Frequently Asked Questions by our Donors
1. What is the relationship between Japan Relief for Cambodia and World Assistance for Cambodia?
Japan Relief for Cambodia was founded in 1993 by Bernard Krisher, an American journalist and long-time resident of Japan, to help rehabilitate Cambodia devastated by 20 years of civil war. In 1998, he founded American Assistance for Cambodia, a US tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, to support his humanitarian projects in Cambodia. In 2012, American Assistance for Cambodia changed its name to World Assistance for Cambodia to appropriately reflect its global support. Programs for World Assistance for Cambodia and Japan Relief for Cambodia are operated in Cambodia by World Assistance for Cambodia/Japan Relief for Cambodia, a non-governmental organization recognized by the Government of Cambodia.
2. What are your activities?
We operate over half a dozen programs in Cambodia:
- The Rural Schools Project is a program to build schools, classrooms and libraries in the poor remote areas of Cambodia. Further enhancements such as computers and internet connection (powered by solar energy), English and computer training, vegetable gardens, wells and water filters, and a school nurse are added to many of our schools.
- The Girls Be Ambitious Project enables girls who are unable to go to school due to conditions of poverty to attend one of our rural schools and receive an education instead of having to work in the fields, do chores at home or take care of siblings. The participating girl’s family receives a $10 stipend at the end of each month when she has perfect attendance.
- The Bright Future Kids is a full-scholarship magnet program for academically-talented students from our rural schools who wish to expand their education and become the future leaders of Cambodia.
- A New Life Orphanage is a warm and nurturing home for orphans who have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS.
- The Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope, located in Phnom Penh, provides quality medical care to the poor free of charge.
3. How can I build a school in rural Cambodia?
World Assistance for Cambodia/Japan Relief for Cambodia continues to look for sponsors to help build more schools and classrooms in Cambodia for villages that currently lack a school. The cost to build a classroom with all the furniture and toilets for boys and girls is $15,000. An entire school building is between three to five classrooms ($45,000 to $75,000.) Once we have received the full funding, we begin construction. School construction takes approximately three to six months from start to completion. However, there is sometimes a delay in the construction depending on the season and location.
4. How are locations selected?
Since the beginning of our Rural Schools Project, we choose a site for each new school in areas of greatest need at the time. We work with the Cambodian Ministry of Education that conducts an annual whole nation survey to determine where those areas are. Our schools are in villages that are very remote and lack a school in the near vicinity.
5. What types of schools can be built?
Schools are three- to five-room brick and concrete buildings. The first 290 schools built were primary schools (grades 1 to 6), while new schools are currently lower secondary (grades 7 to 9). All of our schools are officially approved and managed by the Ministry of Education.
6. Who maintains the school?
All of our schools are official Cambodian state schools. The government maintains the building and pays for state teachers. All of the improvement features that we have listed – such as adding a computer/English program, a vegetable garden, or a school nurse – are managed and maintained by World Assistance for Cambodia/Japan Relief for Cambodia staff through the generosity of our donors.
7. What curriculum do the schools follow?
The English and computer classes are managed by World Assistance for Cambodia/Japan Relief for Cambodia. All other curricula are determined by the Cambodian Ministry of Education.
8. How many students attend a typical school?
Schools typically hold 200 to 400 students. Some schools are built on the same facility as a separate school, such as a primary school sharing a campus with a secondary school.
9. How are school teachers paid?
There are two types of teachers: World Assistance for Cambodia/Japan Relief for Cambodia full-time English/computer teachers and state teachers. World Assistance for Cambodia/Japan Relief for Cambodia full-time teachers are recruited out of university or our orphanage, trained by World Assistance for Cambodia/Japan Relief for Cambodia and fully employed by World Assistance for Cambodia/Japan Relief for Cambodia. State teachers are employed by the government.
10. How do I choose which school improvements to add?
We strongly encourage the addition of the basic education improvements –English/computer training program teacher, bookcases, books, water filters and vegetable gardens.
11. Can I sponsor an English/computer program at one of the schools built by one of your other donors and can I have a relationship with that school?
You may add and support improvements to one of our rural schools that does not yet have the benefit of enhancement available through our organization, such as an English/computer program, vegetable garden, school nurse, water filter, etc. Sponsors of school improvements may have ongoing exchanges with the school, such as e-mail correspondences and digital photo exchanges, scrapbook exchanges and visits to the school.
12. How can I visit the school I sponsored?
Please let us know the dates you wish to visit. We can help arrange for an insured air-conditioned hired car to take visitors to a school. We will assign a program officer to guide and interpret. There is a $15 per diem for the accompanying program officer, which can be paid after the visit by check or credit card to our organization.
