Frequently Asked Questions

If you can’t find the answer to your question on this page, then feel free to drop us a line.

What is UWS?

UWS is a charity that provides children in remote and marginalised areas of Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal with access to a primary education. UWS teaches the unreached.

How many schools does UWS currently have?

As of April 2017, UWS has 78 schools open or in development across Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal. Takok Phnong School, Ratanakiri, Cambodia (Built 2010)

How many children does UWS reach?

By the start of 2017, the total number of children UWS had enrolled was over 13,000 children.

Why do these children need UWS?

These children are some of the 57 million worldwide who have no access to education. Commonly, this is due to their villages being too remote for government education provision to reach them. Many also speak indigenous languages which prevent them from accessing state education. Subsequently these children have no way of escaping the cycle of poverty they are born into.

What are the children taught?

The children at UWS are taught their national curriculum; this includes how to UWS gives educational opportunity to some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children.speak their national language as well as basic reading, writing and maths.

How does the curriculum work in parallel with the state system?

The long-term goal is for UWS community schools to become fully integrated into the education system of the country. We follow the national curriculum guidelines but then supplement this with locally relevant tasks which develop young people’s life skills within their communities. This might include managing and sustaining a school vegetable garden, taking part in music lessons or playing sport activities.

We work with the local communities and authorities to help create viable pathways to government secondary schools where children require this.

How does a basic education help the children?

Children who can read, write and speak their country’s national languages have a more prosperous future. Education enables poor communities to help themselves. Educated young people can support their village and find meaningful employment. Literate and numerate young people have more job options available to them, and are less vulnerable to child trafficking and exploitation. For girls, a basic education allows access to a life beyond agriculture and an early marriage. Learning about basic healthcare helps combat disease and improves health, meaning more children are able to attend school and learn.

How is UWS financed?

UWS is financed through our fund-raising, private donations and the Partner School programme.

What are the operating costs?

It costs $30,000 to build a school and the running costs of each school are $10,000 a year.

What about your overheads and administration costs?

Minimising administration costs and maximising transparency are important considerations for all charities – and we encourage all donors to ask what the impact of any donation will be.

Funding from our School Partners is restricted to in-country costs that directly affect their school. No School Partnership money goes towards the adminstration costs of UWS.

In 2015, less than 10% of UWS expenditure was spent on core administration costs and this was funded through voluntary giving from individual donors and specific funding from trusts and foundations.

What are Partner Schools?

These are schools located worldwide who have joined with UWS to support one of the UWS schools. The relationship is mutually beneficial, with a commitment to active global citizenship to establish and sustain educational opportunity. Each partnership is slightly different, depending on the school. For all partner schools, students have a real life, individual ‘window on world’ resulting in more rounded, globally aware and charitable young people. In turn, the partner school raises funding to support the UWS school they are partnered with.

How do children in Partner Schools benefit?Kor Nork School with Local Teachers and UWS Volunteer Teaching Assistants, Ratanakiri, Cambodia

Through partnering with a UWS community school, students have an opportunity to become active global citizens and the UWS programme can be embedded into the curriculum, enriching subjects such as Citizenship, PSHE, Geography and the International Baccalaureate CAS programme. UWS partnering enables schools to empower pupils to foster and develop global citizenship perspectives and positive attitudes and behaviour towards stewardship and the principles of sustainable development.

How many Partner Schools are there?

At present there are more than 100 Partner Schools from 20 countries across the globe.

Tell me more about the impact of the UWS Schools

Through the UWS schools, over 13,000 children are learning or have learnt how to read, write and count.  The impact is best told by those we are working with:

We are a farming community. And through deforestation we are losing our land – so our future as a community is changing. We know our futures depend on our children being able to read, write and add up. Village Chief, Takok Charai Village.

This is supported by a huge range of statistics:

  • If all students in low income countries left school with basic reading skills 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty. This is equal to a 12% cut in global poverty.
  • One extra year of schooling increases an individual’s earnings by up to 10%.
  • Wages, agricultural income and productivity – all critical for reducing poverty – are higher where women involved in agriculture receive a better education.
  • Each additional year of schooling raises average annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth by 0.37%
  • Children born to educated parents are 50% more likely to survive past 5
  • Education improves tolerance and gives greater awareness of rights and confidence to make decisions that improve life chances
  • Education reduces children’s vulnerability and reduces the number of child marriages

[Sources: ; UNESCO, 2013]

Who runs the schools?

United World Schools commits to running and developing the schools we build through financial support and regular monitoring visits. The community play an integral role in the decision-making processes and school performance monitoring through the formation of a locally nominated representative body, the School Support Committee. UWS does not plan to run the schools indefinitely, we work alongside local governments and aim to transition schools over to local education authorities through a staged exit when possible.

Where does the money I raise/donate go?

UWS values every donation.We invest in more than just materials to build the school, we employ and train local teachers and support staff to run and Rock School - busy as ever, demonstrating the need for a school in the village.maintain them, giving the children in our care the best possible environment in which to learn and develop.

Why doesn’t UWS do child sponsorship?

UWS community schools support entire communities and improves the lives for all the children in our remote villages, not just an individual child. The mechanics of individual sponsoring and recording the progress to the donor are also costly in both time and money. UWS believes it is better to concentrate on the children’s education and channel global citizenship through our school partnering initiatives.

Is UWS affiliated to any political or religious group or movement?

No. Our priority to to provide a basic and effective education for some of the poorest children in the world.

What about child health and nutrition?

We build a water capturing facility and latrines in each village we build a school. We know that education and health are interdependent and malnourished children are unlikely to learn in school. Therefore, we are piloting a nutrition research project in which we are investigating effective and sustainable routes forward that will improve children’s nutrition and learning in the regions in which we operate.

Can I volunteer overseas?

UWS has benefited from many volunteers over the years and we actively encourage cultural and educational exchange experiences amongst the network of partnership schools that actively support and sustain our community schools. We are fortunate enough to be inundated with offers from volunteers to work in our schools, therefore we limit volunteer placements to either skilled and qualified education/health professionals, or young people from our partner schools and organisations. To learn more, visit our Get Involved page or drop us a line.

Are you planning to go in to any other countries?

We primarily want to focus on establishing and developing UWS’s educational model in remote communities in Cambodia, Nepal and Myanmar. In the future, we will expand to work in other countries where communities meet the criteria in which the UWS educational model will be effective.

Cambodia's got talent!

School Partner Volunteer leading group tuition – learning to play the recorder at UWS Roy School.

If I give my details and sign up to the newsletter, will I be bombarded with emails/junk mail?

UWS will solely send you one email per month containing our short e-newsletter – so why not keep in touch and subscribe to our newsletter today. Additionally, you can choose to follow us on Facebook or Twitter. UWS does not share your details with any third party organisation whatsoever.

How is UWS governed?

UWS is a charity and is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. We are a registered charitable company in Hong Kong. UWS is governed by a Board of Trustees that set out our strategic direction and ensures that proper records are kept as required by legislation. The Board, which is made up of unpaid volunteers, provide UWS with a breadth of experience and expertise and meets quarterly.