Recent projects


The Khmer Numeracy and Literacy Project

The Matesabroad Foundation focuses its support for 5 slum schools in the poor communities of Phnom Penh. The program targets the poorest children; those unable to afford to attend Government schools. The program offers free primary level education (grade 1–6) to boys and girls aged between 6 and 14 years of age. Nineteen classes operate five days a week for two to three hours per day. The children study mathematics, Khmer reading and writing, geography, history, science, environmental studies, hygiene and sanitation, mental health, HIV/AIDS, drug prevention and social morality .

Typically classes run for 2 hours to give the children time to help their parents whether it be minding siblings to allow parents to work or helping the parents in a subsistence job such as selling food or water, or to scavenge for garbage such as plastic bottles to cash for food.

The families we target are part of the 35% of the population who earn less than $1.00 a day. These families cannot afford to pay for government school education. In any event most of the parents are illiterate and need encouragement to have their children attend school instead of helping bring in an income.

The English Teaching Project

One of the strongest indicators of future employment in Cambodia is the ability to speak English.

Matesabroad provides intensive English classes with qualified Cambodian English teachers at four of our schools. In the last twelve months we have employed a part time resources assistant and the English program has become a major focus for the foundation. New initiatives include the introduction of music, videos and games to assist in the implementation of the curriculum. The introduction of volunteers /Native English speakers to act as support personnel in the classroom has proved a huge success and we are expanding to double the number of English classes in 2015.

Teach the Teacher Project

This project aims to improve and augment teacher professional development in our schools. Helping one Cambodian teacher affects the education and lives of hundreds of children. 

Matesabroad are now implementing a teach the teacher program where we bring experienced teachers from Australia to help teachers who face enormous challenges working in the remote squatter communities of Phnom Penh.

In collaboration with our Cambodian colleagues we aim to provide regular support with the delivery of teacher training workshops where we demonstrate a range of proven and effective teaching strategies. Through our workshop programs we share content and training ideas with fellow teachers. The collaboration inspires not just our trainees but our volunteers. Access to quality education improves opportunities for everyone, especially children in developing countries. 

The Computer /IT Project

As in many developing countries computer literacy and a knowledge of IT are hugely beneficial for all job seekers. To improve the employment prospects of our students, we have now employed a full time computer teacher for our schools. We have also reviewed and improved the content of the curriculum for the computer course and are currently increasing the number of computers and classes for the next school year.

The Youth Employment Project [YEP]

The five communities in Phnom Penh where Mates Abroad provides support, have a high population of youth [16-25 years old]. These young adults have mostly left school at an early age as their parents were unable to pay the required school fees [25c-75c /day]. After a basic primary education they have been mostly unemployed. The boys get occasional work labouring at construction sites. This pays approximately $5 a day and they are unlikely to work more than one day a week. Due to malnutrition they are not very tall or strong and hence rarely get selected even for this type of work. The girls get work at the markets doing jobs like peeling garlic for 10 cents a kilo or selling vegetables for $1.50 a day.

The aim of this scheme is to provide an opportunity for youth [16-25] in the targeted communities to attend vocational training and gain employment. Candidates are provided with

  • A pushbike so they can travel to and from their community to the training college
  • All course fees [an example from the current syllabus is “The repair and maintenance of refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines”].
  • Support [stipend for food] for their families. This is because the student will be studying and unable to support the family with a wage. This payment greatly improves family support for the student, leading to improved attendance and successful course completion.

The Domestic Chicken Farm Project

Currently many young women in the community have little opportunity for personal improvement or gainful employment as they cannot leave their homes because they are responsible for the care of young children and elderly relatives.

The aim of this scheme is to provide an opportunity for women in the targeted communities to be able to care for family members within their home if required and still have an opportunity to learn skills and earn an income.  

With the kind assistance of representatives of an Australian organisation [DANA Asia] who currently run a large chicken farm project in rural Cambodia we have been provided with a proven management model that has had great success.

Using donated community land selected women within the community will form the first training class to learn how to manage a domestic chicken farm. At the end of the three month period if the trainee has met all the requirements they will be provided with a micro-loan to build a chicken farm on their own land stocked with ten vaccinated hens and a rooster. It is estimated that these small domestic farms will have the potential to provide both food and income for each family.