The Cambodian Arts & Scholarship Foundation has been working to educate girls in Cambodia since 2001. CASF works closely with local communities to identify potential students; provides the support necessary for them to attend school; and sustains this support for as long as the child wants to learn. Much of our work has been done in a small village in the province of Svay Rieng called Ta Kheng. Now, we want to expand to neighboring villages in the same commune, Meun Chey.
Although enrollment of boys and girls has reached parity in primary school in Cambodia, the completion rate at the secondary level demonstrates a gender disparity. Girls are particularly vulnerable, as their education is less valued than that of boys. A 2012 UNDP study showed that 20.6% of Cambodian males had at least a secondary education, as compared to 11% of Cambodian females. This gender gap can be attributed to costs (direct and opportunity) and social attitudes.
CASF provides monthly scholarships and other support to address both direct and opportunity costs of keeping a girl in school. Studies show that scholarships that are targeted to the poor, and conditional on attendance and some level of performance, increase enrollment and attendance.
This project will educate 65 girls in the Cambodian province of Svay Rieng. By increasing opportunity and choice for girls, we are creating a virtuous cycle, in which women attain higher professional achievements and thus provide the next generation of girls with professional role models. We have created a culture of education in Meun Chey Commune. Parents are less likely to take students out of school to work, and our graduates return often to help their families.