Year-End 2014 HVTO Newsletter

In 2014 HVTO made amazing progress: leasing a dormitory in Siem Reap, securing a record number of new sponsorships (and our first university graduates), and adding another 60 wells to the clean water project. In a dramatic expansion, we will shortly begin construction on a new school building adjacent to the existing HVTO School.

HVTO School(s)

In the past year the HVTO English and Computer classes have had an average enrollment of 615 English and 45 Computer students, with many attending in the evening after their public school classes. As mentioned above, we will begin construction of a new school building early this year through a generous donation from Viking Cruises Corporation. With this HVTO has been able to purchase land behind the existing school and pay for the construction of the building. When complete classes will be far less crowded and overall enrollment will rise to about 850 English and 120 Computer students. Many thanks to Viking for making this possible.

Student Sponsorship

This past year also saw 41 additional student sponsorships, increasing our total from 48 at the end of last year to 89. This is especially positive news because in one year we have nearly doubled the number of sponsored students. Because these students are themselves teaching their younger friends, they will form the foundation of a self-supporting educational system in this part of Cambodia. In addition to ensuring the sustainability of the program, there is no better way to learn than to teach. This growth shows the many deserving but unsponsored students that with hard work an education is indeed with their grasp.

In 2014 HVTO reached another milestone with the graduation of our first two university students: Ine Un and Seaklin Meng. Both were able to obtain their university degrees through the generosity of their sponsor, Simon and Ranjeeta Johnson from U.K.

Ine Un

Un is our first HVTO graduate, completing his degree in Faculty of Education, arts and humanities from Angkor University in October, 2014. Teaching at the HVTO School since its inception in 2008, he received his sponsorship in 2010, and in 2013 was promoted to the HVTO Program Director position where he was made responsible for the day-to-day running of the school. The confidence that was shown in him was amply justified by his ability to handle this huge responsibility while he was attending university.
Un, who lives in Sambath Village about 20 km from the HVTO Center, has earned the tremendous respect of everyone that has had the pleasure to meet him. His attitude and hard work are an inspiration to all those around him and we are extremely fortunate that he has agreed to continue to pursue, now full-time, the work that he has been doing at the HVTO Center. This job will soon multiply with the addition of a school building and hundreds of new students. Un is now 26 years old and is, with great anticipation, planning his wedding in February.
 

 

 

 

Meng Seaklin

Seaklin graduated from the University of South-East Asia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting in November, 2014. She has been teaching as a volunteer at the HVTO Center since 2010 when she finished High School.
Born in Sophy Village 23 years ago, Seaklin lives in Siem Reap with her sister. Utilizing the English skills that she acquired through HVTO she has helped support herself and her family working as a cashier at the Lucky Super Market. With the degree that she has earned she is now actively seeking employment as an accountant.
 
Seaklin continues to be active in HVTO, coming to the center to teach when she is not working during the week, and on weekends. She is an ideal role model for all of the younger children who can through her discover what life is like in Siem Reap and see that with hard work they can attain their goals.
 

 

 

 

HVTO University Student Assistance (College Prep Program)

In the past university students from HVTO had to either live with friends, extended family or commute 60 kilometers round-trip daily to classes in Siem Reap. In the culmination of an initiative called the College Prep Program, HVTO has rented a home in Siem Reap that is now being utilized as a dormitory. Originally planned to house about 15 students, the home under lease can accommodate 35 and has a small room that is now serving as the HVTO office. (Our previous office was in the spare room of our founder’s home.) This will help take our students off dangerous streets, give them more study time, and bring them closer to employment possibilities in the ‘Big City’. See photo below.

This project was made possible through the efforts of Ross King, one of our most ardent supporters, who is the founder of the non-profit S.P.A.R.C.K. organization (Schooling Poor and Rural Cambodian Kids) in Canada - http://www.sparcks.org/. Through his connections in the U.K. Ross was able to secure a matchable grant from the PEWT Family Trust which, through the efforts of Patti Baker, chairwoman of HTVO-USA, has enabled us to meet the match and raise about $25,000 for this project. Ross is working to make this a renewable grant and you can keep up with his efforts on behalf of HVTO at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkMviEdUMnA

In a related project Patti, through HTVO-USA, is seeking to purchase a large van in order to more safely transport our students to and from Sophy Village and Siem Reap. Attending Southeast Asia University, our students are required to return to the village weekly to assist HVTO educational programs and mentor younger students. Because education is much more than classroom work, this interaction with the older students provides the younger ones role models and a first-hand account of life outside the narrow confines of the village.

Clean Water

In the last year HVTO has provided wells to 59 additional families and one for the Kontreang Commune Medical Clinic. Having drilled over 8 kilometers in total, HVTO has now completed 344 wells and provided clean water to nearly 2,500 people. We have reached all of the neediest families in Kontreang Commune, with 53 of the 59 wells drilled in 2014 going to Rumdeng Village in Khar Pur Commune. The Rumdeng Village Chief has indicated that there are an additional 20 families that are too poor to have access to clean water. Based on this we expect to complete his village early in 2015 and then begin work in nearby Chhup Village. For more information on the Clean Water Project please visit our website at: http://www.hvto.org/hvto-project/clean-water.html

HVTO recently paid for the Siem Reap Water Quality Laboratory to analyze samples taken from the residence of Hoem Hean in Rumdeng Village. These were taken from the original hand-dug well and the adjacent HVTO well (#304). In brief, the water in the hand-dug well, tapping the near-surface water table, was highly contaminated by disease-causing bacteria. However the well water, naturally filtered through 25 meters of sediment, eliminated all of the disease-causing (E coli) bacteria, leaving only minor amounts of more benign coliforms. For details on the results of these analyses please visit our website at: http://hvto.org/hvto-project/clean-water/why-hvto-clean-water-project.html

Support

Having seen our work first-hand, Viking and Studiosus tour groups are HVTO’s main source of support. Living all over the world, with the aid of modern technology, former guests not only help financially, but also provide administrative assistance. This has been a great help to our founder Sim Piseth who, in addition to his many HVTO responsibilities, is a full-time tour guide that must be away for extended periods of time.

Homestay Teachers Volunteer Organization, Inc., a 501c3 (charitable) organization founded by Patti Baker and incorporated in Florida, is now two years old. Formed to provide tax relief to US citizens who fund HVTO in Cambodia, it simplifies money transfers as well as providing a vehicle for access to large grants that can have a major impact on reaching goals. Patti is in need of volunteers to help continue the HTVO-USA work, so if you are interested, all that’s needed is access to a computer and the ability to use the internet and write e-mails. Patti will be in Cambodia this month volunteer teaching, but to learn more please visit our website at: http://www.hvto.org/about-us/hvto-contacts-in-usa.html.

Again, thank you for reviewing our continuing story and we hope that you share our pride in what has been accomplished.

 

                                              Sim Piseth                                                                                      Seaknam Meng

                                           HVTO Founder                                                                           HVTO General Manager


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