Building Dreams- One student at a time
Mark will arrive in Cambodia next week and meet with this project group of 4 prospective college students. A part of his discussion will focus on their own abilities to identify any possible source of tuition funding and also what possible resources they have identified to reduce housing costs , assuming that we can raise the funds for tuition.
When we first posted this project we had high hopes of raising funds to help send these and other students like them on to local college. In Cambodia, costs of education in Western terms are very low, with tuition running only in the hundreds of dollars per year per student. Nursing tends to the be highest tuition, running at about $ 800 per year. Although low by western standards, these are astronomical sums for students to raise, and there are few lending sources available.
Let’s look at some of the figures: a day laborer earns about $ 3.00 per day in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city. Assuming annual tuition costs of $400 per year, this means that a “ typical” college student would need to work more than 130 man days over 21 weeks to earn the tuition amount. However, this $ 3.00 per day, assuming a 6 day work week, creates a monthly income of $ 120 which must also pay for food and rent. Even in poor countries, slum living can easily cost about $ 100 per month for food, rent, utilities and transportation to a job. Consequently, even if a student worked full time and could manage to save $ 20 per month, it would take nearly 2 years to save basic tuition. The economics of the situation prevent even the most ambitious student from working to earn enough money to pay tuition and room and board.
To date, we have received 2 donations for our 4 students. Regretably, we can't commit to helping these students unless we are able to identify and/or raise sources of tuition funding. We are not giving up, but we are delayed in being able to report actual " student" progress.
Receiving a college degree can help to propel these students from a life of unstable day labor to a middle class stability.
We currently have 4 students from our Family Support program , 2011 high school graduates, in college. Fortunately, we have found sponsors for them. We have another 6 students on track to graduate from High School in 2013 as well as these 4 students from our Rural Assistance Program . Our great hope is that having managed to graduate from High School, we can help facilitate these students achieve their dream of a college education.