College Scholarships for Young Women in Cambodia

by The Chelly Foundation Inc.
College Scholarships for Young Women in Cambodia
College Scholarships for Young Women in Cambodia
College Scholarships for Young Women in Cambodia
College Scholarships for Young Women in Cambodia
College Scholarships for Young Women in Cambodia
College Scholarships for Young Women in Cambodia
College Scholarships for Young Women in Cambodia
College Scholarships for Young Women in Cambodia
College Scholarships for Young Women in Cambodia
College Scholarships for Young Women in Cambodia
College Scholarships for Young Women in Cambodia
College Scholarships for Young Women in Cambodia
Srey Nich
Srey Nich

I wish to thank all of our donors for their continued support.  Cambodia is having some success now in vaccinating individuals, and I can report that conditions are improving in both the local villages we work in as well as in Phnom Penh where our Chelly Scholars are hoping to return to in-person classes at area universities soon.  School is not back to normal yet, but there is hope on the horizon. In particular, in and around Chum Kiri primary school and high school children have returned to classes.  And some of our university scholars who were in Chum Kiri have returned to Phnom Penh to resume their studies.

Last Fall, thanks to our donors including those at GlobalGiving, eight Chelly Scholars obtained degrees at local universities, seven of whom were young women.  Two additional students are expected to graduate by the end of this year, and after that there are a remaining thirteen Chelly Scholars (twelve young women) currently in our program.  We will certainly be inviting other young women to receive scholarships in the future, providing that we receive the donations to do so.

I wish to take a moment here to have everyone read letters recently received from two of our recent graduating scholars, Srey Pich and Srey Nich (family names withheld).  The letters show the kind of remarkable success we have achieved in transforming the lives of young women from a very poor part of Cambodia.  It is a testament to your generosity on the GlobalGiving platform and elsewhere that we have been able to change the lives of these women for the better.

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Letter from Srey Pich:

Dear The Chelly Foundation board of directors and donors,

My name is Srey Pich.  I am from Kampot Province.  I am from a poor family, and there are four members in my family. My mother is a farmer. I received the Chelly Scholarship in 2016. I was very happy that I got this scholarship. This program provided me 4-year scholarship at a university in Phnom Penh. I studied for a bachelor degree at Asia Euro university. My major was Finance and Banking. I graduated in 2020.

I would like to tell you how The Chelly Foundation helps to success in my life.  First of all,when I finish my bachelor degree I got a good job at a company in Phnom Penh. I can help my Family. I am really so happy that I can help my family.

Now I am working at Pheng Huoth construction.  My position is Cost Accounting.  I like my job because in my job I can get a decent salary.   I can meet other people and I can work with them to get new ideas.

My Mom is very happy to see my life has been changed and that I can look forward to a bright future.

Finally, I would like to say thank you so much to The Chelly Foundation board of directors and all donors for providing me this scholarship.  Especially thank you to Mr. Jason, teacher Ess, teacher Samorn, and sister Nan.  They are always pay attention to my studies and give good advice to me.  I wish all good health.  Thanks for reading.

Letter from Srey Nich:

Dear Chelly Foundation,

My name is Srey Nich, I was born in Chres village, Chres commune, Chumkiri district, Kampot province. Today, I work at AEON bank in Phnom Penh. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in banking and finance from Asia Europe university in 2020. I received a scholarship from The Chelly Foundation. The Chelly Foundation changed my life.  I have come from having a poor family life to becoming a socially recognized child who had a good job and was able to earn on her own. I was a person who was afraid of not daring to face many people, but after I came to study in Phnom Penh, I dared to confront with many people, and dared to apply for jobs interview on my own. You have changed my life from a little girl in a poor family to becoming what I am today.

Finally, I would like to say thank you so much to The Chelly Foundation for providing me with this scholarship. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Thanks and have a great day.

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Again, thanks to all who have contribued to our continuing scholarship program aimed at providing a select number of graduating seniors from Chum Kiri high school with the chance to receive a university degree, leading to a better life for them and for their families.

Srey Pich
Srey Pich
Srey Pich
Srey Pich
Srey Nich
Srey Nich

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Jakkrya & Rina delivering food to poor families
Jakkrya & Rina delivering food to poor families

As everyone knows, COVID-19 is a worldwide phenomenon.  As I write this, in Cambodia currently there are restrictions on travel in-country, and many schools at all levels are intermittently closed.  Universities are conducting online learning where they can, but are otherwise closed to face to face classroom teaching.  Accordingly, there have been disruptions in the lives of our Chelly Scholars.  Some have been staying in Phnom Penh with friends and family.  Others are back in Chum Kiri District, where they grew up and went to school. Our students are doing the best they can to cope in continuing their education in difficult circumstances.  These circumstances have been made more difficult by the loss in some cases of part-time jobs due to economic conditions caused by the pandemic.  These jobs helped supplement student income as well as providing extra funds for their families back home.  In cases of hardship while in school, The Chelly Foundation is assisting with providing additional school supplies and other needed items.

