Sala Monkey started out with a single teacher and 35 students. We now have 5 teachers and 157 students from Kindergarten through Grade 5.
As a testament to the power of crowdfunding, word of mouth and having a dream to build a big modern school in the middle of a rice field, I have seen my dream nearly come full circle. I honestly could not be more grateful for the people who have supported my vision to educate the children of Kep. We could not have done it without each and every one of you!
When I arrived in Cambodia from the U.S. in December of 2012, my original plan was to find a teaching position at a private school in Phnom Penh earning a comfortable salary with the ability to travel a bit throughout Southeast Asia.
Long story short, I ended up travelling to Kep where I met a good friend who convinced me to spend some time working as a volunteer teacher at the local government secondary school. A year and a half later, I found myself enamoured with the little coastal province of Kep and it's residents. I started looking for an inexpensive house to rent and stumbled upon a tiny all but abandoned house in the rural countryside.
Convinced that I couldn't possibly live in this tiny dilapidated house, I met several excited children and their families who convinced me otherwise. The local families had a single request of me...to teach the children English.
And so it began...My mission to offer quality education to children who could not afford it otherwise. The overwhelming task of getting children re-enrolled in school and out of child labour, helping to provide essential medical care for entire families, providing basic life essentials like rice and drinking water, repairing homes and often working to diffuse domestic violence situations while trying to build and operate a school. The work is often emotionally draining but the rewards are immeasurable. This year, we will send our very first student off to study at university!
Our Education Partner - Mr. Jo Yahich
We have been most fortunate to have met a very special man by the name of Mr. Jo Yahich from Belgium.
Mr. Jo first came to visit us a few years back as we found ourselves suddenly evicted from our original schoolhouse. A mutual friend sent Jo to visit us, as she knew he was looking for a special project to help assist with here in Cambodia after a previous project that he had committed to had fallen through. As Jo tells it, he decided to help the children of Cambodia after a visit to Angkor Wat in Siem Reap.
While touring the famous temple, he met a a young girl who was hawking postcards to help support her family and pay for her studies. It was after meeting this young girl that Jo decided he would find a project that would support education for an entire community of Cambodian children in need.
Jo also shares a tragic history with many of our student's families. Jo's family were victims of The Holocaust as many of our families were victim to The Khmer Rouge genocide which affected millions of Cambodians and decimating the population as well as the education system.
We are very proud and grateful to have the support of a man who has true empathy and encouragement for our children, their education and our entire community.
Our Academic Philosophy
Our academic program has been developed around the Singapore Ministry of Education's Kindergarten and Primary education curriculum and syllabus along with the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport's Khmer language program.
The Sala Monkey Primary syllabus includes study in English Language Arts, Mathematics (English), Science (English), Health (English), Art (English), Sport, Khmer Language and Mathematics.
Who Are Your Students?
Our students come from within our local village and the surrounding villages and communes here in Kep. The majority of children continue to live in generational rural poverty while a small percentage of our students live slightly above that.
Do Your Students Attend Sala Monkey Primary School Exclusively?
The majority of our students attend Cambodian state school along with attending Sala Monkey.
We are strong advocates for the children continuing their public school education and we often counsel the families on the importance of the children staying enrolled or re-enrolling in public school in order to continue their Khmer education. In fact, we often assist the families with financial issues that generally impact their ability to purchase uniforms, books and school supplies for their children.
The students attend public school for half-a-day and the spend the other half of their day receiving an education here at Sala Monkey. Currently, our program covers Kindergarten 1 and 2 through Primary grade 4. Our goal for 2017 is to continue building in order to complete the second primary classroom building which will allow us to extend our primary program through grade 6.
Our goal within the next two years is to offer full-time education once our school campus construction is complete.
What Is Your Mission?
Our mission is to provide tuition-free formal education to children who otherwise would not have the opportunity to receive a high quality education. Our goal is to elevate the state of education in Cambodia and plant the seed of what is possible! Exposing the students to a wide variety of future career opportunities beyond hospitality and tourism. Our students are the future of Cambodia and they will help to elevate not only their own families, but society as a whole through the study of art, computer technology, science, engineering, and more...
Meet Our Director
Tracy Stettler (Founder) School Director and Primary Education Teacher, Grades 2-3