Cambodia was the start of UWS operations in 2008. Educational opportunities in rural areas of the country were sparse and thousands of children had no opportunity to learn how to read, write and count. Eight years on, in January 2016, 6,000 children attended one of our 32 UWS School in Cambodia, helping us to truly ‘teach the unreached’.
UWS operations in Cambodia started in the Northern Province of Ratanakiri and have now spread to the neighbouring areas of Stung Treng and Mondulkiri. These are areas of huge educational poverty. Research from UNICEF suggests that a child born in the Province of Ratanakiri or Stung Treng is still three times more likely to die before the age of five than a child born in the capital of Phnom Penh. We believe education is one of the most effective ways of ensuring the long term development and security of the communities with whom we work. In communities where we build a school we ensure that the next generation has the opportunity to read, write, count and, ultimately, are empowered to fulfil their potential.
UWS has taken a significant step to build capacity and provide training for those living in the remote communities where we work. In Cambodia alone, we currently train and employ 79 indigenous teachers across the 32 UWS Schools. The impact of this is not only job creation and the injection of real investment into small, local communities but also the development of key transferable skills, such as the ability to speak the national language.
One area that is very important to UWS is the education of girls. In our January data collection, we were delighted to see that 45% of attendees in UWS Cambodia Schools are now girls. This is in contrast to the regional picture where boys are still almost twice as likely to go to school as girls.
We promise not to stop here, our commitment is to extend our reach and offer thousands more children the chance to step into a classroom for the first time.
To have a look at how to support our work take a look here.