Salariin Kampuchea (affectionately known as SK) translates to “School of Cambodia.” We are a non-governmental (NGO), non-profit, and non-religious organization that provides complimentary English, ICT, and Life Skills classes to disadvantaged children and youth in the Siem Reap area.
SK believes education is essential to helping citizens achieve a better life with the potential for upward mobility. Our guiding values are
Collaboration – We collaborate with parents, volunteers, and our community to expose our staff to new ideas and help our students explore new opportunities.
Respect – Students are in a safe environment where we respect their human rights. Discrimination based on socioeconomic status, gender, etc. is never acceptable.
Responsibility – Our students and staff both undertake the responsibility for learning. We hold our students accountable for regular attendance and our teachers for teaching a variety of styles to help students of all learning types.
Integrity – The administration aims to be transparent in our objectives and how we achieve those goals.
Support – We have created a support system within the community for struggling students and graduating students alike, to provide the building blocks for career prosperity.
Our mission is to empower youth through high quality education to enable them to successfully navigate the Cambodian job market and build a strong future for themselves. We also engage the community by encouraging parents to support their children’s learning and forming relationships with local businesses to provide opportunities for our students.
In the beginning…
In 2003, Anja Rettenmund and Katrin Santschi were volunteering at a landmine museum on the outskirts of Siem Reap’s town center. The Swiss women became aware of a huge demand for education from children in the surrounding village; the children were motivated and eager to learn. The soon-to-be students wanted more than just language classes, they wanted tuition in a range of subjects to create better opportunities for themselves. Anja and Katrin were inspired by how willing the kids were to take on extracurricular lessons and felt compelled to somehow provide what they so desperately desired.
Anja and Katrin began teaching English classes in the village later that year. The aunt of one of the teachers was gracious enough to host the first lessons under her roof. The classes grew, and not even 12 months later, they already had 80 students.
They returned to Switzerland and established a fundraising body and were officially recognized as a non-profit association. Upon returning to Cambodia in 2004, they established Salariin Kampuchea and joined forces with other passionate volunteers to offer a solid English educational program.
Although the initial school building was in the town of Siem Reap, we soon expanded into Chreav, a rural village 5 kilometers outside of the town. A generous group of monks offered to host our lessons in their pagoda. Chreav would eventually become our primary project region.
Almost a decade later…
In 2012, SK consolidated to one building based in Chreav. Over the previous decade, the education opportunities for communities around the Siem Reap town center exploded and we decided to focus our efforts on our more marginalized students. By having a school in Chreav, we can reach more rural populations, but still connect them with opportunities within the town of Siem Reap. This year was also momentous because control of SK was handed over to local staff, although the founders have remained on the board of directors. The staff within the school is all Khmer, working together to lift the communities they grew up in out of poverty.
Since 2004, we have grown significantly. We are now able to offer our students computer classes in a computer lab that has 10 computers. We also have a beautiful library with many books. Our Life Skills classes equip our older students with the skills and knowledge to navigate the competitive job market. The students also enjoy participating in our annual football games. We have plans to continue growing and partnering with other organizations so that we can better provide for our students.