In 2007 Phary opened her first English school (KTC) out of a private need. There was no English school in her area and due to lack of time it was difficult to bring her own children to town. For this reason she built her own school at her house and started teaching the kids in her area. Pretty quickly she was teaching around 600 students, realizing that there was a big need of English education. Many students asked if they could get lessons for free because they couldn’t afford the school fee. She started to teach around 50 children for free. The school quickly grew to its limits.
In 2007 Markus, from Germany, came to Cambodia. He did an evaluation of organisations for the German volunteer program “weltwärts”. That’s how he received a good insight into many NGOs all over Cambodia and he knew how and how not to do it. There was, on one hand, plethora of small schools and orphanages with sometimes a lot of passion, but no knowledge, or even worse, just out of the intention to make money from poor children. On the other hand, there were several schools run by foreign money and by foreigners but without involvement of Cambodian staff in making decisions.
When Phary and Markus met, they share their ideas. Phary had the vision to build a school to give free English education to the children of the rural area who really want to learn but could not afford the school fee. She had the knowledge of how to run a school and didn’t want to do it for the money, but to give the children and young adults a better opportunity in their future lives. The problem was she didn’t know how to finance and organize this big project. Markus was impressed by this idea. It was exactly what he was looking for and he had the time and knowledge to research how to set up a school like this. Together Phary and Markus decided to found the non-governmental organisation KKO.
With Phary’s knowledge of running a successful private English school, we set up the structure for the school. Markus, working for DED/GIZ (German Development Service), had contacts to the German Embassy and managed to get an Initial funding of 24,115 USD. In May 2010, the first three buildings were built on a rented land of Phary’s in the rural area of Chreav commune: one for English classes, one for motorbike mechanic and one for sewing training. The school started with the curriculum from Pharys private English School. With international charity organizations, money from the German embassy and associations like the DED they managed to support the running costs. In 2011 we started OFF TRACK tours, a social business that provides bicycle and moto tours to support the running costs of the school. In 2016 we expanded our social business with OFF TRACK accessories, an upcycling fashion label.
Over the years
The lessons started. The lessons were ok but not very well organized. We improved the lessons. Over the past years and with a lot of help from international experts, we developed our own curriculum.
In October 2010 Sarith started working at KKO as one of the first two teachers of KKO. He studied English literature and added a lot to the successful development of the KKO school. Since 2015 he has been the educational manager of KKO. Our school is constantly growing. Starting with 120 students we now teach 300 students every day.