My name is Sun Saveth. I am the founder of Khmer New Generation Organization (KNGO). I was born in a poor family in Bospo village during Khmer Rouge time. I have seven brothers and one sister. My parents are farmers and are very poor so not all of my elder brothers and sister got a good education. All of my siblings dropped out of school because they needed to make money to support their families.
Despite being very poor my parents were able to support me to finish my high school in 1996. At the same time because my parents didn’t have money to pay for me to study English lessons I decided to ask my local teacher to tutor me in English for free. However, to study free I had to collect fees from the other students for my teacher.
Then in 1998 I worked as a volunteer teacher with a local NGO to teach English to the children in my community for free. I wanted to help poor children to have the opportunity to have a better future through education.
In 1999 I was married. My wife has 8 siblings, 7 sisters and 1 brother. My wife didn’t go to school because her family was too poor. After our marriage, my wife made cakes to sell in the community to make money to support our family and I still worked as a volunteer teacher to teach children in the community.
In 2000 we had one daughter and I was still working as a volunteer teaching English to children in the community. In 2002 I was granted a scholarship to study at university through the local NGO which I had volunteered with for 3 years. By 2007 we had 3 children, two girls and one boy.
In 2007, I decided to establish Khmer New Generation Organization (KNGO) school to provide free education to poor children in the community. My school was set up on the verandah of my small simple home.
In January, 2008, the Ministry of Interior issued permission for us to open our school, providing free education in Khmer, maths, English, computer, primary health care, environmental education and vocational skills training to 30 students in the first school program..
I decided to work as a tuk tuk driver providing transport for tourists to the Battambang area as tourism was growing in Cambodia at this time. While driving I talked to my passengers about KNGO’s work. Some tourists had teaching experience and were interested in teaching English at KNGO. Before long we had many foreign teachers coming to help teach in our school. The parents of the children in Bospo village started to send more and more children to attend English lessons in KNGO’s school.
At the end of 2008 we had 100 students in KNGO program so I asked friends who had studied English with me to come and help. We all worked without salary and with the help of volunteers’ donations, we were able to buy books and pens for our students. Through my tuk tuk business I met a lot of good people and volunteers and I asked them to spread the story of KNGO school to their friends and to fundraise to support KNGO school.
In 2009 I met a young man from Germany. I asked him to set up a KNGO website. In 2009 I met a young couple from Australia who started to help KNGO teachers with monthly donations. At this time KNGOhad 4 teachers. In 2012 KNGO received $10000 from an Economic Charity Group in England for 2 years. With further support from volunteers the website continued to develop and draw international interest.
In 2011 a volunteer from New Zealand sponsored me to study at Battambang University, completing a degree in Human Resource Management and in 2013 an Australian couple and a young girl came to volunteer with KNGO. They agreed to set up Khmer New Generation Organization Australia (KNGOA) as a charity to support and grow KNGOC ‘s work here in Cambodia. This Australian charity has been fundraising, grant writing and supporting the development of a wide variety of extra curricula services for KNGO. We now have five basic classrooms and three enclosed rooms for our office and computer classroom.
We currently provide education in English, IT and supplementary Khmer literacy and maths to over 200 students from Bospo village. I am proud of what has been achieved for the children in my village. Education is the key to a successful future for all Cambodian children.
Sun Saveth (Founder and Director)