Support PEPY & Rural Youth Scholars in Cambodia

by PEPY Empowering Youth
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Support PEPY & Rural Youth Scholars in Cambodia
Support PEPY & Rural Youth Scholars in Cambodia
Support PEPY & Rural Youth Scholars in Cambodia
Support PEPY & Rural Youth Scholars in Cambodia
Support PEPY & Rural Youth Scholars in Cambodia
Support PEPY & Rural Youth Scholars in Cambodia
Support PEPY & Rural Youth Scholars in Cambodia
Support PEPY & Rural Youth Scholars in Cambodia
Support PEPY & Rural Youth Scholars in Cambodia
Support PEPY & Rural Youth Scholars in Cambodia
Support PEPY & Rural Youth Scholars in Cambodia
Our Communications Officer Working on a Training
Our Communications Officer Working on a Training

Hello PEPY friends and community, 

Cambodia has officially reopened and our PEPY scholars and team are breathing a sigh of relief to see youth returning to schools and tourism reinvigorating the Siem Reap community. Now that the town is more lively, scholars are finding work opportunities in schools and in local businesses and our unemployment rate has shrunk to just 11%! In the coming months, we predict that our scholars will achieve an employment rate above 90%, the highest it has been since the first COVID outbreaks. 

As we begin to feel more optimistic in 2022, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for supporting our scholars and our team, in a time when crises after crises were and continue to impact communities around the world. Without you, our scholars would have had to drop out of school and move back into their hometowns, as they would have been unable to afford their living expenses, while their family members were facing food insecurity. By funding PEPY and our Scholarship for Higher Education project, students and their families were provided food and extra support, enabling our scholars to continue their studies and their job searches within the city. If the scholars were forced to give up on their dreams and drop out, they would likely be doing construction work or farming to try to help their families and very few of them would have returned to school. Thank you, for helping us end the cycle of poverty in our communities! 

Quick Updates: 

  • LinkedIn Training: In February, the PEPY Communications Team provided an introductory workshop on LinkedIn to help our team become more engaged with job networking, career research, and lectures/career-building events. Our goal by the end of the session was for all PEPY team members to have a polished LinkedIn page that they use as a tool to help our students, support other NGOs, and develop themselves. We are pleased to have the entire team join and our Communications Team will be following up by providing one on one sessions for every staff member. Find us and friend us next time you are on LinkedIn! 
  • Team4Tech 2nd Round: We are so thrilled to receive another $15,000 from Team4Tech to support our team and participants' IT training needs. We plan to use the funds to give our team members better quality computers, to cover workshops and courses for our staff, purchase more computers for our IT library, and put some money toward our Public Community Lab and Coworking Space in the YISI office. 
  • New Volunteers: 8 Learning Center graduates received SE Asia Foundation scholarships this quarter! This fund will cover their studies and the purchase of a computer for them to perform well in school. We are so proud of them for their hard work and determination to complete their higher education degrees. As SE Asia Foundation scholars, they must complete 2000 hours of community service with their sponsoring organization (which would be PEPY in this case). Right now, the scholars are divided into different departments including Operations and HR, Admin, Learning Center Program, and YISI Program. We think it is wonderful that they will be able to intern with us and increase their professional skills. We thank SE Asia Foundation for providing us and our Learning Center graduates with this incredible opportunity!

If you want to follow the activities and updates from PEPY more closely, we would encourage you to sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, or Twitter! We also have quarterly reports for each program that we would be happy to send you that you can request by emailing us.

Sincerely,

Kathryn, PEPY's Partnerships and Development Manager | kathryn@pepyempoweringyouth.org

YISI IT for Business sessions starting up!
YISI IT for Business sessions starting up!
Dream student excited to one day become a teacher
Dream student excited to one day become a teacher

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Our new Communications Officer on a photo exchange
Our new Communications Officer on a photo exchange

Hello PEPY friends and family, 

On behalf of the PEPY team, I would love to thank you for your incredible generosity and support of our organization. We have faced unprecedented challenges this year, both financially and mentally, coping with unpredictable lockdowns and the loss of local and international funds. Your donations have been our lifeline to keep our programs running so that we can continue to support youth in our communities. We cannot thank you enough! As the holiday season nears and we prepare for a new year of classes and students, we wanted to share an update on PEPY and our projects with you. 

This Quarter, September- November

This quarter, we have had some exciting activities and developments! First, we have a new Communications Officer, Somnang Phalla, supporting our bilingual communications and taking on our social media! Next, we were able to conduct our final activities in person this year so our youth could celebrate their end-of-year achievements together. We have also been conducting monthly panel events on our Facebook live called our Raise Your Voice! series. Each panel highlights a different industry and the empowered individuals who work in those industries looking to better the world through their work. The first session was focused on writers and we gained over 2000 followers on Facebook from the event! We then hosted a panel on performing artists and next month we will be focusing on IT professionals. We look forward to conducting 2-3 more sessions engaging youth in these great networking events.

