In 2009 Ben Steenstra and his wife noticed that there were a lot of young street children walking around in Koh Chang, Thailand. When asked, they turned out to be Cambodian, not Thai, children. These children from Cambodian workers worked illegally as cleaners or construction workers and the children were not allowed to go to a Thai school. The result was that many children from the age of 4 walked around purposelessly without water, food or care. Ben then decided with his foundation StudyBuddies to build a small school that would take care of these children during the day.
Free education for 50 Cambodian children in Koh Chang
The idea was to accommodate about 50 children for free education and to provide a free lunch every afternoon. Because the children are scattered over a large area, they are picked up every morning by the school bus and dropped off in the afternoon. In the kitchen, the children cook themselves and thanks to the efforts of many volunteers they learn not only Thai, English, mathematics, and geography, but also a few words of French, German or Swedish.
The government sometimes helps by donating old books, but most of the school materials come from donations. Just like the food and drinks and the necessary repairs to the school building. From the beginning, it was clear that only the first 5 years would be financed by Ben and his then company. After that, the school had to be self-sufficient through donations from third parties. To this day this is still possible, but they are not that wealthy. For maintenance or the purchase of a new school bus is often no money and also Uan, the head of the school sometimes has to do with less salary than he really needs.
Donations from tourists and other foundations
In the high season, but also out of season, tourists visit regularly with donations. Although money for food, drinks, maintenance, and petrol is the most important thing, most people prefer to give tangible things. That is why Uan and the Cambodian Kids Care are partly dependent on donations from other foundations.
Donate via CallTheONE
By calling the head of the school Uan via TheONE you can donate per minute. When he picks up the phone, he shows you with his Smartphone camera what the school looks like and how the children are studying. Every minute you pay a small amount for as long as you want. The revenue will go entirely to Cambodian Kids Care.
The curriculum at the Cambodian Kids Care
Some children stay only a few weeks or months on the island of Koh Chang. That is why the shelter does not have a standard curriculum and they improvise every day. The goal is not to give the children a full education, but to introduce them to the basics of each subject.
Visiting the school
If you would like to visit the school you can do so without making an appointment. The children love it when you come and see them! You can find the school in Klong Prao. Near the Ramayana Resort, there are signs of the Cambodian Kids Care Centre that you can follow. The road is not paved so be careful when you go on a motorbike.
In addition to contacting them via TheONE, you can also contact them via their Facebook page.