Our Leap Thus Far

Nicola and Duncan in new CoH classroom in Cambodia 2016

Today is an uncommon day.

It is a Leap Day and that’s not going to happen again for another 4 years. How special! So, instead of letting this extra day pass us by, we are taking advantage of our bonus 24 hours to reflect and to share some updates!

Exactly 3 months ago we leaped (pun obviously and shamelessly intended) into our dream. It was on that day that Duncan and I went full-time into Classroom of Hope, full-time into our passion and full-time into bringing education to children in developing countries.

We were over the moon to embark on this journey – and everyday we learn, we grow and we love what we do more and more. With full and grateful hearts, we’d like to tell you about the last 3 months.

Back to Where it All Began

Over the years, Cambodia has become a home and our local NGO partners have become family. We arrived in Cambodia on the 29th of November last year to spend 3 weeks checking out impact and researching future projects (exciting details to come!).

We’re supporting 15 schools in the province of Kampong Cham which are all officially Child-Friendly and completed in July 2015 (yay!). This trip, however, was about visiting our other 7 schools in the province of Battambang which are set to be complete by October 2016 (Yay! again.).

We were on cloud-nine touring the schools, seeing their progress and catching up with our dear friend Racky, who is the inspiration behind Classroom of Hope and the founder of Children’s Action for Development (CAD).

Duncan with his arm over Racky's shoulder
Duncan (CEO/Founder of CoH) and Racky (Founder Children's Action for Development)

The CAD team took us to visit all 7 schools in the Battambang region. We soaked up all the beautiful rural-Cambodian landscapes as we clocked 160km on our motorbike, carrying our camera gear so we could report on the impact at each school.

Our founding partner Navitas supports these 7 schools in Battambang. Check out the impact video we made for them.

Whenever we see the impact that education makes in lives of the children we support, we get totally pumped to keep on going! It inspires us more than anything else.

We were ecstatic after visiting Cambodia and all the wonderful kids. Since that trip, we’ve been focused on fundraising for more projects so we can impact the lives of more children through quality education.

Which brings us to…

Latest Updates from the Field!

#BagWalkers Walk Again!

Last year, our #BagWalkers walked for girls’ education and raised over $32,000 to provide scholarships to girls in rural Cambodia. We were blown away by the support we had for this campaign and by the love and dedication of our amazing #Bagwalkers. So, we’re going for #BagWalkers round two!

For the last few months, we’ve been planning our next #BagWalkers Campaign which launches March 7th. This year #Bagwalkers are walking for the children of Gitumba, Rwanda who currently walk 5 hours a day to get to and from school. Crazy, right? We think so too, so we’re going to build them a school.

Want to help? Send us an e-mail at [email protected]. We’d love to have you on the team!

We are extremely happy to announce that this year’s bags have been created and designed by Freeset and Liminal Apparel – a fair trade social enterprise that only uses sustainable or organic materials and reinvest all profits into the communities that produce their products.

Impact in Rwanda

Our first bit of impact is coming through from our Schools for Excellence project in Rwanda where our local partner African Evangelistic Enterprise (AEE) has built 8 toilets for boys and girls and a water facility at Nyamatete Primary School.

Classroom of Hope volunteers Geoff and Sheryl Bartlett have been in Rwanda, working with our local partner to take photos and gather content, data and stories from the field. Check out these beautiful new toilets!

New toilets built in Nyametete Primary School in Rwanda
Photo by Geoff Bartlett

100Women Grant

Last week, Classroom of Hope was incredibly humbled and honoured to receive a grant from 100 Women. This grant will support our STEM4Women project to empower 10 young women to undertake Science, Technology, Engineering and Math studies in 2-year tertiary-vocational degrees. Personal development training and career counselling will also be provided to ensure high employment rates upon graduation. We’re so excited to follow their stories and tell you all about it!

Leaps and Bounds

So – there it is folks! That’s what Classroom of Hope has been up to. We know we still have lots to do, but we’re stoked about the impact and progress we’ve made so far. We’re also incredibly grateful for all of our amazing supporters and donors who make everything we do possible! Thank you for believing in us and our mission.

Happy Leap Day, Everyone!

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