Cambodia: Phnom Penh Dormitory
Type: Human Needs / Welfare
Funding Need: $12,000 USD annually
Only a small proportion of Cambodian youth engage in tertiary education. High levels of poverty, poor financial management, corruption in the schooling system and low quality schooling in the provinces mean that provincial students struggle to enter and remain in the tertiary system. If they drop out once outlays have been made, this creates lasting debts and difficulties for students’ whole families. Students can struggle to house themselves once arriving in the expensive urban areas, too. Social workers report that this risks adoption of dangerous lifestyles: males joining gangs, getting involved in drugs and participating in peer-led ‘coming of age’ type sexual assaults; and females risking similar danger, including prostitution.
The Christadelphian Fund “Bethezer” launched the Phnom Penh Dormitory (PPD) in 2008. PPD is a Cambodian-managed project renting property to house 20 male and 20 female provincial students; in order to provide the basic human needs of shelter and primary care. Bethezer sought $10 280 in 2015 from WCF as part of its $40 000 annual budget.
There are crossovers between PPD and educational programs. PPD provides projects that directly benefit the student’s job opportunities and helps families escape poverty. Staff teach English to enhance student’s employability, financial literacy, and counselling to build better awareness of social ills like domestic and child abuse, which are endemic in villages. These programs have given students studying at the dormitory better job skills, support for their study outcomes and allowed for better life choices in a country where violence against women is endemic.
There is also a crossover with preaching work: students have an opportunity to learn about God and study the Bible through voluntary Bible study sessions at the dorms. One study session is held at 0600, before University classes, and is typically very highly attended. Even though the PPD primary mission is to address human need, these programs have produced more than half of the 65 baptisms we have received at the Lord’s Hand in Cambodia; and now worship services are also held at the dorm.
Bethezer requests a bottom line figure of $12 000 annually to keep the dormitories in Phnom Penh running.
Request authors: Bre: Raju Devis (Sydney, Aus), Michael Hewitt (Brisbane, Aus), John Pople (San Francisco, USA)