Advancing Out of Our Foundational Stage
As we near the end of 2022, the team here at REACH has been reflecting on just how much has been achieved since the formation of the NGO back in 2019.
Despite being upended by the global pandemic and the mandated school closures that ensued shortly after our initial opening, no time or focus has been wasted in developing the programs that were set out in our original five-year plan. In fact, as a result of the continued generosity of so many of our long-term supporters, as well as our good fortune in receiving some substantial contributions from a handful of philanthropic donors, we have been able to far surpass our original expectations.
In June, we celebrated our first-ever Graduation ceremony, celebrating just how far our students had come.
No time was lost during the shutdown, with all our team members’ focus being redirected to developing fully the programs that we had set out to provide as part of our original vision. What has been achieved in 18 months was more than we had expected to accomplish over our first three to four years of operation. This along with the huge infrastructure expansion which has taken place, brings us to a point where REACH now has a great facility with 11 programs fully operational. Not only are these programs operational, but each works within a professional framework which has been created by the local teams on the ground, and this is something that they have taken great pride in developing.
Just to put some context around just how much we have grown as an organisation, when we first opened our facility in March 2020, we comprised of only 4 classrooms, a toilet block and a small admin office. Now we are very privileged to have been able to add to this:
- A fully kitted out computer literacy classroom
- A fully furnished kitchen capable of feeding 200+ kids
- Admin office housing our Youth Pathways and Outreach Program teams
- A first aid room
- A fifth classroom
- An amazing kindergarten building with outdoor play facilities
- A covered and paved assembly area
- Storage facilities for our fleet of mountain bikes as part of the REACH Riders Program
- A fully tooled-up bicycle repair area which is home to our REACH Repair Shop
- A large, developed garden area
- Two additional offices housing our Communications team members
It is this additional infrastructure that has allowed us to bring all of our programs to fruition years ahead of our original schedule. This and of course the additional 15 team members who are now employed to run these programs. It truly has been quite a journey of rapid growth and expansion. So many challenges along the way but all were overcome with the dedication and commitment of what has become a great team working together for a common goal.
Our Computer Literacy program launched in our second semester, in June 2022.
When looking at the work behind the scenes required to develop each individual program, this is another area where we are so proud of our team and their efforts. Our Education Program is a great example of just how much work has been done to our existing programs. Within this program, we have gone from providing basic English learning provision through what was e-learning during the pandemic, to a fully developed curriculum that spans all age groups and their respective levels of learning ability. Across 4 classrooms, we provide lessons to over 200 children and youths with classes undertaken in the mornings, afternoons and early evenings. In addition to their English lessons, included within the curriculum are several elective classes during the school week where our students get to participate in other educational activities including arts, music, dance, cycling, horticulture (as part of our Garden Program) as well as Ethics.
The framework that has been developed to date has included the production of over 1,000 individual daily lesson plans along with the accompanying resources and training tools required for their delivery. Even our security guard at the front gate managed to get involved, spending weeks laminating and preparing flashcards in his little security hut at the front gate.
Our Kindergarten class engages in play-based learning – which visitors and volunteers have commended on their Cambodia Volunteer Trips.
In June of this year, we were also delighted to fully open our new Kindergarten Program which has added a further 40 places available for the younger family members of our existing beneficiaries. This was a very special moment in our journey to date. The program not only allows REACH kids to be able to commence their learning at an earlier age, but also allows many of their mothers the opportunity to find some gainful employment for part of the day. It also aids in ensuring many of our families’ young children are not brought to the workplace due to the absence of any childminding solution. This is very commonplace in Cambodia with too many deaths recorded annually of young children involved in accidents in unsafe working environments such as construction sites.
This program also has a fully developed curriculum with lesson plans and resources and supports the employment of two more full time members of staff who have joined the team here at REACH.
