For the past 2 years, ODA Founder Leng has worked tirelessly to realize his dream of providing a place for girls in the mountains to live and attend school regularly.  As with many of the other leaders of our partner programs, the ideas are initially mapped out for us on scraps of napkins over lunch, in the back of bumpy tuk-tuks rides or over unreliable skype connections.  Leng provides full-time shelter and education for 34 children and hundreds of other children free English classes in the 8 classrooms Leng has built in the rural areas surrounding Siem Reap, Cambodia.

When we first heard of Leng’s concept, we took a big breath knowing what a big undertaking it would be for such a small organization already stretched in time and resources.  But there is no stopping Leng when he sets out to do something.  He carefully explained that many girls living in the mountainous areas simply cannot reach schools easily enough to attend.  If he could provide a central place where they could be safely cared for near good local schools, they would have the chance to begin academic lives that could lead them out of poverty.  But Leng knows that it is not as easy as building the shelter– at the core of all of his ideas lies a deep and unwavering commitment to long-term sustainability.  Alongside attending school the girls will be taught how to sew school uniforms to be sold in the local communities.

Beautiful light streams through the windows

GoPhil was able to secure the funding for the building and staff member Linda DeWolf carefully monitored the progress throughout the year.  The design, costing and construction was managed by Leng and Trai Vet, who is an ODA student in his last year of Civil Engineering.  Management took a lot of time yet was a great experience for them both.

In March of this year, she and several Gohil community members, including the very generous donor who funded the project, were able to see the dream realized.

GoPhil staff Linda DeWolf and ODA Founder Leng review his next ideas!


GoPhil/ODA supporter Greg Kadel visits with Founder Leng


Thirteen girls have moved into their new home and are excited about what the future will bring–as are we.  While there is still much to do to develop the sewing program ($12,000 in funding still needed for solar panels, machines and materials), it was an important moment to simply step back and celebrate the result of such a wonderful idea that will give back in more ways than I am sure we could ever imagine.