Despite all of the hardships, I can report that our students still very much care about their home community.  For example, two of our Chelly Scholars who reside at the Harpswell Foundation spent time in faciitating the delivery of food to over a dozen of the poorer families in the local area these students came from.  

The Chelly Foundation is committed to making sure that all of the young women in our scholarship program have what they need to continue their university education through to graduation, even during a pandemic. Let's all hope that conditions improve in Cambodia and elsewhere.

In the meantime, we remain so grateful for all the wonderful support we continue to receive from our donors.  We cannot thank you enough.

Food & supplies in truck
Food & supplies in truck
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Rina with creative writing certificate
Rina with creative writing certificate

To all Chelly Foundation Friends and Donors: 

It is with a great deal of pride and joy that I provide this update.  As remarkable as it is, we now have two of our Chelly Scholars being admitted into The Harpswell Foundation, a leadership academy for the best and brightest young women in all of Cambodia.   The mission of the Harpswell Foundation is to equip young women with the leadership skills in order to create and inspire positive social change. Here is how a US former Ambassador described Harpswell when it was founded in 2003:

Harpswell Foundation is a U.S.-based NGO that offers talented young women from the provinces an opportunity to help themselves and their community by assisting them with education, housing, and leadership training. The women of Harpswell are studying at some of Cambodia’s best universities, and the first graduates of the program are already going on to do amazing things in Cambodia and beyond.” – William Todd, Former US Ambassador to Cambodia.

Harpswell students live together while going to universities in Phnom Penh, where they are provided with an immersive program giving them every opportunity to learn about the greater world, through expert speakers and a wide range of extra-curricular programs.

Harpswell only admits 20 or so young women each year from all of Cambodia, after interviewing potential admittees from high schools around the country.  The fact that two young women from the villages we work in have been admitted to Harpswell is nothing short of extraordinary.

Two years ago, one of our Chelly Scholars, Jakkrya, was admitted into Harpswell -- the first girl graduating Chum Kiri high school (where the Chelly Library is situated) ever given the opportunity to attend Harpswell.   She was admitted after the Chelly Foundation sought out senior staff at Harpswell to consider inviting for the first time the principal at the Chum Kiri High School to submit names and applications from students in the villages we work in.   

Jakkrya has gone on to distinguish herself at Harpswell, including by participating and winning awards in debate tournaments, as well as spending substantial time engaged in humanitarian activities and programs.  Jakkrya is now a sophomore at the University of Cambodia.

Our latest Chelly Scholar is Rina, who just graduated from Chumkiri High School this past Fall.  She received a creative writing certificate after participating in a week-long program by the Writing Through nonprofit organization, and sponsored by our charity at the local high school. She will have similar opportunities to shine while at Harpswell and while she pursues her studies on a full-ride scholarship from the Chelly Foundation.

I should add that Harpswell requires that each of its admitted students receive scholarships from other organizations to have students stay enrolled at universities.  

All of our Chelly Scholars, both those who have graduated (8 so far), and all of the students still in college, have had their lives transformed by having scholarships given to them by our charity.   Because of you, these young women will continue their journeys to obtaining a university degree and a better life.

Thank you.  

Jakkrya with debating awards
Jakkrya with debating awards

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We have terrific news to report: as of this Fall, eight of our Chelly Scholars have received university degrees.   This is a life-changing experience for each of them, which could not have been possible without the support of donors to The Chelly Foundation.   Here are passages from a few of the letters received from the students: 

My name is Channary.  I am from Chumkiri district, Kampot probince.  I come from a poor family.  My father and mother are farmers.  I am very lucky that I got a full scholarship from The Chely Foundation  I am veru happy because my dream has become true.  Now I have graduated with my bachelor degree at Vanda Institute, with my major in accounting.  My parents are so happy.  Now that I have a job, I can help my younger sisyter to continue her study.  She is a good student.  I will help to continue her study at a university the same as me.  I would like to say thank you so much to The Chelly Foundation and all donors who make my dream come true.  Your donation provided me with a positive change in my life.

