Merryn Quilford

Educational support for children in rural Cambodia

Merryn Quilford 's fundraiser for PONHEARY LY FOUNDATION

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Your donation dollars go directly into supplies and support of the education of children in rural Cambodia.

When I visited Siem Reap in Cambodia In August 2010 I was lucky enough to stay at the Seven Candles Guesthouse which is owned and run by the Ly family, including Ponheary Ly.

The entire Ly family works quietly and passionately to make education available to the disenfranchised in the rural communities and I was touched by their story…

Ponheary grew up in a family where education was important.

Her father was a teacher, and she and her siblings knew the value of education.

Early in life she took advantage of opportunities to learn and expand her knowledge, but all of that changed when the Khmer Rogue took power.

The Khmer Rogue abolished education and killed many of the intellectuals and educators in Cambodia during its rule of the country, including Ponheary’s father and thirteen of her family members.

In the aftermath of the regime, Ponheary and her surviving family members worked to rebuild their lives. Ponheary became a teacher. It is during her teaching years that she began supporting students and extra programs at the schools where she worked.

When asked how to best address the challenges of poverty in her country, Ponheary’s answer is always the same: “We will educate our children. We will do it one by one, step by step”.

It all started with one student. Ponheary Ly, who served as a teacher and later tour guide in Cambodia, had a passion for education. Living a portion of her life in poverty, Ponheary knew the struggles that children in rural Cambodia faced when trying to attend school. Starting with just one student, Ponheary began what has grown into the Ponheary Ly Foundation sponsoring over 2,000 students in four primary schools and five secondary schools through rural northwestern Cambodia.

The Ponheary foundation, among other things is currently fundraising for two special projects…

Srayang Secondary School Dormitory

This year there are 11 girls from the village of Koh Ker continuing their education at secondary school in Srayang, 20km from their village. The Ponheary Ly foundation is providing a home for these students in Srayang so that they can be supported in their education.

$720 will support one girl for one year of schooling. It will provide school supplies and uniforms, along with breakfast, lunch and dinner and a housemother to supervise the household and support the girls.

The motivation shown by these girls is incredible. They are dedicated to their continuing education, believing that that it will give them a better future. Hopefully they will be able to show others in their village that it is possible to continue their educations!

Continued Education for English Teachers

The Ponheary Ly Foundation currently supports 9 teachers that are enrolled at the Australian Centre for Education, and English Language School in Siem Reap.

It costs $180 per teacher per semester, so $720 per year per teacher.

All students in Cambodia who continue secondary school must study English and pass and English exam to be able to graduate. Many University courses are taught in English, with English textbooks.

Second languages are much easier to learn when you start at a young age and students are more successful in secondary school if they have already learnt English at primary school.

Even for those kids in rural communities that complete upper secondary schooling, being able to speak English is a plus when looking for employment in the Siem Reap area when tourism is a big industry.

There is a shortage of English teachers in rural schools in Cambodia and therefore it makes sense that English teachers that continue their English education will be better able to teach English in the classroom.

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Organization Information

PO BOX 17034
AUSTIN, TX 78760



The PLF works to ensure that children in the villages around Siem Reap, Cambodia, have the opportunity to attend school.

EIN: 204277315

Reports: Guidestar

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