It’s not just our Education Program that has received this level of input to create what has become a very structured and professional approach to what we do. Across all of our programs, we have developed frameworks which include not only training programs and materials, but also means by which we can measure objectively the effectiveness of what we are providing. With transparency as one of the organisations core values, we are committed to being able to demonstrate to our donors that their contributions are being put to good use and are bringing about meaningful change in the community which we support.
That’s not to say the work stops there. As part of our ethos of continuous improvement, we continue to develop our systems and are continually reviewing the effectiveness of everything we do across all our programs, and making enhancements wherever we believe it will bring benefit.
But one thing is for sure, we are no longer an organisation building the foundations for future growth. We are a fully functional holistic provider and with all programs now fully operational, we are able to provide our beneficiaries families with access to all of the three core offerings which encompassed our original vision: Education, Health and Nutrition.
Establishing long-term sustainability for our cause
In our reflection, we have so much to be thankful for and so much to celebrate, but also so much to plan for. Whilst, we have far exceeded our wildest expectations, the addition of new programs and the enhancement of existing ones brings a far greater burden of responsibility when it comes to fundraising which is crucial to ensuring the long-term sustainability of our mission. This will become even more prevalent in the coming years when cohorts of our youths come to the end of their high school education and require funding and support for either further educational opportunities or help in transitioning into vocational training.
A photo of when we first put down pavers in our school, in 2020.
Thankfully we are not alone on the ground here as REACH is extremely fortunate to have on board a very committed team of volunteers who are members of our Advisory Board, and who are there to help us in developing and implementing new and innovative fundraising strategies. During one of our regular meetings at the end of the second quarter of this year, we embarked on a project of exploring ideas for long-term security and sustainability.
One of the key outcomes of this, was to develop a new fundraising initiative looking at securing long term funding for individual programs by identifying and securing partnerships with like-minded organisations whose values align with those of our own. Since then, the team have been extremely busy developing and preparing the various marketing materials necessary to be able to share with potential partners.
Launch of our Program Partnership
With all these tools nearing completion, we are now formally launching our Program Sponsorship initiative early in the New Year. So, what does a strategic partner and Program Sponsor look like for REACH?
- As mentioned earlier, REACH is looking to connect with like-minded organisations or individuals whose organisational or individual value set is aligned with our own.
- In the case of organisations, we are seeking partners who already have an established focus on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and whose actions demonstrate a commitment to contributing to the United Nation’s stated Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
- We are looking for Partners who want to commit to sharing in our journey for the longer term.
Our programs vary significantly in size and cost ranging from $5k USD per annum up to $50k USD.
One of our interns in the Repair Shop, repairing one of our mountain bikes.
We truly believe REACH has so much to offer any organisation or individual who wishes to get involved. At REACH we strive to live and breathe our Values, and this is demonstrated in all that we do and the culture that we have carefully cultivated within the organisation.
Commitment | Transparency | Compassion
Open-Mindedness | Flexibility | Sustainability
As a grassroots Cambodia charity, we are a small team and are able to connect our partners directly with the Managers who are running the programs that they may choose to consider sponsoring. As mentioned earlier, transparency is one of our core values, and building on the robust financial controls which we have in place, we are able to provide complete oversight as to how any sponsors’ funds are being spent, right down to the dollar. This we know is extremely important in the decision-making process of anyone who may be considering partnering with us.
As an organisation dedicated to poverty alleviation, we are searching for partners that are dedicated to doing more than just the bare-minimum understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility and community service. Our ideal partners are corporate businesses and individuals that are equally as passionate about making long-lasting changes in underprivileged communities and societies outside of their own.
Whilst we are only at the beginning of this exciting part of our evolution, we can share with you that we have already been successful in securing two partnerships which will cover the sponsorship of three of our eleven programs.
We are extremely excited to announce that Delta Capita is one of the two companies that have already signed up to be one of our trusted partners and will be the proud sponsors of two of our eleven programs.
Delta Capita is one of our first Program Sponsors.
Delta Capita, the financial services division of Prytek, is a leading global Capital Markets consulting, managed services and technology provider with a unique combination of experience in financial services and capability in technology innovation.
