Siem Reap is one of 24 provinces in Cambodia, located in the Northwest of the country. The majority of the population lives in the province and below the poverty limit. Many families are unable to cover their basic needs, such as food, clean water and shelter. The poverty is evident with the children. Their parents are unable to send them to school with the necessary equipment such as books, stationery and uniform. Many parents keep their kids at home so they can help raise money for the family.
The Director of the school is Sim Sao. In Pongro Village they call him Pa Sao: papa Sao in Khmer. He grew up in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge. His parents were killed by Pol Pots regime, as was the rest of his family. After his parents died he worked in the rice fields, every day in rain and burning sun. That´s hard work for a little boy. When he turned 12 d he served as a Pagoda boy for two years, collecting food from the villages for the monks to eat. He learned Buddhist prayers and chants. The monks was his teachers and they took 'd care of him. At the age of 18 he became a monk himself and stayed for 10 years.
Every day was the same. Rise at dawn, pray, chant, learning the way of the monk and beg in the streets for food. Sao was given shelter, food and a form of education.Respect and discipline is important to a monk. Sao is a man with vision and passion. In 2001 he decided to change his life again. For nine years he worked in a hotel in Siem Reap, as well as a tuktuk driver.
Ten years ago he started what we today know as the Pa Sao School. In order to build up the country and give the children a better future, he felt he needed to educate and empower them. After all, they are the future of Cambodia. At that time he didn´t have a school building, so he thought the student in his own house. The number of student grew each year and his little house could no longer fit them all.
© 2020 - The Pa Sao School, Siem Reap Cambodia
" My vision for the school and our project is to improve the quality of life and advance the rights for children. The Pa Sao School wants to create a better Cambodia for its children. And in order to change the future we must nurture and empower the young generation. They are the next leaders of Cambodia. My mission is to support them throughout high school, and help them graduate from the local university. " Sim Sao, director of the school