Category Archives: News


Permalink to Fulfilling Dreams at EYC

Fulfilling Dreams at EYC

Dear Friend of EYC,

Thanks to your support, Empowering Youth in Cambodia (EYC) has helped more young people than ever through our educational programs and community activities this year. Over 700 young people are learning English and computer skills in some of the most impoverished communities at our four schools. Our health, sports and regular leadership training programs continue to be essential activities in building strong young people.

Nov_newsletter EYC

EYC’s scholarship program helps young people to further their education in the face of poverty. One student named Chanta Bunthon has a dream to become a civil engineer and help to rebuild Cambodia. His mother died when he was young and his father works hard to support his family, but is unable to contribute to his son’s dream. Bunthon has been accepted to university to study engineering, but $400 is what stands between him and starting his degree.

Chantha Bunthorn2_newsletterBy donating to EYC, you can support Bunthon’s dreams of becoming an engineer. If you would like to support him and others to continue their studies at university, please donate here.

These are amazing differences that can be made to our students’ lives, and your contribution can make a big impact. The EYC team knows how rewarding it is to see young people reach their potential with a helping hand.

Thank you for your kind and generous support and for helping bright young people like Bunthon to overcome adversity and realize their dreams.

Warmest regards,

sig_drew

 

 

 

Drew McDowell & the EYC team

www.eycambodia.org


Permalink to New video clips of EYC students!

New video clips of EYC students!

Some short videos of EYC students/alumni talking about how EYC impacted their lives:

Nov Syneoun, an inspiring Aziza School alumni and current EYC staff:

Sophea, an English and computer student at Lakeside school:


Permalink to EYC student becomes IT professional with help from EYC

EYC student becomes IT professional with help from EYC

One of Empowering Youth in Cambodia’s (EYC) programs is Lakeside School, offering educational programs and activities which serve the slum community known as Boeung Kok since 2008. With 132 students attending classes daily, Lakeside School has been a pillar in the community. EYC also provides over 35 students with direct support for their advanced studies.

Lakeside School

Four years ago one student, Chan Ranuy, was struggling along with his family to make ends meet. His prospects of remaining in school, much less graduating or obtaining marketable skills appeared grim.

Next EYC prepared Ranuy for a program for students from poor families to study IT and life skills intensively, and paid the subsidized tuition when he was accepted. Now, he has completed a 2-year Associates Degree in System and Network Administration. He has obtained a good job with a technology company in computer service, and is making an excellent starting salary while continuing his studies toward a bachelor’s degree in IT.

Ranuy has long days now between a full time job and classes in the evenings, but he is very energized and hopeful for the future. He and his family are very proud and grateful to the support he has received from EYC. “I think that, if I had not received the help from EYC, I really don’t know how my life would be. I would like to say thanks for all of your help and for the knowledge and skill to change and improve my life. I hope that many others can be helped to change their lives like I was,” said Ranuy.

The EYC team knows that when we give a hand up to young people with potential the results are often excellent.

We hope you will help us to help many other children like Ranuy. Please donate here.


Permalink to Computer Training for 120 Cambodian Youth

Computer Training for 120 Cambodian Youth

computer-training-for-120-Cambodian-youth

EYC is happy to report that we met our fundraising goal thanks to our generous donors, and are underway to provide quality computer training to over 120 young people living in poor communities. We have done some upgrading in recent months, replacing hardware and doing system upgrades, allowing our teachers to teach from MS 2010 and Photoshop. We also have increased the responsibilities and salaries of some of our existing teachers who are mostly EYC alumni, enabling them to better focus on their teaching. Two teachers have also received scholarships to receive advanced IT training as part of our effort to upgrade the quality of our trainers.

We’ve also expended our XO computer training which is now being taught at Youth School. The XO computers are a tool for independent learning and critical thinking. Some activities require the students to think hard, but the classes are fun and our students love it.

computer-training-xo

Each of our computer labs is equipped with Internet, and after completing the basic training students are introduced to using the Internet, which they pick up fast. The use of technology has great potential to level the playing field in a highly corrupt country like Cambodia where having information can challenge the existing power structures.