We were extremely privileged and humbled in recent months when Delta Capita’s CEO, Joe Channer took time out of his busy schedule to visit us here in Cambodia, where he got the opportunity to see all of our programs in operation and meet the team members responsible for their day-to-day delivery. Having had an involvement previously with another NGO in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city, Joe is no stranger to the plight of Cambodia’s less fortunate and the challenges that they face to gain access to a proper education.
Delta Capita CEO, Joe Channer and REACH Founder, Emily Williamson, October 2022.
Joe shared that REACH’s commitment to not only provide a great education for our beneficiaries, but also develop the team to reach their full potential aligns closely with Delta Capita’s values which include acting responsibly, collaborating for better outcomes, as well as being a change agent, courageous and kind. In addition, at the core of Delta Capita’s values is sustainability where Delta Capita are committed to being a socially responsible company and have implemented various green initiatives alongside an ESG-focused working group.
The two programs receiving Delta Capita’s support will be the REACH Role Model Club and the REACH Repair Shop.
Joe Channer, CEO, Delta Capita said:
‘I have personally had a long-standing involvement in assisting the plight of some of Cambodia’s less privileged children in their struggle not to be excluded from the opportunity of receiving an education – an issue close to my heart. Having met the team at Reach in Siem Reap, I was truly inspired by what they have achieved in such a short space of time.
Providing leadership and offering total transparency into how donors’ funds are allocated was extremely important to me. The alignment of Delta Capita and Reach’s values demonstrates the shared ambition to achieve long term sustainable change through empowerment and collaboration and we are extremely excited to support such a significant cause.”
Our second program sponsor is a long-time supporter of REACH. A digital marketing agency with its head office in Melbourne, Australia, OtherBirds have been supportive of REACH and its’ mission since our inception.
OtherBirds is our long standing supporter, and has just recently joined our Program Sponsorship initiative.
Throughout the development of our programs and our organisation, they have been selfless in providing us their services for free, and from a technological standpoint, have helped build us up digitally including the hosting and upkeep of our website as well as providing us with digital consultation and investment during each of our annual fundraising campaigns.
Dan Copsey, OtherBirds’s CEO, first met Emily Williamson our Founder whilst she was studying at university. Dan now sits on REACH’s Advisory Board and has had the opportunity to both witness and aid in the growth of our organisation. OtherBirds are very much aligned with REACH on the premise of shared values and a commitment to a selfless cause. A notable trait for their organisation was our dedication to providing and ensuring access to education to our community; equipping both children and guardians with the tools required to drive sustainable development within their own villages.
We are again excited to share that OtherBirds has generously chosen to sponsor our Computer Literacy program. This program has had the support of the company prior to it being launched as OtherBirds was solely responsible for ensuring the fit out of our computer room, equipping us with more than 24 desktop computers, while also ensuring they have been maintained, and supported.
REACH is beyond grateful to be one of the many organisations to be supported and sponsored by OtherBirds. Dan and his team at OtherBirds have been kind enough to provide us with a few words on their continued support of REACH.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/7f1Rnlz8hdkVideo testimonial from our proud Computer Literacy sponsor – OtherBirds Agency
Interested in Program Sponsorship?
So if you’re reading this blog and think you might know of any individual or corporate entity who may fit our desired profile, we’d love for you to share our story with them.
Maybe that person, is you? If so, please do not hesitate to contact us, we will be happy to share with you the details about each of our individual programs and what it means to become a trusted partner. You can also find out more by clicking here.
Listed below are all of our programs still available for sponsorship:
- Education Program
- Kindergarten Program
- Health & Nutrition Program
- Garden Program
- Outreach Program
- Rice Rewards Program
- Youth Pathways
- REACH Riders Club
Thank you to all our readers who have followed and supported our mission, you all play such a significant role in what we are doing. Hopefully, with your help, we will see more of our programs sponsored in 2023 so that we can push forth with greater long-term security for our kids and their families.
If you are interested in program sponsorship please email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.