As we began doing our research into grassroots organizations in Cambodia working to make positive social change, we came across two which we thought were important to share. We are so excited for this trip and can’t wait to see some of these places first hand.
-Eliana and Juan
The Spitler School Foundation:
In 2005, a man and woman by the name of Danny and Pam Spitler were just a couple of tourists. Sarin, their tour guide, showed them his home village, Ang Chagn Chass (a small village in Siem Reap). Danny and Pam noticed the lack of water and poor schooling these children were getting and decided to donate $400 to build a fresh water well. From that moment a partnership between Danny, Pam, and Sarin was formed. One well grew into two, and soon after was a rebuilding of the broken down school in the village. Five full years later, they founded and were the head of Spitler School Foundation and were responsible for “responsible for two full educational compounds in that village that provide daily learning, English lessons, computer training, and annual medical services to over 1,000 children every year.” Today the organization has a complete staff of locally trained teachers, and over 650 students from kindergarten through 6th grade. A source of pride for the whole community, it has given the students and their families hope for a bright future.
Cambodia’s Children Fund:
In 2003, Hollywood’s very own Scott Neeson traveled to Cambodia and noticed that there were homeless children living in the “dumps” of Stung Meanchey. The only reason these kids were surviving was because they were picking out of the trash for scraps to eat. After returning home, Neeson couldn’t get the image of those kids out of his mind, so he sold his mansion, his yacht, and left the movie business all behind him. His life was now dedicated to the children he so desperately wanted to help. Scott Neeson became Executive Director of the Cambodia Children’s Fund. He oversees about 1,800 students and 10,000 people every year. Because of him, he helped whole communities like Steung Meanchey by focusing on education, health care, nutrition and safe shelter.