Competency with computers is a prerequisite for many jobs, and EYC has had good results with students being placed into jobs through our job placement program. One EYC student, a university sophomore, said “I am happy to be an EYC student and especially I get a chance to study for free. After finishing the courses I will apply for a job, and because a good job requires computer skills, I hope to be able to get a good job.” EYC has had great success to date with students learning computers and putting those skills to work in many ways, from working in offices to creating media campaigns. Thanks to your support we will continue building these skills and it will empower our students.

computer-trainingcomputer-training-students


Permalink to Humans of Phnom Penh: A Photoblog

Humans of Phnom Penh: A Photoblog

A group of EYC students have started an interesting photoblog on Facebook called Humans of Phnom Penh . It gives an insight into the daily lives of some of the capital’s residents through photography and short interviews and it was inspired by a similar blog, Humans of New York. Each student chooses individuals they meet in the city and who they find interesting to include in the project. Phnom Penh through Cambodian eyes. The blog is in Khmer and in English, take a look:
https://www.facebook.com/HoPPCambodia

Also, read the story about Humans of Phnom Penh in The Phnom Penh Post. 

Here’s the first post from Humans of Phnom Penh on March 9th, 2014.

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– How long have you been picking tins like this?
I have been doing this for five or six months already.

– Do you like doing this? Why?
Yes, I like doing this because I want to help earn money for my parents.

– Do you think you will do this job forever?
No, nowadays I study at a Christian school and I get good grades as well. This job is just to help my parents during my free time only.

– So what is your goal in the future?
I think I will study hard and I am going to be a business manager and a school principal so poor kids like me will be able to study for free. I am not going to do this forever.

– តើប្អូនមករើសកំបុ័ងបែបនេះយូរប៉ុណ្ណាហើយ ?
ខ្ញុំចាប់ផ្តើមបាន៥,៦ខែហើយ។

– តើប្អូនចូលចិត្តធ្វើបែបនេះទេ? ព្រោះអ្វី?
ខ្ញុំចូលចិត្តពីព្រោះខ្ញុំចង់ជួយរកលុយឲ្យពុកម៉ែរបស់ខ្ញុំ។

– តើប្អូនគិតថាប្អូននឹងធ្វើការបែបនេះរហូតឫ?
អត់ទេ, សព្វថ្ងៃខ្ញុំរៀននៅសាលាគ្រិស្ទាន ហើយខ្ញុំរៀនបានលេខល្អទៀតផង ការងារនេះគឺគ្រាន់តែសំរាប់ជួយឪពុកម្តាយរបស់ខ្ញុំនៅពេលទំនេតែប៉ុណ្ណោះ។

– ចឹងប្អូនមានបំណងបែបណាដែរសំរាប់ថ្ញៃអនាគត?
ខ្ងុំគិតថាខ្ញុំនឹងខិតខំរៀនសូត្រហើយ នឹងចង់ក្លាយទៅជាអ្នកគ្រប់គ្រងអាជីវកម្ម និង នាយកសាលា ដើម្បីឲ្យក្មេងៗដែលក្រីក្រដូចខ្ញុំបានចូលរៀនដោយមិនបាច់អស់លុយ ។ខ្ញុំមិនចង់ធ្វើបែបនេះរហូតនោះទេ ។


Permalink to A Fresh Look for our Youth School

A Fresh Look for our Youth School

In the past few weeks a few improvements have taken place at Youth School. With lots of volunteer labor from our students, school manager Kungkea took the lead on getting all the walls cleaned and painted, and all the classrooms now have attractive colors and a fresh feel. In addition, an old dilapidated cement wall was torn down and a new wall with a fence constructed. The wall will soon be decorated with a mural, as will one side of the building.

YS_Outside_after

Youth School is the first school to be painted as part of our new “Perfect Schools” program where our teams are working to maintain, organize and find ways to improve our school facilities. This is one way we plan to create conducive learning environments, and we feel providing higher standards are a key ingredient to behavior change and development. We also want to incorporate art, creativity, and fun throughout our activities and expect to have “Perfect Schools” as a goal that we always keep working toward.

YS_Classroom

EYC is lucky to have a new art teacher, Mr. Matte Birchler, who is an accomplished artist from New Zealand who has recently relocated to Phnom Penh. Matte has done many big murals in the past and is excited about using his talents to engage his students at Youth School in making some murals for everyone to appreciate.

