CamKids has partnered with an organisation named Empowering Youth in Cambodia ("EYC"), and has been providing funding since January 2010 to help build this project and expand their work. EYC has 3 schools in very poor (slum) communities around Phnom Penh which aim to develop strong young people and thereby help them escape the cycle of poverty. These schools have had a huge impact on the communities which they serve and are a great success.
The schools/community centers offer English language, computer skills, leadership, job placement, medical, dental, sport and art activities, as well as intervention to keep kids on track, such as family support and scholarships. In 2010 CamKids also started funding EYC’s medical program which is a great success and has served thousands of poor children and their families - providing much needed medical and dental care, as well as health training. CamKids also funds EYC's Community Organizer, Nareth, to connect the resources of the schools with the student’s families, as well as to build the capacity of their students and staff.
EYC’s founder Drew McDowell comments: "CamKids' help is appreciated in more ways that can be conveyed, since it has done so much good. They came with the intention of real partnership, asking questions, discussing ideas and have been a huge help to shape the organisation to become more effective, as well as connecting us with resources."
In January 2011 CamKids started to provide funding to cover the cost of operations for EYC’s Lakeside School. Located on the shore of a now filled-in lake (to make way for commercial and residential development), Lakeside School has been helping in this shanty-town community since 2008, and now is seeing many of the students through their transition from High School to University. Thanks to a base of talented and hardworking Student Team Leaders, Lakeside School has enjoyed great success with many programs under local leadership.
Lakeside has regular classes for English language and computer skills for their 120 students who live in the community around the school. However, extra-curricular activities are what really make the school special and are essential for building critical thinking and life skills. Lakeside offers training in various topics of leadership, Youth Legal Rights, Community Organizing, Health and Hygiene, IT, Yoga and Art, as well as a football team, a gym and aerobics club and a traditional dance group that performs for parties. The student team leaders volunteer to run the many activities, including the medical clinic on Saturday nights (medical professionals see an average of 40 patients per night) and trips to the dental university (where they receive free treatment thanks to CamKids funding of this project as well).
By creating a school in the heart of a poor community EYC has been on the frontline in the fight for child rights and CamKids is proud to play a key role in building strong and independent young people. EYC’s WEBSITE provides more detail on all of EYC’s programs and some stories about Lakeside School. The School has a very dynamic manager (former student) named Phearith, who has created a blog for the school, which can be viewed HERE.