New project, promising cooperation

Introducing our ‘revolving education programm' (REP)

A new cooperation with lots of opportunities

November 2021

By: Frank Rikken

I have been in Cambodia for 10 weeks now, and it almost feels like old times. Even though, I am confronted everywhere with the enormous impact the corona pandemic has on daily life here as well. No tourists for two years; almost no orders for the clothing industry for two years; an economy that has ground to a halt. It is a sign of the otherwise positive Cambodians. Yet a small miracle has taken place in Cambodia. 

Cambodia and Corona

This time last year, I reported from a partying and celebrating Siem Reap. There was almost no COVID here. The country was pretty much hermetically sealed off, and the government would keep the virus at bay for a while. Until something went wrong here as well: a couple of infected 'tourists' put everything on edge. A major outbreak was the result. Now, you have to know that healthcare in Cambodia is not at the level that we are used to. Intensive care is only sparsely available. That was the reason why the quarantine regulations were immediately tightened and why an intensive vaccination campaign was started. The country went into a deep lockdown and pretty much the entire population was vaccinated at high speed. No anti-movement here, people saw (and see) that vaccinating is their economic salvation. After almost two years without any income, the need is high and everyone is literally and figuratively queuing up. In the capital Phnom Penh, 100% of the population over 18 have now been vaccinated, and normal life has largely returned. People still wear masks, but they often hang down below the chin. The atmosphere is slowly getting better and better. 

Savoeurn SOU, professional trainer en CEO bij K-Asia

Smiles of Hope

Due to the pandemic, the Smiles of Hope projects have been seriously hampered in the past year. Schools and universities were closed, and it was difficult to keep the projects going. Nevertheless, they succeeded. The Advanced Centre for Education was able to organize several courses and new students started in the programme. AngkorHub Academy temporarily stopped its activities due to the pandemic. Fortunately, the laptops did get into place. In the meantime, Chakrya, our advisor in Cambodia, has made new contacts. And this has led to a beautiful new project that, after considerable preparation, can really get started in 2022. This very special cooperation will guarantee continuity and effectiveness.

Cooperation with K asia

In the capital Phnom Penh a special company is established: K Asia. K Asia offers young Cambodians a twelve-week intensive programme that prepares them for a position in the business world. The company helps and guides young people in starting their careers. And it does not stop at education and training. K Asia offers a job guarantee for successful graduates. If young people have a good and balanced business plan, they are supported in starting their business. If necessary, they are even offered favourable financing. Participants pay a fee to take part in the programme. This pays for the first twelve weeks of the programme. And this is where Smiles of Hope comes in....

We help young people who cannot afford the costs of the programme. We offer them a scholarship after an entrance test, which allows them to participate in the intensive programme free of charge. After they have successfully completed the programme and found a job, we agree on a period for repayment of the registration fee to Smiles of Hope without interest. Each situation is carefully examined individually. The starting point is that no one benefits from having huge debts and being in dire straits. Smiles of Hope will ensure a fair and viable settlement. The consequence of this system is that after a successful start of a participant, the next participant with the same money can also start the programme. A repeating model, in other words. The investment thus returns several times over. 

The power of REP

A revolving education programme (REP) costs 1,000 euros. For that one-off amount, students can follow the programme over and over again. After all, once a student has finished, found work and repaid his loan, 1,000 euros is available for the next student. Of course, it may happen that a student breaks the chain by not completing the programme, or due to some other unforeseen circumstance. Smiles of Hope has an insurance fund for this. Per place of study, approximately 20% of the funds are put into that fund. 

We give your donation a face

The great thing about the REP programme is that, as a donor, you will soon be able to see on the website who, with your donation, no matter how small or large, has a chance of a better future. And not just once, but again and again, because each student will pay back his or her loan and pass it on to a new student, as it were. Your donation, therefore, gets a face, you know who you are helping. Do you, as an individual or as a company, want to make a sustainable investment in personal development work with visible results? Then consider supporting Smiles of Hope.

The Smiles of Hope Foundation is a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) . Donations are therefore tax-deductible.

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