Another new volunteer to Youth School is Ms. Joy Clifton, who comes to the school twice a week to read with the students. Joy has moved to Phnom Penh from Vancouver and is passionate about both kids and books, so she felt this volunteer job was just right for her.

Youth School is happy to announce our new computer teacher for the evenings, Ms. Sem Leaphy, who is a recent graduate from an intensive 2 year technology training program (only for poor students), and works as a web developer during the day. She will be teaching blogs and basic website programming in addition to the Microsoft suite. When asked about her new teacher, Youth School student Veng Chhenghak said “she is very friendly, punctual and serious in her teaching. She is a really good teacher.”


Permalink to From the slums of Phnom Penh to possibly studying in the US

From the slums of Phnom Penh to possibly studying in the US

“I would do the preparation class anyway”, said Keo Yary, an EYC student in 11th grade, when asked if she would attend this class even if there was no lure of a possible scholarship to the US. Yary is one of five lucky EYC students who have been selected for an excellent program created by EducationUSA Advising Center under the United States Embassy. The program is called the Opportunity Fund, and it aims to prepare youth from disadvantaged backgrounds to be able to access higher education in the United States.

The five students are Keo Yary, Ho Andy, Chon Sreyroth, Luck Chamnab and Ear Serivichara, and they are from Aziza School, Impact School, and Youth School, respectively. Now seven months into the program, the students were not at all “randomly selected”. There was a rigorous testing and interviewing process where the students had to demonstrate not only good English skills, but also strong academic skills, general knowledge, and leadership skills. And it is with good reason that the students are carefully chosen – the program invests a lot in them.

Star_studentsThree times a week the students attend class for two hours, where they learn advanced English and also learn about culture, food, and general knowledge. In addition, the students meet every Sunday morning to discuss the book that was assigned for that week’s reading. Later in the program they will learn about scholarship applications, how to write an essay for college applications, get help with the passport application, and more. The program aims to fully prepare the students to apply for college and scholarships to study in the US.

But there is no guarantee of admission to a US college. And each student not only needs to be admitted, they also need to find a way to fund the studying. But as Keo Yary said, she is happy to do this class no matter what – nobody can take away the knowledge she gets from the program.

Good luck to them!


Permalink to Pisey’s Story

Pisey’s Story

Our students often share with me that they really appreciate what our schools provide for them, and they especially thank all of those who donated!

There are too many stories to tell, but here is one that epitomizes how your donations have enhanced the lives of our kids. Last night we had a terrific end of year (Christmas) party at Lakeside School. Our students know how to have a good time, and the community all came together to make things fun.

While I was there a young woman named Pisey approached me. She wanted to speak to me for one reason—to let me know how much and how positively her life had been affected by our help.

Xmas_Lakeside_2013_Pisey

I met Pisey at Lakeside School 2.5 years ago. Though charming and charismatic, she recently had needed to drop out of school and was working in a factory. She was quite attractive, but had a front tooth with significant visible decay.

But she had enough drive to come and study English after a 10 hour day at the factory. After observing her motivation, EYC gave her financial assistance so she could stop working at the factory and start back in school in grade 8. We helped her get her teeth fixed; 4 front teeth needed replacement, and found her part time jobs cleaning houses.

She’s now half way through grade 10, her English is quite good and she has her sights clearly aimed at attending university (where she hopes to become a social worker). She sufficiently impressed her employers so she now supports herself and her family with 4 different cleaning jobs, and no longer requires EYC financial assistance. She says her life is going great. She’s also very busy!

Please help us to help more high-potential young people like Pisey and get them on the track they deserve to be on.While enjoying the excesses of the holidays, we hope you consider sharing with someone like Pisey. You might be glad you did!If you can help please make a donation – the students will be very appreciative. Please make a tax free contribution by clicking here.

Happy Holidays!


Permalink to Lakeside School – a small community school with a big heart!

Lakeside School – a small community school with a big heart!

The Lakeside School is a dynamic learning center in a slum community in Phnom Penh serving 160 students each day. Started in 2008, the successes of students coming from this project show that with a hand up young people can be empowered to obtain quality employment and valuable life skills.

