The Cambodian Village Fund is a small organization that’s changing lives. It supports children in rural Cambodia, focusing on the village of Kaun Khlong. The village is located about an hour’s drive from Cambodia’s second largest city, Battambang. Cambodia was the site of one of the worst genocides in the second half of the 20th Century. The Khmer Rouge regime systematically killed almost 2 million people with emphasis on the educated class of teachers, professionals, doctors and artists.
There is a powerful Khmer saying, Tork Tork Penh Bampong—drop by drop, water fills the container. This means with hard work and patience, success will come. The Cambodian Village Fund personifies this phrase and Cause Ignitor is helping, drop by drop, taking the next step in this journey toward a better life. The graphic for the featured shirt illustrates the deep roots being planted to support future generations through the power of education. Wearing this shirt will help ignite awareness and send a powerful message of support for the Cambodian Village Fund!
How It All Started
Bill and Nancy Bamberger, a couple of retired San Diegans, are making a difference in a faraway village in Cambodia – and it all came about quite by accident. It was 2006, just a few months before Bill and Nancy’s 40th wedding anniversary, when Nancy was getting her hair cut. Chanra, Nancy’s hair stylist, was chatting about her recent trip to a village in Cambodia to visit relatives. Chanra bought a forty-dollar bicycle for the village to share. With one bike, the villagers can now go to school, to the clinic, to the temple, and to the market.
Bill and Nancy are avid bikers and travelers – so something clicked when Nancy came home that day from her hair appointment thinking “$40 dollars … 40 years of marriage … and a bicycle.” For their 40th wedding anniversary, Bill and Nancy decided to buy another bike for the village. When their friends heard about it, they also wanted to contribute and before long, the donations totaled over $2500!
Because of the generosity and overwhelming support of their friends and family, Bill and Nancy established the Cambodian Village Fund, a non-profit organization. In just over five years, the fund has accomplished a lot—built a 5-classroom school, distributed bikes to kids for transportation to school, given school uniforms to 720 students, supplied playground equipment, set up a microloan program (in conjunction with Microloans4Mothers), brought electricity to the school and established a scholarship fund that helps girls continue their education.
Building a School
The school was completed last fall and the doors were opened when the children returned from summer break. The beautiful new building was completed on time and on budget ($40,000) with a local contractor and laborers. It accommodates 200 students and is the first of 2 classroom buildings planned for the school. Construction on the second building will start when funds become available.
Trip to the Village
In January of 2012, Bill and Nancy traveled to Cambodia along with 25 friends and supporters, to experience Cambodia’s rare beauty and rich history. The video, below, captures the highlight of the trip, the school dedication ceremony.
Trip to the Village
Trip to the Village
Reach for the Sky – Giving Girls A Chance
With seed money from Soroptimist International of La Jolla the Cambodian Village Fund launched a scholarship program, Reach for the Sky. It provides financial assistance to girls from the 7th grade through college who otherwise could not continue their education. Less than half of the girls in rural Cambodia go to school beyond the 6th grade. With a little financial help, girls not only can complete high school, but can go to college. The girls in the Reach for the Sky program are selected based on financial need and their academic potential. There are currently 13 girls in the program—with one in college. They are working hard and setting an example for the other girls in the village to continue their education.
Plans for the Future
In just over five years and with less than $60,000, the Cambodian Village Fund has changed lives in the village of Kaun Khlong by making every dollar count. With your help, even more can be done. Plans for the coming year include:
Rebuild a road to the school so the students won’t have to walk in knee-deep water during the next rainy season;
Construct a second school building with 4 classrooms and a library, along with a bathroom; and
Expand our Reach for the Sky program so more children will have a chance at a decent future.
All Contributions Go to Help the Children of Cambodia
The administration of the Cambodian Village Fund is done by the directors and volunteers at no cost to the fund, including accounting, website design and maintenance, and fundraising. The Cambodian Village Fund has no paid staff.
For the 5 and a half years since the Fund was founded, administrative costs have been less than 1% of revenues. Most of the administrative costs are costs charged by banks related to receiving and transferring money.
Won’t you lend us a hand?
Buy the featured shirt here to raise awareness and revenue.
Or make a donation directly to the Cambodian Village Fund by going to their website– cambodianvillagefund.org. You can also send a check payable to:
Cambodian Village Fund
c/o Bill and Nancy Bamberger
4376 Argos Dr.
San Diego, CA 92116-2330
All direct contributions are tax deductible.
Press for this cause:
Click here to read an article in the UT San Diego about how it all came about. (http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jan/07/one-bike-leads-to-a-loving-adventure/).
Click here to read an article about one of the travelers, San Diego County’s Civil Service Commission’s Executive officer.