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Dormitory project
The NGO2 Bamboo Shoot Foundation’s Young Women Leaders (YWL) Project seeks to change economic opportunities for girls in rural Cambodia by improving access to secondary school. We believe that Cambodia’s population will benefit extraordinarily from an increase in female education. We are working to reduce educational inequities for females from rural Cambodia by providing room and board, private tutoring in physics, mathematics and Khmer language, English and IT classes, and seminars in women’s rights and health. The scholarship recipients are housed in an all-girls dormitory built by the Asian Development Bank in 2007, which is located on the premises of Angkor High School in Siem Reap.

Who is served by the program?
Why secondary school education for rural females?
Project Budget
Wish list
Volunteer to teach English

Who is served by the program?

The YWL serves motivated, high-achieving female students living in rural areas located far from secondary schools. In order to be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must:

    pass junior high school with an excellent academic record
    demonstrate leadership,  ambition to continue their studies, and clearly defined career goals
    come from a low-income family residing in a rural village located more than 10 km from an upper secondary school.

To apply for the program, the students from targeted rural junior high schools must submit an application form and academic records. To remain eligible, students must maintain regular attendance and passing grades each year. Each student is eligible to receive the scholarship for 3 years (10-12th grade). Once they graduate from 12th grade, the YWL project helps to students who desire to continue their studies to secure scholarships for university.

Currently, NGO2 BambooShoot Foundation supports 20 secondary school students through this program. These students came to live at the dormitory in October of 2010 and are finishing 10th grade. The fact that these young women have already graduated from lower secondary school (grade 7-9) is a great achievement in its own right. In addition to being at the top of their class, these students have demonstrated their motivation to study and courage by moving from their rural homes to the middle of a large city in order to do so. Despite all the challenges they face, our students emphasize that they are happy to be living in the dormitory because it allows them to continue studying. After high school, many are planning to pursue studies in diverse areas such as finance and banking, law, restaurant management, accounting, teaching, and medicine.

Why secondary school education for rural females?

The population of Cambodia is young—the median age is 22 years and more than a third of Cambodians are under 15 years old—but in order for the nation to take advantage of this great resource for economic growth, investment in access to quality education must increase. This need is particularly acute for females.  Females make up about half of the students enrolled in primary school, but by secondary school, female enrollment drops to 26% and only 15% in university. For many rural families (roughly 80% of the population), education costs are one of the highest expenses they face annually. Families that cannot afford to educate all their children typically choose to educate boys. School quality is also much lower in rural areas, so females from rural families are at a double disadvantage.

Even when students have physical access to secondary schools, numerous obstacles remain.  Tuition in Cambodia is paid directly to the teacher as their salary, and wealthier students are able to pay this tuition, in addition to private tutoring necessary to pass the high school graduation exam. These students are also more likely to graduate with a GPA high enough to receive a government scholarship to college. By contrast, students who cannot afford tuition do not receive attention from their teachers nor private tutoring, making it very difficult to pass their final exams and nearly impossible to receive a government scholarship. And, while the lack of sufficient income and long distances to the nearest school are the main factors that keep girls out of school in Cambodia, another critical obstacle is the traditional perception that girls should stay at home to work and therefore don’t need education beyond Grade 6 or 9.

With one third of Cambodia’s sex workers under 18 and with less than 3 years of formal schooling, the link between lack of education and vulnerability is tragically clear. The benefits of changing this are also clear. Each one-year increment in mother’s education corresponds with a 7-9% decline in under-5 mortality, which has been on the increase in Cambodia since 1990. An extra year of secondary school raises girls’ eventual wages by 15-25% , and when women earn income, they reinvest 90% of it into their families, compared to 30-40% for a man.

Our goal is to contribute to this ripple effect, not just by increasing opportunities for outstanding females to access higher education, but also by empowering them to become leaders in their communities and role models for other female students. Moreover, the solidarity the young women establish with their fellow students provides its own form of empowerment, by connecting them with other outstanding females and demonstrating that their goals are achievable.

Project Budget

NGO2 BambooShoot Foundation is supported solely by private donations and volunteers.  We believe that Cambodia’s population will benefit extraordinarily from an increase in female education, and we need your support to make it happen.  Donations go to support the following budget for our students.

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