The amount of work the BFT Center has done since its inception is truly outstanding. The work can not be justified in a simple list but we hope the following can illustrate the true impact and the scale of the difference your support enables.
BFT has delivered projects and services to over 50 villages throughout Siem Reap Province, and in surrounding provinces. The map below shows the location of the villages in which BFT has worked.
BFT’s village project work started close to home in the villages of Siem Reap district, particularly around Angkor Park. With the start of the major 4-year village projects, the focus moved east from Siem Reap to the villages of Cham Resh and Chub Smach in Soutr Nikon district). BFT is currently developing a 4-year project just a little east of these villages at La’ak (in Chi Kraeng district). More recently, BFT has been working in Oroong and other poor remote villages of Svay Leu district in the northeast of Siem Reap province.
Each of these villages has its own problems and its own solutions – and the people there have their own amazing stories to tell.
BFT delivers its projects and services through a strong in-country team, backed by a global network of volunteers and supporter groups. We provide education and social care in the form of “peace building” (working with monks and nuns to solve domestic problems), plus four-year development projects that aim to make villages self-sustainable. The projects involve providing fresh water, healthcare, building (especially of schools and community centers), plus agricultural and business development through a strong core team of Cambodians, backed by a global network of volunteer support groups and individuals that raise funds, provide advice, and work alongside the villagers they help.
The BFT Centre based in Siem Reap, is staffed by a capable and experienced local team that manages the organization’s programs and projects as described below.
Supporting the BFT are team are:
Local partner organisations including the Angkor Hospital for Children
Visiting specialist teams including healthcare, education and professional training
Groups from service clubs and other organisations
Local and international volunteers
A global board of directors helps in terms of strategy, grant applications, fundraising and advice. Friends of BFT and volunteer groups in various countries raise funds for particular projects, as well as providing sponsorship and microfinance for individuals and groups.
BFT offers five core programs to improve the lives of children and families in the villages, and for children in the area around the BFT Center.
A major component of BFT's village projects is in the area of "Water and Sanitation" (part of our Health and Nutrition program). See here for details of latest project work in this area.
Education is at the center of what BFT does. In the years since the Khmer Rouge Cambodia was left with a severe lack of teachers and intellectuals, making illiteracy amongst Cambodia’s youth a real problem; a problem that persists today. The children who are least likely to be able to pursue a basic education are those living in rural communities, and it is those communities that BFT specifically targets. The education program includes:
Construction or renovation of school buildings
Hiring and training of teachers
Providing bicycles for children to get to school
Promotion of early child education
Adult literacy programs
Health and Nutrition
BFT provides a comprehensive program for health and nutrition in the villages, including:
Regular medical clinics, focussing especially on pregnant women, mothers and young children
Monitoring children’s growth, based on Body Mass Index (BMI) Training in hygiene, sanitation and health care education, in cooperation with local and overseas medical teams.
Provision of a safe and secure water supply, especially to cover dry season.
School demonstration garden to produce vegetables and promote the establishment of similar garden throughout the community
Nutritious food feeding program, especially for infants and school children
Water and Sanitation
Within the area of Health and Nutrition, a major focus of BFT’s activities within the villages relates to the provision of proper sanitation and a safe and secure supply of water. The lack of these basic services is a major cause of sickness, stunted growth and infant and early childhood mortality.
Many of the villages share the following characteristics:
In the wet season, water is mostly obtained from nearby ponds or rivers or the ditches along the roads by their houses and is often badly contaminated.
In the dry season, even these sources of water dry up and families may need to walk long distances to obtain wateror even move to another village where water is available.
Most families use simple pit toilets, close to their houses, further leading to contamination of surface water supplies. Community education on the importance of hygiene is lacking.
Diets are generally poor with very low availability of fruits and vegetables, leading to poor nutrition, especially with smaller children
Water and sanitation projects can address some of the major issues within the villages:
For infants and young children, the provision of clean water and sanitation provides an improved chance of survival to adulthood and reduced chances of significant physical and health deficits in future life.
For girls and young women, the provision of secure and private toilet facilities, especially at schools, significantly increases the chance that they will stay at school after puberty.