Our Doors Are Officially Open!

In Cambodia, the government has lifted restrictions and schools practicing social distancing have been allowed to reopen. We are so thrilled to be able to support students in person again and for them to have the opportunity to run projects and research in their communities. If anything changes due to Omnicron variant or another crisis, we will keep you informed! 

Program Updates

In response to school closures, our organization shifted our focus and programs to ensure that youth would be able to continue their studies and access education. Our first order of business was giving our participants access to technology. With the successful launch of our Future is Bright Lab and Library, all first-year scholars have laptops, while all other participants and alumni are able to rent computers and another tech for nominal fees. This not only provides some funds to PEPY to cover small purchases and IT wear and tear, but it has also helped our youth keep up with their studies and apply regularly for jobs.  

In late November, 16 youth rented either a smartphone, computer, or additional IT tool and reported to us how life-changing this opportunity has been for them.  

Our Scholarship Team added new initiatives including the Tutoring Corner, where older scholars give homework and class assistance to new scholars, and the Scholarship Mentor Project, where they schedule meetings and provide moral support.  
Now, the tests scores from our Learning Center and Siem Reap universities are in, and, we are so excited to share that our students are exceeding our academic expectations despite the courses being moved online. 100% of the Learning Center students graduated in November this year, compared to 89% in 2020. Additionally, almost all of our Scholars have a 3.5 GPA or above! We believe if we continue our efforts, we will help them to stay motivated and focused on their studies and help them reach their goals! 

Our team members have also increased their focus on career networking and job placement support. As a result, 89% of our scholars are now employed! We are looking forward to getting it back to 100% in the coming months. 

Now our Dream, Learning Center, and YISI programs are all recruiting for their projects that they plan to start in January of 2022, after the national exams. For now, we are working with our current participants to provide them with ongoing support, career workshops, and helping Learning Center students work on their community projects in their hometowns.  

We look forward to sending you more updates as students come back to our offices! In the meantime, we are sending you our best wishes and hope you have a fantastic holiday season. 

Sincerely,

Kathryn McDaniel, Partnerships and Development Manager

kathryn@pepyempoweringyouth.org

Learning Center students' Graduation
Learning Center students' Graduation

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PEPY staff Dena and Mara
PEPY staff Dena and Mara

Dear PEPY community and friends, 

How are you? That is something we are asking our students and team a lot lately. Checking in and supporting each other's mental health has become paramount in our activities, ensuring that we are all operating at our best.

This quarter, our programs and activities continued to be held online, and our staff has been working tirelessly to make sure that all our participants understand the content and feel confident in their work. These efforts have proved to be effective as youths in our Dream, Learning Center, and YISI Programs all have performed well on our comprehension and check-in exams. In our ICT Project in the Learning Center, our students' average score exceeded our wildest expectations at 86%, a 10% increase from the previous exam! We feel that this year, with our reshaped curriculum to fit the pandemic, might be one of our best yet. 

In addition to our regular programs running better than we could have expected, our move to virtual training and workshops has also given us the opportunity to expand our workshops to youth across the country:

  • Our Learning Center team's Socio-Economic Rights Training has helped 349 high schoolers recognize their right to economic development and resources in Cambodia.
  • Our WeBusiness Talks and We Talks provided +375 youth the opportunity to connect with leaders from various industries and learn from their experiences and get inspired to dream bigger!
  • In our high schools, Dream Talks with inspiring role models were hosted online, so youth from our different target rural high schoolers were able to meet and interact with each other for the first time. 

In that sense, COVID-19 has had a positive impact on our organization and helped us to become far more resourceful and adaptable than we were previously. 

Over the summer, we partnered with a team of volunteers from Nutanix to improve our admin work and our IT curriculum. We addressed challenges with were facing with our donor tracking, web design course, web security course, and monitoring our IT library. With Nutanix's help, we have our first donor data, library application, web design course, and a more advanced ICT course in place. We are so thankful to them and our partner Team4Tech for setting up this partnership. 

Lastly, we are incredibly thankful to you and your support of our programs despite the many hurdles and challenges that COVID-19 has brought all of us. With your donations, our team and scholars have been able to focus on their projects in the classroom and in their communities. You have made a big difference in the lives of so many and we cannot thank you enough. We look forward to sending you more updates as schools are scheduled to re-open soon!!

