About Us

Helping Education

Improving education to raise their opportunities in life.

The situation

We do not aim to solve all the problems of improving education in Cambodia, but we do take note of all the items in the report on Education in Cambodia.

Our focus is to improve the Information Technology at schools because Cambodia is behind comparable schools in South East Asia. Our objective is to accelerate the use of IT in the schools and engage more students in IT. From there we can help them move into a career in the same. This will bring them a good job and salary to match. The country desperately needs more IT skills in order to grow the economy. Apart from IT, we need to improve the English education as it is needed for IT – and we try to help students from a poorer background.

These are some of challenges we face in improving education for schools and students.

The challenges

In rural Provinces like Kampong Thom the average wage is $150 per month. Most student’s parents speak little English and have no experience of IT. They appreciate education is important and are supportive of their children. Schools lack resources compared to equivalent schools in SE Asia. 

We provide help schools, teachers and students by providing external experience to help teaching and introduce IT solutions. 

forest in Cambodia

It is recognised at the highest levels of government Cambodia is lacking IT skills. The prime solution is through education. That training has to start as soon as possible – certainly by Grade 10 (age 15).

Our objective is to help schools with IT, but it is difficult when there is little use of IT within the school. We help the school introduce technology and from there grow the understanding and use within the school.

students in Cambodia writing exams

In Cambodia, there are few women in IT, and the numbers in training at University dismally low (source USAid). There are a few initiatives in Phnom Penh to help girls get into IT (eg Sisters of Code). We support these.

In rural areas there are pressures for girls to work at home. Lack of understanding of IT from their parents does not give them encouragement. We commit to spending time promoting IT to girls and encourage them on this journey.

No-one today should look this unwell as the girl we have featured on this site and social media. With the help of teachers and the Director we will provide some funds to enable these young people to complete their education.

We need your help. It is surprising what £10 / $10 per month can make to someone’s life. Just look at our pictures.

Student 4 months later well again

If a school only has Excel to help manage teachers and students, then the appreciation of the benefits from IT solutions will be missed. Similarly, if the only training is on Microsoft Office, the students will gain no real knowledge of the many aspects of IT.

Using our experience we are helping schools bring in School Management Systems, we are providing hosted website development and reviewing the IT infrastructure. If we can improve their internal use of IT, then it is expected that this will translate to more understanding from teachers and students.

Teacher training

Schools are forced to turn science teachers into IT teachers because of the lack of experienced IT people. Many English teachers are trained by locals whose English is not great.

Our aim is to provide more experience. For English teachers we will provide refresher days, and show them what more is available on the Internet. For IT we will involve them in the IT projects to boost their knowledge and confidence. After that, improving education through external courses is next. Then they will really benefit the students.

The challenge to improving education in English is significant. Teachers need refreshers and given motivation with new ideas. Admin staff need to be trained in English – for the new English based school management applications.

Students rarely get an opportunity to speak to foreigners to gain experience because there are so few of them in rural areas. Books are old, and more variety is needed to boost interest. 

Our aim is to give experience, advice and encouragement – and funding some books would always be useful.

students with pens

Background

When you come from a background in IT management and teaching profession in wealthier countries it is difficult to imagine the challenges young people go through to get an education. 

We first met the young people from a school in rural Cambodia in 2018 and were overwhelmed by their friendliness and desire to progress their education. This has inspired us to help them. We have put together projects to give them more chance to succeed in a career. Read about the latest news here, or about our achievements.

To Grow An Orchid is a Charitable Trust established in early 2019

The Trustees

Dave Hunt
Robert David Hunt

Former CEO of a software company. Spent his working life in IT, lived in New Zealand, South Africa and US. Hobbies; technology, wine, cricket and travel. Became involved with schools in Cambodia in 2018. Founded the charity in early 2019 when he realised how much help they needed with Technology.

Ken Hughes
Ken Hughes

Former Chief Technical Officer. Passionate about Technology. Originally from the Isle of Bute, Scotland. Served 11 years in the Royal Signals before moving into IT and Software. Keen ultra-runner, completed 4 x 100 mile (160km) races in southern England in 2019. Involved with the charity since the outset.

teacher alan clarke
Alan Clarke

Was a teacher in Leicestershire, England before heading out to Asia and running a golf management/events company operating across most of South East Asia. Now lives in Thailand and is back in the teaching profession, responsible for  English in a local Thai school. Has been involved with the charity since the beginning. 

james_meston to grow an orchid
James Meston

31 years in the Financial Services industry. Trustee of another charity involved in student advancement and education. Loves football and cricket – can’t play either well. Rank amateur triathlete although completed Ironman Wales in 2015. Devoted to his wife, dog and kids but not necessarily in that order!

Are you a school/institute in Cambodia needing help with Information Technology?

If you have seen the project(s) we have done so far and think you need help in moving forward with Information Technology projects for the School, Teachers or Students, then please get in contact with us. We look forward to hearing from you.

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