"Investment in girls' education may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world."
Lawrence H. Summers (while Chief Economist of the World Bank)
Reach for the Sky is a scholarship program that helps girls stay in school. Less than half of the girls in rural Cambodia continue their schooling beyond 6th grade. The costs of books, school uniforms and transportation are
beyond the budgets of many families. In addition, parents often need girls to help
out at home with subsistence farming, child care and other
activities to help make ends meet. With just a little financial help,
girls can complete high school and even continue on to college.
Girls are chosen based on their ability to succeed as well as financial
need. We monitor the girls to make sure they attend school regularly
and maintain good grades. The girls in the program at present are all in
the top 10% of their class and have almost perfect attendance. Our
hope is that these girls will graduate from college and come back to the village
with special skills to bring about social and economic change. Already
they are serving as role models for other children.
Sonia Lunceford with some of the Reach for the Sky girls
We sponsored our first college student--Chanthy--in 2012. We now have 9 girls in college. While helping a girl attend college is significantly more expensive, it has a large payoff. Here's what VY Sovechea, our good friend in Cambodia, has to say. "We should help Chanthy and the other girls go to study at the University if they wish. They will be an example to the other girls in the village. When they finish their studies at the University, they can get suitable jobs for their careers. Every girl in the village will want to learn like them too. Moreover, it changes the misconception of parents who have a bias against their daughters. In Khmer society the sons always have priority over the daughters. We can start changing this perception step by step."
Sovechea, the monk who helps with Reach for the Sky and our