My name is Srey Nich.  Today I am working at a bank in Phnom Penh.  I graduated with a bachelor's degree in banking and finance from Asia Europe University in 2020.  I received a scholarship from The Chelly Foundation that changed my life from a child who was desperate for education due to a poor family life, to a socially recognized person who has a good job and is able to earn a living on her own.  I was a person who was afraid of daring to face many people, but after I came to study in Phnom Penh, I dared to stop in front of many people, and dared to apply for a job interview on my own.  I would like to thank The Chelly Foundation for providing me with this scholarship.

My name is Srey Leap.  I am 22 years old.  I have three siblings, and I am the eldest in the family.  After graduating from high school, I dreamed of going to university.  But my family was poor and could not afford to send me to continue my education.  I was one of the lucky ones to receive a scholarship from The Chelly Foundation.  My family and I are very happy that the organization has helped me achieve my goal.  I am very thankful to the organization because after completing my four year bachelor's degree sat Asia Europe University, I changed. [I have a] new life, new experiences, a good job, know good people, made me more creative. I have income to help provide my family.  Finally, I would like to say thanks and wish the organization continues to move forward in in helping children who are incapable of continuing their education to achieve their goals.  Without the organization's funds, my life would not be where it is today.  Thank you so much The Chelly Foundation.  I love The Chelly Foundation.

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The Chelly Foundation is currently supporting 15 young women who are continuing their studies at universities, including at the Royal University of Phnom Penh and the University of Cambodia.  One of our scholars is a resident at the prestigious Harpswell Foundation, a leadership academy for students at university, who I will provide an update on in a future report.  She has promoted a younger girl finishing high school this year, who we have accepted as one of our Chelly Scholars in the coming semester.     Our program continues to be a vibrant way to transform young women's lives from a very poor, rural community.  We can continue to offer these wonderful opportunities with your support.

Thank you.

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I am happy to report that despite the COVID-19 pandemic happening all around the world, all of our Chelly Scholars remain safe and healthy.   As of March 2020, universities in Phnom Penh suspended in-person classes.   But our students have continued to engage in online learning as best they can.  Some of the students returned to their home villages in Chum Kiri district, and others have elected to stay in Phnom Penh.  Here is a letter I received this week from Sokthai, one of our current 22 scholars:

"First, I would like to thank you again for selecting me as a recipient of [a scholarship from] The Chelly Foundation.  I am now a sophomore student at National University of Management in Phnom Penh.

As you know the whole world is suffering from Corona virus, so most of the countries are in lockdown.  In Cambodia, the government decided to close all the schools and [invited[ students to study with online classes.  In this period, it's very hard for me to go anywhere or go to work because some companies are off -- thus I decided to leave Phnom Penh back to my hometown.  I a staying home and learning in online classes in the evening,  My school uses two apps for students to learn online One is Google meet for teaching and one more is Google classroom for testing or exams.  For my online class its okay for me.  I still keep learning well and also know more about technology during this period."

Sokthai went on to say:

"I hope you and your famiy are safe and well. Don't forget to weark a mask when you go out and please be aware to wash your hands more often berfore touching to face, eye, mouth, and food.  Any risk of sickness can be happening anytime.  Please kindly take care of yourself.  Thank you again for your donations and always [caring] for me.  I hope to see you in person next year or one day.  With kind regards and best wishes."

Such a beautiful letter, written in almost flawless English!   Many scholars have written to me with similar sentiments. 

Like Sokthai, some of our students have lost their part-time jobs due to lack of tourism in hotels or businesses shutting down.  They were in those jobs to obtain needed skills as well as to help better support their families.  Even though their life is now harder, I have assured each and everyone one of our students that we will continue to support them with scholarships through their graduation from college.  

As I have said before, none of the students receiving Chelly Foundation scholars could ever have afforded the opportunity to go to college without your help.  And the good work we are doing is paying extra dividends: for example, one of our students, Channary, who graduated with a degree in accounting and is now studing for a second college degree in English, intends to support her younger sister going to college as well in the Fall.  Both came from extremely poor circumstances back in rural Chum Kiri, as I saw when visiting their home in 2018.   

We will not let COVID-19 deter us in our mission to transform the lives of these young women. On behalf of all of us at The Chelly Foundation, I again thank you for your past donations and continuing support.  

The pictures here of our students were taken mostly before the virus hit Cambodia.  One is from a visit to their home village, a second is from and the countryside around Chum Kiri.  A third is one of our students wearing a mask.  And the fourth picture is a picture of one of our students looking at the Phnom Penh skyline -- I would like to think she is dreaming of a very bright future for herself and her family.  Please everyone stay safe.

 

Looking to a bright future....
Looking to a bright future....

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The Chelly Foundation Inc.

Location: Bethesda, MD - USA
Website:
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Project Leader:
Jason R Baron
Bethesda, MD United States
$12,360 raised of $16,000 goal
 
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