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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Irish and Khmer join together in a community partnership

Irish and Khmer join together in a community partnership


SAVE Children In Asia (SCAO), a Cambodian NGO dealing with the need to educate impoverished children in the Kingdom, has recently opened its newest project in the village of Som Roung Lehr, near the Chan Boray Vong Pagoda off Kilomet 5: a school for more than 350 children who live in social isolation there.

The school will offer free English classes, creativity resources, games, sporting and gaming resources and ongoing support for the children and young people living there, and will also act as a community centre for the entire village.

The school was funded by SCOOP (Supporting Children Out Of Poverty), an Irish organisation  that is also involved with a school for street children in Varanasi, India and continues to impress in its own country as an innovative, forward-thinking non-profit organisation.

The school was opened with an official ceremony last month and saw 180 children register to attend the classes taking place there, and to become involved with the centre on an on-going basis.

The new school in Som Roung Ler has three classrooms and sleeping quarters for up to 12 volunteers who wish to live and teach there and both organisations are seeking teachers and volunteers to become involved with the school.

All potential volunteers and teachers will be checked with the Cambodian organisation A.P.L.E. before being allowed to work or stay at the centre. Daily volunteers and visitors, says SCAO, are most welcome to visit the school to help with classes and the general running of the centre.

Visitors can bring items such as food, books, stationary, games, instruments and similar needed products and can contact SCAO director Sath Samith at

SCAO, a non-profit NGO, began in 2007 by Sath and his wife, using their small amount of savings and by March the following year volunteers arrived to help the new enterprise along with up to 40 children from the village attending classes six days a week.

Sath has developed a close and mutual bond with the Irish SCOOP organisation.

From small early beginning the school developed a growing “family” then SCOOP entered the picture helping transform the centre with extra bedrooms, classrooms and other amenity areas.

Then came the new challenge, a completely new school about 20kms outside the capital Phnom Penh and it is that multi-storey structure with classrooms, accommodation, work and study areas, modern kitchen and toilet facilities and much more, that opened at the beginning of August.

For those who may be interested in teaching at the new school, CVs for these positions can be sent to SCOOP founder Andy Sweeney at

More information on these organisations that have made such a telling partnership in seeking to save children out of poverty by supporting their education and communities can be found at and for SCOOP by visiting



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