For women, a secure nearby water supply significantly reduces the time-consuming task, which most often falls to them, of fetching water.
Capacity Building and Livelihood Improvement
Rural Cambodian families with many children often need those children to help work on the farm or in a family business, making it difficult for them to support education for their children beyond primary school. BFT’s capacity building program aims at supporting these families through microfinance and training. The program includes:
Training in skill areas including pig, chicken, goat or fish farming, tailoring and sewing, basket weaving etc
Assistance in establishing a business, such as formation of a “farmer club”
Provision of microfinance, paid back over several years
Assistance with distribution and sale of products.
In the wake of having a fifth of the population of the country killed and families across the country torn apart, domestic violence and alcoholism have joined the legacy of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. And like the lack of education, these problems are magnified in the rural villages where access to any kind of services are gravely lacking. To address these problems, BFT has developed a “Peace Building teams of counsellors, which include the highly respected Buddhist monks. The Peace Building program operates through both communal meetings as well as family by family counseling sessions and includes:
Counseling for families living in crisis
Support for family integration and adoption
Community Peace Building Networks: which encourage the local communities to take responsibility and contribute to the decision-making process, with the aim to reduce family crisis and domestic violence.
Child Support and Learning Center
The Child Support and Learning Center is located at BFT Center in Siem Reap. Center in Siem Reap. Even before BFT was founded, Sedtha Long would teach English classes here; the only place in Siem Reap where children could go to learn free of charge. Today, Sedtha and BFT still use the same house in Siem Reap to provide classes to children as well as take in those who have nowhere else to go. The programs include:
To achieve self-sustainability, it has to be understood just how dependent each program and each activity is on the success of the others. For example:
Children cannot learn unless they have good nutrition
Developing a nutritious diet can be assisted by developing local agriculture.
Growing crops and raising animals requires a reliable water supply.
Parents are not able to release their children to go to school if they rely on them to work in the rice fields.
Establishing new jobs requires adult education, training and microfinance.
To address this issue, BFT have developed an integrated and holistic four year village project plan, in which major elements are rolled out during the first years and then completed and supported over the following 3 years. At the end of this period, the village should have achieved a good level of self-sufficiency, although BFT continues a regular program of training and clinic visits to support the community over the following years.
4-Year village projects have been undertaken in three villages in Siem Reap Province (the third due for completion in 2022) and further similar developments are planned.
The 4-year project follows an intentional sequence of activities which gives the highest priority to critical issues and also addresses the inter-dependency of some activities as described above. This sequence is shown in the graphic below. Click on the images to learn more about each project.
A village with a sustainable & bright future has been created!
The school (if existing) needs to be renovated and extended to accommodate all the children. Teachers need to be trained and provided with materials and a salary. And the children need uniforms - and a bike to get to school.
Before a new school is opened, BFT arranges for hiring and training of teachers as well as the supply of teaching materials. In the first two years, BFT covers the full costs of teacher wages, with government support coming in progressively in the third and fourth years.
An important component of the project is the School Garden, irrigated from the new water supply, in which the children grow plants which can be used to provide them with nutritious breakfast at the school – and serves as a model for gardens in their own homes.
Mother and Child Health
Immediate attention is given to the health, especially of the mothers and children. This program includes support during pregnancy, nutrition and tracking of height, weight and BMI for the children.
Giant water bores
Rice can be grown in the wet seasons, but a deep-water bore (30 to 40 m. depth), together with a pump and water tank, is required to allow year-ground growing of crops and development of a School Garden.
Adult Reading & Writing
Education of the adults, undertaken over six months of evening sessions, serves a number of purposes. It is a pre-requisite to their participation in a Capacity Building program and also gives the parents a better understanding of the need for their children to attend school.
Once the adults have graduated and have basic literacy, they are given the chance to select their future business (pig raising, fish farming etc) and are given training in agricultural or other skills as required.
A business plan is then developed for each person or group (such as a “farmer club”) and micro-finance is provided to establish the business. This initial finance is paid back to the village “banker” and made available to start up other businesses. To quality for micro-finance, the adults must undertake to send their children to school.