ODC was founded in 2014 by Chhaiya Im and Soo Buckle in response to Chhaiya’s dream of creating a ‘passport out of poverty’ for children and youth in his home country, Cambodia.
English, in Chhaiya’s experience, has been one the main ways to help improve employment outcomes and children currently have limited access to quality English education, focusing on not just reading and writing but also speaking and colloquial comprehension. Jobs, not only give money, but can also help fund higher education. And Chhaiya dreamt of shaping youth to not only to alleviate their socio-economic realities but also develop a rich future with further education and exposure.
On 4th of January, 2015, the first thatched-hut school was open to welcome children to free classes in La'ork Village, Kandaek Commune, Bakong District, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia Siem Reap Province.
With help along the way, Chhaiya was able to secure land and a new school hut to help a growing number of children. The curriculum is built around the needs of local students - with placement tests to help find the right level for them and recalibrate as they learn. Classes are built around firm rules to help change the mindset around free education. And course content is built around values, culture and ethics, recognizing the need for holistic enrichment to help youth shape their lives.
ODC currently serves 82 children everyday and provides 6 different levels of english education - Kindergarten, Starter, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4. The school aims to expand its impact in La’ork Village, while aiming to reach other communities in Cambodia in the coming years.
About the Founder
Chhaiya was born and raised in Cambodia, struggling to gain education while supporting his family in Siem Reap City. In fact, Chhaiya experienced what it was like to struggle funding a promising education while supporting his family. As luck would have it, he found creative ways to fund and complete Higher education through employment on the side.
Chhaiya taught English at an NGO, A Charity: Happy Days Cambodian Village School Inc. in 2012, then at Australian Center of Education (ACE) in the city center of Siem Reap Province. He resigned from ACE to teach English at monasteries to monks and some others private institutions.
His dream always surrounded ODC. In the beginning, Chhaiya made ends meet through organized local tours for travellers in Siem Reap City while teaching at ODC in the evenings. Now, with his full time attention, ODC has 2 other teachers and 2 teaching assistants, yet with the vision of growing ODC to serve many other communities across the country.