100% of net profits from Footprint Cafes are given as grants to local educational projects. Footprint Cafes, Siem Reap, opened in November 2016. In 2017 it became financially self-sustaining, the following year it awarded its first grants.
For Footprint’s first distribution, the cafe gave grants to four organisations focused on providing access to high quality education for some of Siem Reap’s most vulnerable communities: Free to Shine, Caring for Cambodia, Ponheary Ly Foundation & Grace House Community Centre.
Free to Shine focuses on preventing human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of young women and girls. Their work is child protection-focused, human rights-based, and designed to strengthen families and keep children in education. Their Khmer team works with local authorities and communities to reach the most at-risk rural girls, reducing their vulnerability to trafficking by improving access to education and providing them with social work support. Free to Shine work with over 700 girls, from 14 communes and 50 rural villages. Footprint’s grant was awarded to build capacity for their mobile library programme, helping the most isolated and vulnerable girls engage in reading and education.
Caring for Cambodia (CFC) provide educational opportunities for Cambodian children so that they can reach their highest potential. In 2003 CFC started with one Primary School, 350 children and a small group of volunteers. Today it has 21 schools catering for 6,600 students, 300 faculty members and 9 main programs: English as a Second Language: Food for Thought; Career Preparation; Health Education: Girls Matter! and Teacher Training. CFC programmes have decreased drop rates in their Primary Schools from a national average of 11% and the province rate of 16% to just 2%. 63% of CFC graduates go on to higher education or are in the work force, of these 33% go on to college, compared to less than 16% nationally. Footprint’s grant was awarded to support their libraries program. Libraries are where young learners break the cycle of illiteracy. CFC libraries encourage learners through group activities, book-borrowing and special programs. Five Primary School libraries, two Junior High and two High School libraries serve over 6,600 students from grade 12. The Library Coordinator and her staff train with international teachers and set up programs to promote reading in the library and at home.
Ponheary Ly Foundation focuses on promoting access to quality education for children and youths across Northern Cambodia. The Ponheary Ly Foundation (PLF) was started by teacher Ponheary following her desire to help just one student. Today the foundation sponsor 2,800 students in four Primary Schools and five Secondary Schools through rural Northern Cambodia. Their programs include: Uniform and Bicycle Supply: Food and Wellness; Teacher Support; Residential Housing; Technology; Enrichment Programs; High School Scholarships and University & Vocational Training Scholarships. 27 PLF students have completed their university studies and are now putting their degrees to good use. Footprint’s grant was awarded to support PLF start a library.
Grace House Community Centre works to deliver access to education for communities located between Siem Reap and the Tonle Sap that rely on subsistence farming and fishing. Their four main programmes include: Sustainable Development; Education for All; Children with a Disability and Women’s Handicraft. Grace House has a Basic Education program with over 270 students aged 3- 16 years. They have a holistic approach to learning, which includes a structured curriculum offering students English language lessons and creative, experimental avenues for learning through monthly topics for each class. Grace House also has a Day Programme for children with disabilities, a rare means of support in Siem Reap and Cambodia. The day program offers structured educational programmes complimented by therapeutic intervention, physiotherapy, sensory stimulation and activities such as cooking, living skills and art. Grace House’s Family Support program provides material aid and social support for families while their social enterprise focuses on empowering women and their families through meaningful employment. Footprint’s grant has been awarded to support their English program and specialist books focused on disability.
Siem Reap organisations will be invited to apply for Footprint’s second round of grants in April 2019.