07_Lakeside5Lakeside’s programs include 7 hours of English per day for various levels, computer classes throughout the day and evening, a weekly medical clinic, biweekly trips to the dentist, reading (in their new library), community organizing, as well as weekend activities including leadership development, an under-14 soccer team, yoga, cycling, and field trips. Currently 8 students are given financial support for their high school or university education and EYC’s job placement service is open to all. The kids really enjoy going to class and teachers incorporate life skills training and fun activities into teaching lessons. Outside of the school are tough conditions for living with run-down shanty houses, garbage, people drinking, gambling, and in some cases neglecting children, while inside the mood is cheerful and the staff and volunteers are positive.

Lakeside School is primarily an after-school program since government schools teach only 4 hours each day. During the morning and afternoon students are primary school-age, while in the evening they are in high school and university, as well as youth who have dropped out of school and are working, unemployed, or underemployed. Lakeside has an excellent network of supporting partners, committed Cambodian staff, international and local volunteers, and a student team leader group that volunteers and runs much of the operations of the school. Lakeside is more than a school since it is also a favorite gathering place for like-minded young people who are on their way to somewhere better. The school is open most of the day and serves multiple purposes including a gathering/play area for young kids, it has 2 sinks with soap for anyone to use, books for people to read on-site or borrow, and computers with Internet.

At the heart of the school is some excellent staff including Ky Hao, the English teacher from 6:30 to 8:30pm (2 different levels). He is a graduate of a government university “Institute of Foreign Languages” (IFL) and has a bachelor’s degree in English Teaching. He has a grasp of the English language far beyond most non-native speakers. Ky Hao likes to use current events as part of his lessons which also serve to engage students in social issues happening in their country.

lakeside_43Veng Chenghuor is a 20 year old student who has studied at Lakeside School since 2009. She is now a 2nd year university students and has 2 jobs. Chenghuor says “the best part of Lakeside School is her teacher Ky Hao because he is hard working, has good ethics, makes good lesson plans and asks students lots of questions. He also makes class fun and explains things well.” Another thing she likes is that “the school is close to my house and is free for students in the community to study. It is also a place where the community can have a meeting and children can gather to take action, such as a garbage clean-up.”

EYC has plenty of challenges to be able to work in the chaotic slum environment, but the involvement from the people in the community help to make things go smooth. In 2013-2014 additional students will be awarded scholarships to continue their studies at university and EYC is seeking donors to make this possible.


Permalink to XO Laptop Program Successfully Enters Its Second Year

XO Laptop Program Successfully Enters Its Second Year

The XO is not a “traditional” laptop used as a tool to get things done. It also is not a tool to “just” play games. Rather it can be viewed as a tool that familiarizes children with some of the technology and features used in “traditional” laptops while building knowledge and critical thinking skills. The XO software encourages users to learn through exploration and expression. It engages children in acquiring knowledge based on their interests and allows them to utilize built-in technologies to share and critique their work.

When the Cambodian NGO P.R.I.D.E. (a partner of One Laptop per Child [OLPC]), donated 25 XO laptops to EYC last September, we immediately were excited about the opportunity to enhance the learning experience and foster the technical and information acquiring skills of our younger students via the XO laptop.

The XO was designed and built especially for children in developing countries. It features a screen that is readable under direct sunlight, is energy efficient, and tolerates the high temperatures and humidity of Cambodia. Moreover, it comes complete with a keyboard that has Khmer language character and some software supporting Khmer.

After receiving these laptops we developed and implemented an XO class held thrice a week at our Aziza school for students between 9 and 14 years of age. Given the students’ excitement and learning progress through this program we are now in the process of offering the XO program to students at our Youth School and if enough XO laptops can be obtained, at all EYC schools.

Our students love learning and gaining their first computer experiences with this device. As 10-year old XO student Kirng  Sophy told his teacher, “I like to learn with the XO. Now I know some programs. When I know how to use new programs I feel so happy”.

What excites us most about offering the XOs to our students is the focus on self-directed learning. I firmly believe and have personally observed how it improves a young student’s critical thinking skills and simultaneously fosters empowerment; thus directly supporting EYC’s objectives. Cambodia’s wealthier children often have this type of access, and hopefully soon all interested children in the poor communities EYC serves will have too.

For general program or technical information you may contact Kunthy Teng, our IT Manager at tsokunthy@gmail.com

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