OBT (Organization for Basic Training) is a Cambodian charity set up in 2009 by a former APLC social worker. On returning to Chiro, the village where he was born in the Kampong Cham province, he became convinced that the fight against poverty could be won through better access to education. For the last three years, Agir pour le Cambodge has been supporting OBT and funding a teacher’s salary.

OBT fights poverty by enabling children and young people from very poor families to access education so that in the future, they’ll have jobs that will help them to improve their living conditions. In order to achieve this goal, the NGO provides children from areas surrounding the village of Chiro, 10km from Kampong Cham, with free after-school classes in English, IT and since recently, French. These classes also have a cultural aspect as traditional music is taught as well. Today, OBT has over 400 students. Given that access to education lies at the centre of Agir pour le Cambodge’s mission, we have been funding the salary of one of OBT’s teachers for the last three years.

OBT has set up a real social business in order to finance the school, which includes guesthouses, shops selling traditional hand-made items and the production and sale of honey. This eco-system has been expanded with the creation of a plastic recycling centre where waste is transformed into bricks used to build walls for minor roads, and the erection of a water tower which provides families in the village with running water. This recycling centre and water tower are helping to raise children’s awareness of environmental issues and of the importance of protecting our planet. This is why Green Days are organised every Friday when during an hour, children all help to collect litter and waste in the area surrounding the village.

In September 2019, Sophal Pot, the director of OBT, and François Phelip, a volunteer who’s been working at OBT for a year and a half, will spend a month in France, meeting people and sharing their experiences on a variety of topics such as the education of children in Cambodia and international volunteering, seeking to encourage the sharing of culture between the Cambodian charity sector and the French charity sector. Around ten meetings will be held in a number of different towns including Paris, Lille, Angers, Toulouse, Marseille, Grenoble, Lyon and Strasbourg.

Please help them to make their project a reality by donating and/or by coming to meet them when they’re in France in September 2019! And if you’re in Cambodia, come and see them in Chiro and experience an authentic Cambodian village by staying in one of the guesthouses! Check them out on kisskissbankbank and http://www.obtchiro.com/bungalow-and-homestay/.

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