Top 10 Things I am looking forward to in 2011
(In no particular order besides #1 being the top of the list!)
1) A New Managing Director – I am looking forward to welcoming Layheng Ting onto the PEPY team as of mid January 2011. We have been awaiting her arrival since I interviewed and hired Layheng last summer. Layheng is finishing up her PhD this month after leaving Cambodia to live in the US for a few years on a Fulbright Scholarship. We are excited to welcome Layheng back home, where she plans to spend the next phase of her life improving access to quality education in Cambodia.
2) Youth Clubs – Our youth clubs are a long awaited addition to our community programs. Awatd and her team have been gearing up to create youth clubs where older students can work together to improve their communities and I’m excited to see these in action!
3) New Road in CD (and electricity?) – The road from Kralanh to Odor Meanchey is being paved, allowing people in Chanleas Dai to more easily access the market, the high school, and the rest of the country. It will also make the area less dusty (though the cars might start flying by faster!) There has been talk of electricity arriving to…. but we won’t hold our breath yet!
4) Saw Aw Saw Growth – We have recently put out ads to hire technical experts in math, Khmer literacy, kindergarten training, and other technical education areas for our SAS team. We’re excited to see this program expand and increase our internal capacity for teacher training and support.
5) TEDx – I am really excited to be part of a team bringing TEDx to Phnom Penh for the first time. Our inaugural TEDx event will be on February 5th, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out as we have wonderful speakers lined up and some exciting partnerships brewing!
6) PT Guesthouse – OK, so maybe this is still a dream…. but we are really thinking about it! If we find the right location and pricing, you might see a PT guesthouse in Siem Reap in the next year or so!
7) Student Groups/Study Abroad Program – We have loved working with more student groups in 2010 and our first semester-long Cambodian based study abroad program. We are hoping to expand this work as student programming is something we believe in and really enjoy.
8) Expanding to a local board – As we bring on a new Cambodian director we are also hoping to help her build up a local board around her to help support our strategy and growth.
9) Community Contributions for most programs – 2010 brought our first significant community contributions for our programs—not because the value was higher than contributions we have asked for in the past, but because efforts to raise this kind of support were led from within. SAS is based around community support, the students who created their VCD club this year were able to fund the initiative through community donations, and child clubs are now collecting community funding for their work as well. We’re hoping to see more of this in 2011.
10) A Community Center – Once again…. this is on the dream list. I am hoping this is something we can make a reality within 2011, as having a center from which to do teacher training, hold more supplemental and after-school programing, and offer traveling teacher support is a key part of our hopes for the future expansion of our programs.
2010 brought us surprises, new ideas, and lots of fabulous additions to the PEPY team, and I have no doubt 2011 will be similar. Most of the things I am looking forward to are the things I enjoy now: spending time with an amazing PEPY team, meeting new and inspiring Cambodian leaders, and supporting programs and tours which inspire people to be the best people they can be—all the while learning how to become the person I want to be as well.
Here’s to a fabulous 2011 and all of the gifts it will hold for you and your loved ones!