing opportunities to each and every child who attends our schools in Cambodia! For updates throughout the year, please visit GLEF on Facebook!

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Letter from GLEF President


What a busy year this has been at Golden Leaf Education Foundation. And for some of us, it has been a very lucky year. It started with the grand opening of our second school build at Koh Broteal. Most don’t know that this site is NOT a holy place — it was a death camp under the Khmer Rouge. Today, these children and their families are living now, in overwhelming poverty.

The students are so eager to learn. The students were all dressed in their uniforms; the parents and family were beaming with joy. This project has given them hope.

Just down the road from the new school, power lines were being laid — bring electricity to the village for the first time. When we build a school in such remote areas, the local officials understand the significance of the school, and bring new service to the village.

A few days after, GLEF celebrated the groundbreaking at our third school, Svay Klaing. These kids are incredible. I wanted to take a picture with this tiny, little student, and then, within a few moments, there was a throng of young people around me. They all wanted to join the fun. And now too, they have a new school.

WE are the lucky ones — like hitting the lottery, except money can never fill you as much as helping kids who truly want to get an education.

With a little bit of time and a little bit of money, GLEF is helping to change the lives of thousands of people. If you would like to participate in GLEF’s endeavors, we are an email or a phone call away.


David Simas
GLEF President

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Reminiscing GLEF’s Fifth Annual “A Magical Night in Cambodia”

GLEF_MNIC-2014_RecapThanks to our wonderful sponsors, donors, supporters and volunteers who contributed to the success of this year’s Magical Night in Cambodia (MNIC). Because of so many generous people, MNIC raised $55,000 for building schools and other educational enhancements in rural Cambodia.

During the event, local Cambodian chefs from Ruby Thai served our guests Cambodian Cuisine, while attendees enjoyed local wines, a large silent auction and a market filled with fine, silk dresses, purses, fabric and more — all from Cambodia. Afterward, Auctioneer Brian Bice entertained all during the oral auction, where top bidders walked away with local vacation getaways, group dinners and even a chance to be on “Good Day Oregon.”

Following the auction, GLEF Performance Director Bonnearin Sin and fellow Cambodian classic dancers enchanted the crowd with “Kolap Phnom Penh: Rose of Phnom Penh.” (Originally choreographed by Princess Norodom Bopha Devi, music and lyrics by late King Father Norodom Sihanouk.) It was the first time this dance was performed in Oregon, and it showcased incredible talent. To wrap up the performances, the Cambodian Student Associations of Portland State University and Oregon State University performed the beloved “Coconut Shell Dance”.

MNIC was also a time of recognition, with GLEF awarding both the Interact Club of Sherwood and freshman student Kila Ung with the 2014 Outstanding Award for their generous and essential contributions. The Interact Club of Sherwood raised $2,000 for GLEF from their events this past school year, and Kila Ung, raised $3,550 from her eighth grade project to build a basketball court at Soeur School (completed spring 2014). Both recipients were present to receive their awards, noting “GLEF is not only changing lives of students in Cambodia, but also students here.”

The success of MNIC will allow us to keep changing lives and working toward our mission of fostering peace and goodwill through renovating existing schools, building new schools, and providing educational support.

“Being a part of GLEF, I feel lucky. Kind of like hitting the lottery…It seems for a little bit of time…and a little bit of money…you can change the lives of thousands of people,” said President Dave Simas, reflecting on a photo of a large group of Svay Klaing  (GLEF’s current school building project) students that spontaneously gathered around him early this year.

We invite you to follow our progress and stay up to date on future events and happy highlights on our Facebook page . Photos by volunteers Bette Lee and Tyler Clifton, as well as many more guest contributors.

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5th Annual “A Magical Night in Cambodia” Aug 2, 2014

GLEF_MNIC-2014_Save-Date2GLEF is looking forward to celebrating its fifth annual gala benefit, “A Magical Night in Cambodia.” Our goal is to raise enough funds to construct a new school building at Soeur Village School.

New Location: Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon
When: Sat. Aug. 2, 2014
Doors Open: 4:30 p.m.
Parking: Please use lot off of SW Beaverton/Hillsdale Hwy. This lot is right by the high school’s football field, Cronin Field.

Featuring Traditional Cambodian Food & Dance and much more!

Local Wines • Silent Auction • Cambodian Market Place • Live Auction

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Kids Helping Kids

GLEF_Kilas-Project_2014Kila Ung, an eighth grade student and daughter of GLEF Founder, Kilong Ung, partnered with GLEF to build a basketball court for students in Cambodia. Kila recognized the potential these courts provide, and chose to focus her school-year project toward raising funds for one. Congratulations to Kila for reaching her goal! The court construction began at Soeur School early this year and is now being enjoyed by the Soeur School students. Check out GLEF on Facebook for more photos of this project.

