The genocide and displacement of millions has resulted in Cambodia being one of the poorest countries in Asia – there is no welfare, public transport or subsidized health care; most people survive on less than $2 a day; in many areas there is often no electricity, running water or sanitation.

There are two legacies of the Pol Pot regime that are particularly important:

  • 80% of teachers were killed and by the end of the carnage, only 54 teachers remained in the whole country
  • 34% of the current population are under 14 years of age

Up to half of Cambodia’s children do not complete primary school, with girls dropping out before boys. This lack of education has lead to a devastating loss of productive skills across the country.

The Cambodian people are ready and eager for change. Matesabroad works to empower these communities by educating the children and supporting their families towards financial independance. Our aim is for this next generation to become the instruments of positive social change.

Our mission is to create leaders armed with the skills, knowledge and ability to transform their communities.


Located on the banks of the Tonlé Sap and Mekong Rivers, Phnom Penh has been the national capital since French colonization of Cambodia. Founded in 1434, the city is noted for its beautiful and historical architecture and attractions. Once known as the “Pearl of Asia,” it was considered one of the loveliest French-built cities in Indochina.

It retains the look and feel of Asia even though it has risen from the darkened ashes of war that took place during the 70’s and 80’s. It is a vibrant centre of fascinating culture, bustling cafes and bars and a world-class food scene.

Phnom Penh is a compact city and easy to navigate on foot, as it is set out in a grid system similar to New York. The most significant cultural sights are located near the riverfrontin the most beautiful past of town. Most other sights are a short tuk-tuk ride away

There is so much to do and see –

Top 10 must see tourist suggestions

  1. Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda
  2. The National Museum
  3. Tual Sleng Genocide Museum
  4. The Killing Fields
  5. The Markets – eg The Central and Russian markets
  6. The Plae Pakaa Cultural Show
  7. River Cruises
  8. Riverfront Bars and Restaurants
  9. Cooking Classes
  10. Bike tours on Silk Island

Food :

Phnom Penh is a delight for foodies. Khmer and French cooking are the local specialities but there is also a wide range of restaurants that showcase the world’s cuisine. Worth mentioning are a selection of restaurants run by aid organisations that employ local as part of training programmes or whose profits go directly to aid Cambodia’s recovery. Click here for our suggestions