ASPIRE Training & Education, (ASPIRE), was founded in 2012 by Mr. Sean Samnang, a local Cambodian, who recognized the urgent need to help the many destitute and orphaned children living in his country. This situation was brought about because Cambodia’s education and health care systems were completely destroyed during the Khmer Rouge Genocide and Cambodia has been unable to make significant gains in rebuilding it due to the subsequent 2 decades long civil war. Now corruption is rampant and Cambodia’s education and health care systems remain in shambles. Siem Reap itself is one of the poorest areas in Cambodia with over 75% of the poor people living in dire poverty.
Samnang was offered a position as branch manager of a new orphanage in Siem Reap while he was still studying (he finally completed his education in 2008). The initial aim of this project was to bring in children from the surrounding neighbourhood to teach English and Apsara (the traditional Khmer dancing). Although this venture was welcomed by the local community, it sadly failed due to a lack of donations from passing tourists and the help of a stable sponsor. The area around Siem Reap is extremely poor, and Samnang still wanted to be able to work in this area. He understood the steps he needed to take to get official permission to open an orphanage, but he lacked the money to begin the process.
His parents offered to use their home and piece of land as a guarantee against a bank loan. They were thus able to borrow 1.000.000.00 Riel (US$250). With this money Samnang was able to pay for the documents tobe processed, to pay for necessary travel, to design a logo and to rent a small house and piece of land.
The documents were finally complete on 5th December 2006, and the organization was then called the Cambodian Orphan Save Association (COSA). The house had originally been a mushroom shed and needed a great deal of cleaning and preparation. A neighbouring generator caused a loud noise for the better part of each day. But it was a beginning. The first step was to invite local children to come for Apsara and English classes. A number of the children wanted to come and live at the house, but at that point there was no funding, so Samnang went around the villages asking for food donations. The families knew him from the first venture that had failed, and they trusted him and gave whatever they could.
This was very hard on the orphanage as it had lost its main source of income. However, tourists still dropped by to visit the orphanage and gave donations, but these were not as frequent as they had been before. Many children still wanted to live at the orphanage and so Samnang began to look for a larger piece of land, and today the children live at Trang Village on National Road 6, 7 kilometres east of Siem Reap. The village was just a piece of land when purchased, but due to vistors' kind donations and Samnang's hard work it is slowly becoming a fantastic place for the children to live and learn. Come visit us and see the progress!
In 2012, due to a name clash, it was necessary by order from the government to change the name to ASPIRE Training & Education and this is the name we are now known by and registered under. Our charityregistration number is 3385.
At first, Samnang took the children to the Lolai temple to ask tourists for donations. This was a great source of funding as they were able to raise $30 to $50 each day during the tourist season, and after only four months the orphanage was able to move to a bigger and quieter location just a hundred metres up the road on the Sras Srang Lake. With a generous donation from an Australian sponsor of $4,000 Samnang was able to build a new orphanage on this land; he later changed the name to Cambodian Orphan Save Organisation (COSO). During 2007, after a year of collecting donations at the Lolai temple, the police told Samnang that the children were no longer allowed to work there.
Mr. Sean Samnang was born in 1980 and grew up in a very poor family, working on a farm to pay his way through secondary school and university. He also worked for seven months in a tailoring factory for ten to thirteen hours a day just to complete his education. Receiving help and encouragement from a sponsor in Thailand, he moved to Phnom Penh where he worked for a charitable organization on a voluntary basis, but received his board and lodging. Voluntary work in return for board and lodging is still common in Cambodia today, and the members of staff at ASPIRE are all local volunteers. Since he himself had received help when he most needed it, Samnang wanted to be able to provide help and opportunities for others.
The ASPIRE has 96 students who is leaning with the aid of free education, providing 24hours care for 20 children. He recognized the urgent need to help the destitute and orphaned children in the country. This situation was brought about because Cambodia's education and health care systems were completely destroyed during the Khmer Rouge Genocide and due to two decades long civil war.
The mission aims to give the children basic education, then later to be transported to the bigger school for further education. He provide three nutritious meals per day, protection, adequate healthcare and education for orphans or those living in extreme poverty. They receive lesson in Khmer, English, Computer kills, Art, Gardening, Traditional Khmer Dancing and Musical instrument...etc.
The children background from extreme poverty and deprivation. Their ages range between 5 - 16 years old. It runs for 5 days (25 hours per week), from Monday to Friday, with a morning session from (8:30 AM - 10:00 AM) and afternoon from (1:00 PM - 4:00PM).
Currently the ASPIRE fully reliant on donations from visitors or volunteers who come to visit and making a donation, it's very hard for Samnang to run this project without sponsorship.
Our operational costs to run on the programme of both projects (school & orphanage) for 5 years between 2021 - 2025 are estimated at 178,800 USD. For more detail information, please look his website: www.aspirecambodia-edu.org
Please thank you very much for your generous donations !
Mr. Sean Samnang