13 February, 2017

Who are we?

Camboya Sonríe is a non-profit, non-governmental foundation. Our organization promotes human rights to basic education as well as all available forms of secondary and higher education.

We also defend the right to dignity of work and to a salary that supports an adequate standard of living.

Alejandra BorrellAlejandra Borrell

Graduated in Journalism and specialized in International Cooperation. Her passion and interest in entrepreneurship led her to Siem Reap for two months, where she collaborated on humanitarian aid projects with families and children. Since then, she has continued to work and collaborate on various projects.

11210472_847753138631739_3101562410775971673_nBear Chamnan

Has 7 years of experience in international ONGs and 5 as an English teacher in different schools for children from 6 to 12 years old. In his free time, he helps families in need, providing them with aid for survival, combining this with his English studies at ACE Siem Reap.

How did everything start?

Alejandra.- My passion for travel led me to southeast Asia, volunteering for all sorts of projects with the goal of finding out what I wanted to do with my professional career. In Siem Reap, at the hotel where we both were working, I met Chamnan, who I started this project with.

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Alejandra with the first family she worked with

When he told me he was an English teacher in a village I asked him to take me there to see it. I was curious about it. So that’s what happened. I fell in love with all the children who, as soon as you entered their classroom, said “Good afternoon, teacher” in chorus, with huge smiles. I went as often as I could to help out the children who were having trouble at school because they started late.

And that’s how the weeks passed, until one day we went to see a family in another town that was further away. Chamnan was bringing powdered milk for an orphaned baby. They made me feel at home and told me one of the children walked more than an hour every day to get to school. Chamnan told me he would try to collect funds to buy a bicycle so that the boy would have easier access to the school. Without thinking twice, I immediately decided I would help out.

And so Chamnan, the boy, and I got on the same motorcycle—something never seen before in the town—and went to buy the bicycle. That was the first time I really worked with someone and, when I saw that boy’s smile as he came home on his new bike, my life changed. From that moment on, I got involved in various projects.

Thanks to them, I realized that international cooperation is what drives me and what I want to dedicate myself to professionally. So, after coordinating various projects together, we thought the way we could help most people would be by starting this project. And at the same time, we made sure that all contributions were going to people who really needed them. Camboya Sonríe is the result of a dream made reality, through great effort that grew out of desire, excitement, and the goal of doing more and increasing opportunities everywhere.

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