Speaker from our WeBusiness Talk
Speaker from our WeBusiness Talk
Student working on his studies from home
Student working on his studies from home

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Our scholar Reaksmey at her work
Our scholar Reaksmey at her work

Hello PEPY friends and community, 

As you may know, the COVID-19 cases in Cambodia have spiked exponentially over the last few months. This has impacted our ability to provide workshops and activities to youth, as well as their ability to conduct their research and projects. While we have made a lot of effort to conduct our courses online and connect youth with technology, we are not able to reach rural high schoolers and their families at the same level. 

So far, we have approximately 400+ youth regularly attending our high school Dream classes. Prior to COVID-19, we were working with over 1,100 youth across 4 high schools. We are continuing to engage with the rural teachers, partner programs, and local leaders to try to help youth and families in crisis as much as is possible safely. 

In the Scholarship Project, students and alumni are facing unemployment in an economy with limited job opportunities. The students and team are conducting research nationwide to try to find job opportunities whenever and wherever possible. Unfortunately, unemployment has increased this quarter, with unemployed scholars ranging from 15-25. Even more students/alumni and having their salaries reduced in their current positions. As a result, our efforts to fundraise are bigger than ever, in the hopes that we can provide more support to current scholars and ensure that we have available funding to cover unemployed scholars for longer periods. 

We will keep you posted as the situation progresses! 

In the Learning Center and the Youth Innovators' Space and Incubator (YISI) Program, all youth have access to IT and the classes are running as scheduled virtually. We are excited for the youth to continue working on their projects and business plans as funded by USAID's We Act Project. In the Learning Center, the work is a research project that youth will conduct and present in groups to local leadership. In YISI, several of the Youth Innovators are launching their business on an international and domestic scale, while others are completing their business plan and assessment! 

Read more about their recent work in our Quarterly Report

Learning Center student studying in ICT class
Learning Center student studying in ICT class

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PEPY team welcoming Bong Watd to our team
PEPY team welcoming Bong Watd to our team

Hello PEPY community and friends, 

Let's start with our biggest announcement! In February, we officially welcomed our new Executive Director, Khouth Sochampawatd (Bong Watd). After leading PEPY through its localization and implementing our new programs, Sarakk Rith, will be moving on to pursue his dream. Sarakk will be pursuing his Masters of Science in Human Ecology at the United States at the University of Wisconsin-Madision for the next 2 years. We are so thrilled for him and cannot wait to see him share PEPY's story abroad and to have the youth continue to learn from him and his experiences when he returns. 

Bong Watd has been involved with PEPY for over a decade, serving as a staff member, consultant, and Board Chairperson for PEPY. She was the Board and team's clear choice to pick up the torch and we are thrilled she accepted! Over the next few months, Bong Watd will be learning from Sarakk while transitioning into her role and we look forward to learning more from her and implementing her many ideas. 

Program News:

The PEPY team was thrilled to complete youth recruitment for all of our programs as well as start our workshops and sessions in January! 

  • Scholarship Program Updates: 

This year, 28 scholars were selected from our target communities in 5 districts outside of Siem Reap city. We provided youth an Integration Day Event where they were introduced to our technical training courses at the Learning Center, their housing, and fellow scholars on a camping trip so that they could get to know each other better. By the end of the multi-day program the youth felt more familiar with each other and less scared of beginning their studies in the city. 

So far, the new recruits have been doing well in the Learning Center classes and have participated in many football (soccer) games, dance classes, social outings, and mentor sessions with the older scholars and alumni. We look forward to them completing their univeristy and vocational school registration soon. 

  • Youth Innovators' Space and Incubator Program:  

Our new program and office is off to a great start with our Saturday social enteprise development workshops in full swing. The team has recruited 20 Youth Innovators who are interested in gaining entrepreneurial soft skills development and training over the next 6 months. In addition, 10 additional youth also joined our IT for Business course on Saturday afternoons, helping improve their technical and admin skills as well as helping them build a successful business brand. We are very much looking forward to seeing their business concepts become more solidified and researched as we help them identify funding opportunities. 

COVID-19 Notice: 

Currently, COVID-19 is rapidly spreading across Cambodia so we have had to close schools again. On the bright side, our youth have been trained on using online learning apps in anticipation of another shut down, so our participants are already familiar with applications like Zoom and understand how the classes will be held going forward. The vaccine is also available in Cambodia, and medical workers and the elderly are currently completed their vaccinations. We are staying as postive and careful on this as possible as we closely monitor the situation. 

New scholars during the Integration Event
New scholars during the Integration Event
PEPY team and local partners at Incubator launch
PEPY team and local partners at Incubator launch
Main hall of Incubator Office
Main hall of Incubator Office

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Organization Information

PEPY Empowering Youth

Location: Siem Reap - Cambodia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @PEY_NGO
Project Leader:
Kathryn McDaniel
Siem Reap, Cambodia
$67,347 raised of $100,000 goal
 
233 donations
$32,653 to go
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