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GLEF’s Newest School Opens!


Our second school, Koh Broteal Elementary in Pursat Province, Cambodia, opened its new doors on Oct. 2, 2013. The new, five-classroom building is where over 140 first-fourth grade students learn. The student body is expected to increase in the near future, as this is now the closest school for many children in this rural area.

For Project Lead Mrs. Bonneary Simas and her mother, Ms. Eng Lean Ly, the completion is very personal. Bonneary feels she “was spared to help build the Koh Broteal School.” Both Bonneary and her mother were enslaved in a camp during the Khmer Rouge Genocide, not far from where the new school stands. During her visit earlier this year, Bonneary was able to pay homage to those who suffered at the hands of the Khmer Rouge and even had the opportunity to personally thank the other woman who saved her life — a Buddhist nun who still lives in Cambodia.

This is GLEF’s second school in Cambodia. The funds from our 2012 Annual Gala “A Magical Night in Cambodia” helped kick-start construction. Along with providing the building, we partnered with the Rotary Club of Edmonton West in Canada who donated water projects (well, biofilters, rooftop collection, dugout), school support and supplies, preschool and community coordination. GLEF also partnered with Rotary Club of Pursat in Cambodia to oversee the project’s completion. Our work wouldn’t be possible without these key partners across the world.

“The spirit of Koh Broteal is always with me.” reflected Bonneary.

A grand opening dedication ceremony took place on Jan. 14, 2014. Please visit GLEF’s Facebook page for photos from this special day.

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Gala Benefit = GLEF’s Third School!


We were honored to have former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., author of the memoir “Golden Bones”and Khmer Rouge Genocide Survivor Mr. Sichan Siv give our keynote speech, sharing thoughts about the significance of our work.

GLEF partners were also present, including the Cambodia Project Lead of the Rotary Club of Edmonton West in Canada, Darryll White. “The 2013 Magical Night in Cambodia fundraiser in Portland was a fitting end to the first year of a long-term partnership.” said Darryll (above photo) whose Rotary Club donated to water projects (well, biofilters, rooftop collection, dugout), school support and supplies, preschool and community coordination to the Koh Broteal Elementary School.

GLEF honored the students of Valley Catholic Elementary, Sherwood High School Interact Club and Wilson High School Interact Club with the 2013 GLEF Outstanding Service Award. Each school (all in Oregon) held their own unique fundraisers and each raised approximately $1,000 for GLEF.

Guests were entertained by the Cambodian Dance Troupe of Oregon, who performed the classical dance, Robam Makhor and by Concert Rock Violinist Aaron Meyer. Delicious food was provided by Mekong Bistro, a local Cambodian restaurant. GLEF would like to thank all those who attended our event! For more pictures, check out GLEF’s Facebook page.

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Next School Buildings


GLEF is planning back-to-back school building projects for the first time! The groundbreaking ceremony forPhoum Bourn Svay Klaing Elementary School in Kampong Cham Province, Cambodia took place Jan. 15, 2014. Construction of Soeur Village Elementary School is slated for 2015. This is an exciting step for GLEF and our supporters.

“Everyone was happy to hear they’d have a new school soon” reported Sokhom Tauch, Project Lead for Svay Klaing School.

The Svay Klaing community, located near the Mekong River, saw water levels rise and flood the school and surrounding area during the monsoon in September 2013. The villagers requested a new school that withstands flooding in order to provide a safe and consistent space for learning.

Rebuilding the school is a personal mission of Sokhom’s. He served in the Navy, and happened to be on a ship when the Khmer Rouge takeover began. He unexpectedly fled to the U.S. and worked hard to acclimate to a new life. He is now Executive Director of the Immigrant & Refugee Community of Oregon. He’s independently raised funds for the school.

Soeur Village Elementary School has 1,013 students with class sizes up to 50 children. GLEF plans to construct a new building, replacing a 56-year-old, dilapidated building.

“When we build this school, it will help a lot of the children and families” said Chhunny Sok, Project Lead for Soeur School. She too is a refugee and also a golden leaf — a survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocide, with a personal mission to give back to her home town and country.

Chhunny’s father, Sok Prang, was a teacher. During the genocide, he was forced to stop teaching. Many of his fellow teachers were killed; he managed to survive and maintain his passion.

“Education was one of the most important things to my father” said Chhunny. Sok Prang passed away in 2005. He wanted his children to follow in his legacy of teaching, and though Chhunny is not a teacher, she knows that giving back in this way will be significant for many. “I know my father is not here to see his dream school, but I know he is watching us from above with a big, happy smile.”

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