The Problem

Over the past few years, increasing numbers of NGO’s and private funders have responded to the need for schools by providing funds for and building new schools.  However, nearly as many of these new schools have failed as have succeeded.  On any given day, one can drive through the countryside and see deteriorating school buildings, either abandoned or now occupied by squatters as living quarters.    Dialogue with NGO’s and other interested parties has revealed the cause:  while many are willing to build a school, very few are willing to provide the necessary ongoing support to keep the school viable over time.  Thus, after initial funding ceases, the school also ceases to function and the village community is left no better off than they were before.  In order to build an educational system for rural communities that will last over time, communities need to develop their own methods of sustaining these institutions, rather than continuing to depend upon foreign aid and other “handouts.”

The Plan for Sustainable Village Schools

To promote self-sustainable communities of learning within the villages of Siem Reap province by establishing partnerships with village communities to facilitate training of local teachers; and establishment of sustainable community-based schools.  To that end, Teach Cambodia is in the process of developing a sustainable schools model that will be appropriate for the rural Cambodia.  TC/CIPI has conducted extensive research on sustainability projects around the world, and is in the process of establishing partnerships with some of the agencies involved.

The educational model being used is that of school as the “hub” or center of the community; a learning community for all.  We have tentatively  coined the term “Community Literacy Center” for the sustainable schools, to reflect the global nature of their intended function in the community. These Community Literacy Center(s) will eventually each include classrooms for K-8 schooling, adult basic education; a meeting area for community programs/events, and a reading room (free lending library and literacy events).

The implementation model being used is that of “sweat equity,” wherein the community provides labor and land, while outside funders provide materials and other needed expertise, such as contractors, architects, etc.

The Process

Once a model is developed, Teach Cambodia/CIPI will identify villages in need through community outreach, and work with village chiefs and local villagers to locate a site, design, fund, build, and train staff for a Community Literacy Center, to be owned and operated by local village personnel.  Literacy Centers will include full-curriculum K-8 schools, with income-producing vocational activities such as vegetable gardens, fish farms, and crafts to sustain the center’s operation over time.

Current Status of the Project:  Boeng Village Laboratory School

As described earlier, Boeng Village Laboratory School will be the first Community Literacy Center built under the Sustainable Village Schools Campaign.  The site for the school ahs already been identified, a plot of land purchased by a Boeng Village resident specifically for the purpose of establishing a school in the village. 


One of the values of collaboration is the ability to utilize existing talents and expertise in the community.  Independently, Globalteer has been working on a prototype for a classroom that can be “built anywhere, anytime,” in the areas around Siem Reap.  Teach/Cambodia/CIPI would like to collaborate with Globalteer to utilize the prototype classroom developed by VTSR Director Alan Cordory and Architect Stuart Cochlin in the construction of sustainable village schools. The new classrooms for Boeng Village Laboratory School will be built using the Globalteer model. 

Watch a video of Alan and Viseth discussing the new construction below.



Teach Cambodia, Inc.

2130 Fillmore Street, #229

San Francisco, CA  94115

+1-415-871-0962 USA

+855(0)15 20 3 251 CAMBODIA

Yuriko C. Wellington, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Yuri Wellington, Executive Director

(with Khmer daughter Sophanna)

Mr. Houth Viseth

Managing Director, Cambodia


Cambodia International Pedagogical Institute

Teacher Training and Research Center

Thea Chamrat Road

Wat Bo Village

Sala Kamraeuk Commune

Siem Reap

Kingdom of Cambodia

+855 (0)15 203 251

Boeng Village Labratory School

Boeng Village

Chreav Commune

Siem Reap, 

Kingdom of Cambodia





New Hope Community Centre

Anjali House