UPDATE: We’ve donated $5,834 to AAfC and the club has now ceased operations, thanks to everyone who supported us. more info here: http://www.rit.edu/sg/cambodianschools/5834-donated-and-were-done/
Students For Cambodian Schools The Problem
In Cambodia, a century of war, political changes, and genocide has absolutely demolished the lives and livelihoods of thousands. The desperate times have lead to a booming industry of human trafficking and child prostitution.
Families struggling to feed themselves will “sell” children to people who promise to find the children decent jobs in the city. In many cases, the children, even children as young as four, are placed in brothels and put to work. Once in, the children have a five year life expectancy due to mistreatment, drugs, and sexually transmitted disease.
The impact of education in Cambodia is incredible. Education gives children and families options, and when there are options, prostitution ceases to be one. Children who receive an education are better able to obtain jobs than they would have otherwise.
Unlike many places around the world, where schools abound but teachers are few, the education bottleneck in Cambodia is the lack of buildings. One of the most powerful long term answers to child prostitution and poverty in Cambodia is to construct and jump start schools in some of the most remote and poverty stricken areas of the country.
Who We Are
In the fall of 2006, students from an English Department honors class at Rochester Institute of Technology decided to take up the cause of children in Cambodia. They organized to fund the construction and staffing of a school in rural Cambodia. The resulting club, called Students for Cambodian Schools, or SCS, has run a number
of increasingly successful fundraisers over the past years and looks forward to continuing a successful program.
Students for Cambodian Schools works with a nonprofit organization called American Assistance for Cambodia, or AAfC, to accomplish two goals: build a school in rural Cambodia, and keep young girls in school. Students for Cambodian Schools has already raised thousands of dollars towards these goals, but we still have a long way to go!
How We Help
One of the programs run by the AAfC is called the Rural Schools Project. Through the Rural Schools Project, $13,000 of donations are matched by the World Bank. These funds are used to build and furnish a grade school and a water well. If a donor gives more than $13,000, AAfC will add school improvements including an English/computer teacher, a bookcase of books, and solar panels to power a computer.
This is the main focus of SCS: to raise $13,000+ to build a school in Cambodia. Once we have raised enough to build the school, we can name it to reflect our club and those in Rochester area who have generously helped us reach our goal. Hopefully we will be able to send a group of students to attend the opening ceremony for the school and meet some of the kids we have helped!
The Girls Be Ambitious program, also run by AAfC, provides incentives to families to keep their daughters in school instead of putting them to work. The Girls Be Ambitious program began when AAfC realized that although their schools were successful, female student attendance was much lower than that of boys. Under further investigation, it was found that families would keep their daughters home due to financial pressures. Just ten dollars a month can ease the financial burdens of a family enough to keep their daughters in school. The incentive is given only for a month of perfect attendance, which AAfC keeps careful tabs on.
Students for Cambodian Schools has decided to support both of these programs by retaining 90% of raised funds to go towards building a school, and sending the other 10% towards keeping girls in school. Club members have chosen to make this split in order to maintain a balance between immediate, small scale (meaning one girl at a time) impacts and larger, longer term impacts.
Over the years, SCS has held a number of successful fundraisers and have received financial donations from RIT students and faculty, friends and family, and from online supporters across the country! Our three most successful fundraisers have been a Coin War, our Quilt Raffle, and our World’s Worst Video Game Marathon.
SCS is raising money, one dollar at a time, to make not only a difference in the lives of children this decade, but in the lives of children in the decades to come. We have fundraisers throughout the year. For more information about our club, please see our umbrella organization:
Kirk Redmond at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Linda Reinfeld at email@example.com
Checks to SCS should be made out to RIT Students for Cambodian Schools Mailing address: Rochester Institute of Technology Clubs Financial Office: Students for Cambodian Schools
127 Lomb Memorial Drive Rochester, NY 14623