In mid-March, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) announced the suspension of all schools and universities until further notice. New Hope Cambodia responded to this directive immediately and our school is closed.
Support during the Covid-19 Crisis
To all the wonderful sponsors who have continued to provide funding – or who have provided additional support – since the Covid-19 crisis began – we offer the deepest gratitude.
Without ongoing support, New Hope Cambodia could not survive. And without additional funding we would not be able to provide emergency food supplies to our students and their families.
For those who sponsor students, we understand you want the best for those individual students. And we will continue using your sponsorship to support them.
However, please appreciate that we are helping all of New Hope Cambodia’s students equally. We cannot provide cash donations to any of our students and we cannot buy extra gifts for individual students.
Any donations in addition to normal sponsorship will be allocated to our Covid Crisis Care package, our education program or our general NHC programs.
New Hope Cambodia students
New Hope Cambodia supported some of Siem Reap’s poorest students before Covid-19 hit. They were already struggling, living in marginalised families with low incomes. The economic fallout from the loss of tourism makes the families of our students even more vulnerable.
The government has made public school education available through local television stations or via smart phone. Unfortunately, many of our students do not have access to televisions and smart phones.
To overcome this challenge, our teachers are preparing weekly worksheets for their students. It is not a perfect system, but it is better than nothing.
Covid Crisis Care Program
While we are not able to run our normal education programs, we are very aware of the dire situation many of our students’ families are likely to be in now or in the near future.
As such, we have launched the Covid Crisis Care Program. This program will go directly towards providing rice and other essentials to help our students’ families survive.
The International Monetary Fund Asia predicts the economic crisis that is still to come will hit Cambodia harder than most other countries in South-East Asia and predicts 0% growth for Asia in 2020. Other international organisations are predicting extreme hunger and poverty for many Cambodians, with side effects of this likely to be malnutrition and other health issues.
To help our students please visit our donate page. Every dollar counts.
Tragic loss of tourism
Tourism is the major economic driver in Siem Reap, accounting for a high percentage of the economy. The town has been built around visitors and their needs. Hotels, restaurants, bars, tour guides, tuk tuk drivers, chefs, cleaners, gardeners all relied on tourists. The flow on effect of this demand filtered through to web designers, supermarkets, markets, maintenance services, computer and technology stores, motorbike dealers, private schools and so many more.
The instant end to tourism borders closed had an immediate effect and did not just trickle down through the economy but hit Siem Reap with the force of a tsunami.
The temples are empty, there are no tour buses and no tours. Hotels, restaurants, coffee shops and bars closed – even the big ones on Pub Street. Even the collectors of cardboard and recyclables are impacted as consumption has dropped. Many electronic stores, clothing stores and others are closed.
The majority of expats have left town. Apartments are vacant, landlords are dropping rent prices. Many people who have lost jobs have gone to their homelands to reduce their rent and living costs. House for rent signs line the streets. The impact has been immediate and devastating. And we are not expecting it to get better any time soon.
New Hope Cambodia provides free education to children and young people from some of Siem Reap City’s poorest areas. We teach the government’s Khmer curriculum up to grade six and we teach English, computers and life skills while also providing vocational training in our School House Café. Many of our students come from families living on less than $100 a month. Our school provides hope and opportunity for young people to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families.