“We will educate our children.”<br />“We will do it one by one…”<br />“Step by step.”<br />-- Ponheary Ly<br />
Ponheary Ly has made it her life’s mission to help poor children in rural Cambodia. <br />She provides them with an education… medical care… <br />…clean drinking water…<br />…and breakfast, every day, so that they can learn.<br />
China<br />Cambodia, in the heart of South-East Asia, experienced a brutal civil war in the 70s.<br />India<br />
In 1975, the Khmer Rouge swept to power, and established a brutal regime.<br />
They emptied the cities. <br />They created forced labour camps <br />in the countryside.<br />Their motto was:<br />"To keep you is no benefit. <br />To destroy you is no loss."<br />
It was the most lethal regime <br />of the 20th century. <br />Over 7 million Cambodians <br />lost their lives. <br />
During the Khmer Rouge times, having an education didn't just make you a target.<br />It was a death sentence.<br />
Ponheary Ly comes from a family of educators. <br />Her father was a teacher. He was killed by the Khmer Rouge.<br />Ponheary herself was attacked, and left for dead. <br />In the ensuing decades of occupation, civil war and poverty, Ponheary became a teacher and, in secret, learned how to speak French and English.<br />
In 1998, when Cambodia opened up to Westerners, the temples of Angkor Wat became a major tourist destination.<br />Ponheary became a much sought-after tour guide. <br />
As tourism grew,<br />Ponheary began seeing more and more children working outside the temples. <br />selling trinkets and postcards to tourists .<br />She made a commitment to help these children return to school.<br />
The tourists she guided began to get interested. <br />They began to help, donating money to support her efforts.<br />One of them started a charity in the USA:<br />The Ponheary Ly Foundation (PLF)<br />
Now, in 2011, with the help of the PLF, Ponheary supports four schools and hundreds of children in and around Siem Reap. <br />
Many of Cambodia's rural children are in poor health. They battle malaria, dengue fever and severe malnourishment.<br />
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.