13. I would like to attend my school opening. Who can come to the ceremony? Can someone help with my travel plans? What are the associated costs?
What can I expect? Can I bring gifts?
For the first visit of a donor to their school, we arrange an opening or dedication ceremony. The ceremony is a very important event for the members of the school and the village.
When planning for an opening or dedication ceremony, please let us know the date that you wish to hold the ceremony so we can let the villagers who will help arrange the ceremony have enough time to prepare. Donors and any guests they invite are welcome to attend the ceremony. We can assist in hiring an insured air-conditioned vehicle to take the attendees to the school on the day of the ceremony. A program officer from our organization will meet and accompany the donors to the school, interpret the speeches during the ceremony and during the tour of the school. We also invite local authorities and related provincial officials, villagers, teachers and children to join the ceremony. We cannot predict how many villagers and participants will attend.
To prepare for the ceremony, the villagers build a platform and canopy for the guests to protect them from the sun or the rain. The full cost, about $400, is shared by the donor and the villagers, and we ask the donor to contribute $200 towards the platform. All costs associated with an opening ceremony that we arranged, such as hiring a car, platform for the ceremony or any gifts for distribution at the ceremony that were purchased through us, may be reimbursed to us later by check or credit card after the ceremony and after the visitors return back to their home country.
The ceremony usually begins in the morning and lasts for about one hour during which donors and attending officials give speeches. After the ceremony, the donor takes a tour of the school. Many donors choose to distribute gifts at this time. Popular gifts are a set of school supplies distributed to each child and sports equipment to be shared by all the students. Donors can go to the market to purchase these themselves or we can purchase these for the donor in advance.
14. I would like to sponsor girls at a particular school to participate in the Girls Be Ambitious project. Can I do that?
Any school that has a computer/English teacher, who also monitors the attendance of Girls Be Ambitious participants, is eligible to take girls into the Girls Be Ambitious program. You may sponsor a girl in the village who meets the criteria to participate for $120 a year.
15. Can I have a panel/e-mail relationship with the girl I am sponsoring through the Girls Be Ambitious project?
Because most of the girls who join the Girls Be Ambitious program have not had any or much schooling prior to participating in the program, in most cases the girls’ basic literacy skills are still developing and they are not able to acquire computer skills right away. However, we can and have arranged visits for donors to meet their girl at her school and visit her home. If you are visiting Cambodia and would like to meet the girl you are sponsoring, please contact us and we will help arrange for you to meet your girl.
16. Can I sponsor an academically-talented student to further their potential?
We can facilitate scholarship support to motivated and academically-talented students who are currently attending one of our rural schools. You may support a student from one of our schools to participate in the Bright Future Kids program or support a middle school student to continue on to high school in a provincial town. Annual scholarships are $1080 ($90 a month). We will send you a profile of a bright and promising student that the director of the Bright Future Kids program has personally screened for admission to the program. We are always happy to arrange visits to meet your student and for donors to correspond by e-mail with their sponsored student.
17. How can I support A New Life Orphanage?
You can become a sponsor of an orphan for $50 a month or $600 a year, which covers the orphan’s food, clothing, school supplies and medical costs. We are also collecting funds to hire tutors, buy toys, books, sports equipment and to build additional facilities. Sponsors will receive a full profile of their orphan. The orphanage is located amidst nature in Kandal province, about 30 minutes by car from central Phnom Penh. Visits are always very welcome. We also have a comfortable guest house for guests who wish to stay overnight.
18. Where does World Assistance for Cambodia/Japan Relief for Cambodia raise money from?
We receive donations from a number of sources. The majority of our donations come from individual donors and families. We also receive donations from foundations, corporations, international organizations, civic groups and government agencies.
19. How can I donate?
We accept check, wire transfer, Paypal and credit-card donations. Please see our donation page for more details.
20. How can I get a tax deduction in the US?
World Assistance for Cambodia is a certified 501(c)(3) tax-deductible organization in the United States. The Federal Tax EIN ID number is 51-0350058.
21. I want a tax deduction, but live in a country other than the US. What should I do?
If you live in Canada, you can wire transfer to the US account listed on the website. A Canadian donating to a US charity can get a 75% deduction from their personal US-sourced income and they can carry the deduction forward up to five years. We do not provide tax deductions for donations from other countries.
If you live in England or Australia, please contact us about how you may receive deductions for your donation.
22. I would like to hold a fundraiser to contribute to your projects. Does World Assistance for Cambodia/Japan Relief for Cambodia have promotional materials we can use?
World Assistance for Cambodia/Japan Relief for Cambodia does not produce printed promotional materials but donors are welcome to use materials on our website for promotional activities. Please feel free to contact us for questions or further information.