Sovann Komar’s outreach ethos stemmed from our leader, Sothea Arun. After his own harsh childhood, Arun yearns to help as many of his fellow Cambodians as he can. Often, these projects have been aimed at children. Although starting and directing Sovann Komar was a significant and enduring task, Arun still wants to continue his outreach work. And, more importantly, he wants to pass on his passion for doing good to the children now residing under his care.
For years, Sovann Komar conducted one or two projects per year to help the local community. When accompanying the children and Arun on one of these trips, Ruth Lemon, Sovann Komar’s resident English teacher and long-time volunteer, was inspired. Ruth began SKOPE in September 2016, standing for Sovann Komar Outreach Program for Education. SKOPE works with the children in Sovann Komar to identify schools, fundraise money and deliver vital education tools throughout rural Cambodia. They conduct projects approximately once every three months and all of their money comes from outside sources. SKOPE’s projects to date include:
- Donating stationary (books, pens, pencils) and sports equipment (footballs, basketballs, jump ropes, hula hoops) to two primary schools in Kampong Thom province.
- Purchasing U.S. standard motorbike helmets for all of the families within Sovann Komar as well as the students who attend Sovann Komar School and travel by moto.
- Donating classroom supplies such as flashcards, posters, speakers and teaching materials to a fellow NGO in Kampot.
- Through a partnership with Millbrook School, New York, and Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia, SKOPE donated 50 water filters, drilled a water well, planted trees, handed out books and pencils and built a playground at a school in Prey Veng
- Stocking a library with Khmer language books in Kampong Thom province where our first project occurred. We also gave each school a laptop to help them modernise their administrative tasks.
- Launching a volunteer program in partnership with Karuna Youth Cambodia, another NGO who has a school based in Kampong Speu where they provide free English classes and are in need of a native teacher.
- Building a library in Kampong Speu province at the Karuna Youth Cambodia school and stocking it with over 800 English and Khmer language books.
SKOPE involves the children in every stage of the process, teaching them the value of money, the importance of giving, how to organise a project and the donation days themselves. In the past Sovann Komar children have designed Christmas cards, bookmarks and made jewellery to be sold to raise money for Sovann Komar. Their tasks on donation days have included handing out supplies, painting buildings, erecting the playground and reading with local children.