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Offering scholarships to bright, young students is an attractive proposition. What better way to support education than ensuring young people are inspired and supported to continue their studies?

PEPY Empowering Youth provides university and vocational training scholarships for students from Kralanh. Recipients are supported with tuition fees, study supplies, a bicycle, the use of a computer, a living allowance, and access to health care. Scholarship students also attend the Learning Center for additional training.

However, funding the next generation of Cambodians to leave their communities to study and find jobs in the city, or even abroad, does not support the development of education in those communities.

With that in mind, the PEPY Empowering Youth scholarship project requires recipients to give back to their community during their studies by initiating a community project.

In addition, the scholarship program works in concert with Dream Classes so that grade 10, 11, and 12 students receive support as they consider their options for the future. Indeed, almost 100% of our scholarship students came from Dream Class!


2014: Sixteen new students were accepted into the scholarship program for the 2014-2015 academic year. To welcome the new students, an integration week was held. During this week we sought to familiarize the students with PEPY Empowering Youth and Siem Reap. Additionally, we aimed to facilitate bonding between students and address any questions and concerns.

The students who were accepted into the scholarship program in 2013 all passed the necessary exams to continue their education in second year.

A career fair was held in Siem Reap, exposing students to the future employment opportunities available, as well as potential employers.

Staff members and 21 scholarship students spent a week team building, problem solving, and having fun at Jombok Hoas Adventure Learning Center in Preah Vihear province.

All of the scholarship students joined a Khmer Talks event. Topics covered included quality higher education in Cambodia, how to sell your personal skills in the interview process, the importance of setting goals, and how to be an entrepreneur. Students learned from speakers’ different experiences and knowledge; at the same time they also witnessed different styles of presentation.

During July, three teachers from Educate Together in Ireland spent the month in Siem Reap collaborating, learning, and teaching. They worked with the scholarship students on CV writing, communication techniques, and fostering positive mental health.

As part of our partnership with ETNS in Ireland all second-year students were invited to apply for a three-week exchange visit to Ireland in April/May 2015. After written applications were received, interviews took place and two students selected.

2013: The program was expanded and provided 20 scholarships opportunities to Kralanh High School graduates to help fund further education at university or vocational training institutes in Siem Reap.

2012: The PEPY Empowering Youth scholarship program was launched as a pilot project providing scholarships to two Chanleas Dai students graduating from Kralanh District High School.

Challenges / Lessons learned

  • The scholarship project was implemented as a pilot project in 2012. At that time, none of the Kralanh High School graduates passed the necessary examinations to qualify for scholarships needed to progress to further education. We realized that merely offering scholarships was not enough, but that students needed support through high school to achieve their education ambitions. This is the reasoning behind offering Dream Classes to grade 10, 11, and 12 students.
  • When planning for implementation of the program, it was very time consuming to finalize a suitable contract for the scholarship agreements with students. We needed to consider so many aspects. Thanks to many meetings with other NGOs running similar programs, we adopted many lessons learned, but we are aware that unforeseeable challenges may occur.
  • In 2014, due to major countrywide changes to the High School National Exam, there was a very high failure rate nationally and as a result the number of scholarship students accepted for the 2014 intake was less than anticipated.
  • Finding accommodation in Siem Reap for students was challenging. Several potential landlords did not trust their property with a group of young people.
  • In 2013, during the “social investigation” stage of recruitment (home visits with students’ families), Kralanh was hit by flooding, delaying our process. In 2014, we planned ahead for possible delays to give plenty of time for administration.


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