Each year Youth Star recruits, trains and places Cambodian graduate volunteers into under-served rural provinces to assist in community development. In 2015 volunteers will promote the benefits of education, organise and conduct lessons, run youth clubs, provide health instruction and foster gender equality. The Youth Star model helps graduates develop their skills, encourages a culture of community self-reliance and raises awareness of the critical importance of education to future prospects.
Most of Cambodia's youth live in poorly served rural areas, without access to basic services such as electricity. School drop-out rates are high in rural areas, particularly at secondary level, with rates markedly higher for women. Little paid work is available, leading to many disaffected youths turning to substance abuse, petty crime and gangs. Youth forms a very large part of Cambodian society-a consequence of the Pol Pot genocide is that of the 15.5 million population 50% are under 22 years
Volunteer graduates are trained and placed in rural communities to directly confront youth social problems. They develop local leaders through establishing youth clubs, provide educational resources, coordinate classes and respond to emerging social issues. As positive community role models they offer an alternative vision for the future. This 'youth working with youth' model, which Youth Star has used since 2005, is highly effective in engaging with local youth and raising school attendance.
The Youth Star approach assists Cambodian rural communities to positively influence their own future, with this influence radiating out to surrounding villages. Youth leadership is developed to provide direction and support for community aspirations, with networks established for ongoing assistance. Youth Star volunteers develop their liaison skills so that they can help build a just and peaceful Cambodian nation through education, citizen service, civic leadership, and social entrepreneurship.