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NGO2 BambooShoot is dedicated to assisting girls in rural communities gain access to higher learning to narrow the gender gap in Cambodia. 

NGO2 is an acronym for “Nongovernmental Organization for the Next Generation Organization”. It was co-founded by Cambodian National Sophal Sea and an American resident Betsy Bradly in 2010. Since 2008 Mr. Sea had been informally assisting rural kids obtain continuing education. The vision for these early students was to provide a platform for the next generation of students onward. The founding of NGO2 in 2010 meant Sophal could impact a larger number of students moving forward.

As the program has grown and evolved its focus has narrowed to concentrate on the empowerment of girls. NGO2 dedicates its resources to girls from grades 10 - 12 from rural villages who would otherwise fall through the cracks. Secondary school is not usually available or affordable in these communities which means girls generally do not have the opportunity to further their education past primary school. Female students from rural villages are personally selected to join the NGO2 program based on their previous scholastic performance, display of leadership skills and exam results. 

Those that pass the qualifications also need to navigate the obstacle of parental consent as the girls need to move from their rural homes to the dorms at Angkor High School in Siem Reap to continue their studies. Cultural norms and concern for their safety make this decision often difficult for parents of girls. The adversities these female students have to overcome to obtain higher education, mean they come with a greater dedication to their studies and a desire to continue onto University. 

At the dorm they are provided housing, food, uniforms, school supplies and guidance. They are required to keep their grades in good standing and be involved in social – eco responsible projects as a way to give-back. Mentorship is very important at this stage of their education and we look for NGO2 alumni, local female business leaders and organizations to provide this leadership. As the boundaries of female job opportunities change in Cambodia we see value in showing our girls what is possible as they continue with their studies. 

Education, Empowerment, Mentorship and Fellowship are all key foundations to reducing the gender gap here in Cambodia and providing stability of families to escape poverty. To date 215 girls have been impacted by the support and continued education through NGO2. Many have gone onto University as well as onto careers as police officers, nurses, business owners and professionals. 

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