by Allegra Mangione, GoPhil Development & Communications Coordinator

One thing that sets us apart is that GoPhil grants often cover difficult-to-fund line items like staff salaries. Many donors don’t get excited about contributing to staff salaries, because they don’t always see how investing in people leads to stronger communities. GoPhil donors do see the importance of investing in local talent, like Kunthea, an Education Officer at GoPhil partner Free to Shine in Cambodia.

From a small farming family, Kunthea was selected to study at a school run by an international NGO. She went on to study Teaching English as a Second Language at University, breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty in her family. Now, she works as a Free to Shine Education Officer.

Kunthea’s job is to support girls who live in rural impoverished areas and their families by encouraging them to stay in school. Girls who do not stay in school are especially vulnerable to sex trafficking and other forced labor. Each day, Kunthea travels to rural villages to conduct “safety visits” with 10 families. 

“Visiting the girls is crucial to make sure that they are safe. They need encouragement and good role models in order to obtain their diplomas and qualify for a good job.

I want to share my experience and continue helping children who cannot help themselves. I believe that women are not only born to marry, to serve men and give birth, but they can do things for their countries that is beyond what men could think of.”

• Kunthea •

Due to COVID-19, Free to Shine had to lay off 9 of their 24 employees this year. The 15 remaining staff members are working harder than ever to keep girls safe. Free to Shine repurposed their GoPhil grant to pay Education Officer salaries and keep talented and passionate employees like Kunthea.

You can be part of this important work by becoming a GoImpact Monthly Donor or making a donation to Free To Shine today.