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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Journeys Within Our Community

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community Improvement & Capacity Building, Disaster Aid, Education, Philanthropy, Philanthropy, Charity & Voluntarism Promotion

Mission: To run projects in Southeast Asia that reduce poverty levels, increase educational and economic opportunities and empower recipients and supporters, inspiring ongoing social change.

Results: Click here -http://www.journeyswithinourcommunity.org/about/news/jwoc-annual-reports/ - to read our annual reports.

Programs: Schools: free classes, library, sewing,computer lab, teacher training: 700 students a week

university scholarships in myanmar, cambodia and laos: 75 students

health and wells

community liaison and assistance

microfinance lending

laos village school support

internships

cambodia relief

Community Stories

15 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was living in Shanghai and preparing to move back to the US. Before repatriating, I really wanted to volunteer at a nonprofit that was doing good in this world in a place that really needed it. A friend of mine lived in Cambodia for 6 months, working for Angkor Hospital for Children, so trusted her recommendation for credible nonprofits, and JWOC was at the top of her list.

David, the Education and Volunteer Manager was very responsive when receiving my inquiry. Highly professional, David was extremely informative - orienting me to JWOC and the programs which I would be working on, and provided recommendations on living accommodations and general FYI’s as a first time visitor to Cambodia.

During my volunteer experience, JWOC was in transition with staff and within their community outreach and training programs, so I believe I came at a great time to help make an impactful change. My focus for the month would be in reshaping their Health & Nutrition Training and Positive Parenting programs. Kneath, the Managing Director is a great leader and was very supportive/ open to some of my program development recommendations.

One thing I love about traveling is simply the people you meet along the way and their life stories - I got to know several of the scholarship student recipients, who were either teachers for the JWOC free classes/ part of the Community Support team, and it was so incredible to learn about their aspirations. Every child attending free classes and programs offered at JWOC had such a light in their eyes, and an eagerness to learn. The villiagers I met that signed up for Home Gardens training (farming crops and composting) also seemed so happy to come together as a community to learn and grow together.

Whether it was doing research online, or hanging out in the library reading and playing educational games with the children who attend JWOC programs, it was all such a joy! Firsthand helping promote creativity in Cambodia’s youth during Sunday Art Classes and joining staff out in the village to help facilitate training on farming crops and composting was also very fruitful and rewarding.

It was a privilege to work with such wonderful people and be a part of something bigger than me. If you are looking for a great non-profit to volunteer at, get in touch with my friends at JWOC and see where they might be able to leverage your skills/ experience.

Thank you, JWOC for the opportunity to serve the Siem Reap community with you!

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a one-stop shop for those wanting a more in depth experience of SE Asian culture, and those wanting to know their money is making a direct impact.

Win Win Win in Cambodia with JWOC.
Part of our lodging expenses supported JWOC's work.
Volunteering in JWOC's reading program gave us a fun/direct experience with students.
Touring with JWOC allowed us to go "off tour" to see our tour guide's old school and meet family.

Win in Laos too.
Traveling without JWOC in Laos, but knowing the quality of JWOC's work, we now support a student in Laos via JWOC.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

Jwoc A. 01/06/2013

Hello Don Thank you for your lovely review! I'd just like to share for others that are also interested in traveling in SE Asia that you traveled not with JWOC but Journeys Within Tour Company (http://www.journeys-within.com/). JWOC and Journeys Within Tour Company were founded by the same great people but operate separately. Best wishes Nicola ( Managing Director at JWOC)

Tony15

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have known of this charity for 2 years. I am very impressed with the ethos of this organisation. They help many people , but more importantly they enable the people they support to help others. I think this gives the recipients a sense of pride and also helps them to become self reliant. The charity also is very good at letting the general public and donors know how the money is being spent and seeing the results of their work, by using facebook and newsletters.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

You might think, because I'm on the Board of Directors of Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC) that I am biased. You might think, because JWOC was founded by close family friends, that I am biased. You might think, because my daughter is also on the Board, that I am biased. But you would be wrong. It is because of all those things that I have the highest of expectations for this organization. And it meets them all. JWOC is, first and foremost, a grassroots effort, born out of the genuine desire to solve problems that my friends saw while operating a tour business in Cambodia. Struck by the locals' desperate need for clean water, educational and economic opportunities and sustainable skill-building, they brainstormed on how to "See a Problem....Solve a Problem" with not much more than creative ideas and boundless energy. Now, only seven years later, JWOC has matured into a well-organized, effective, responsive nonprofit that delivers life-changing services to thousands of disadvantaged adults and children in three SE Asian countries. And JWOC's leaders are always restless to do that even better. Partnering with government, villagers, experts, university students and the rich pool of talent within its own donor base, the JWOC team seeks creative, effective and sustainable solutions in an ever-changing landscape of needs. The organization currently focuses on clean water and hygiene training/supplies for thousands of people, microfinance loans, free classes for all ages to learn everything from English to sewing, university scholarships and emergency relief. JWOC is not about giving handouts. It's about creating opportunities for people to learn to help themselves. For example, JWOC's relief program for flooded villages included planting communal gardens and training the families to grow vegetables more efficiently for higher yields to offset future field losses. The university scholarship program requires the recipients to donate 5-10 hrs per week helping run JWOC programs, which gives them practical applications for their schooling as well as mentoring the value of "giving back." The JWOC programs always have a twist that makes them unique and its growth, maturity and credibility prove that its business models work. I am proud to be associated with this organization and the sincere and talented people who run it.

1 Lesley H.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A very professionally run organisation. They do so much with so little. Any donation is used to benefit those who need it the most.

1

Donor

Rating: 4

The approach that JWOC takes in not only supporting the educational goals/needs of young people in the areas they serve, but also actively seeking & recognizing practical ways to make an impact on the communities' daily lives in order to make not only the education possible but improve immediate conditions while teaching those involved how to recognize and make things better themselves is impressive. I try to only invest in organizations that make a lasting, sustainable difference in the lives of those they serve, and JWOC is exactly that, through and through.

Daisy Mei J.

Donor

Rating: 5

We have enjoyed donating to Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC) over the past three years. We discovered JWOC as a result of booking a tour for our daughter through the Journeys Within Tour Company (a for-profit tour company founded by the same people as the non-profit JWOC). Since then we have donated substantially to the building of the new JWOC Language School which now teaches free classes to over 700 students, have sponsored three 4 year university scholarships with plans to continue to sponsor an additional student each year and have sponsored the past seven tailoring and dressmaking classes as well as the microfinance proect which enables graduates of the program to buy sewing machines to help launch their own businesses. We also make a monthly donation to general funds.

JWOC is impressively organized and focused. This transparent NGO has clear goals and low overhead costs. We monitor its projects through its excellent website, communication with the staff and university scholarship students, also frequent photo Facebook updates. Receipts for donations are issued promptly with a note as to how our donation was allocated. It has brought us enormous joy to watch 1st year scholarship students grow in self confidence through their volunteer placements as they learn the importance of giving back to their communities.

Given their accomplishments it is extraordinary to realize that this dynamic NGO was only founded six years ago. We have made wonderful friends among the JWOC staff and scholarship students. We had been looking for a more personalized yet effective approach to giving and have very clearly found it here.

Previous Stories
1

Donor

Rating: 5

We have enjoyed donating to Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC) over the past three years. We discovered JWOC as a result of booking a tour for our daughter through the Journeys Within Tour Company (a for-profit tour company founded by the same people as the non-profit JWOC). Since then we have donated substantially to the building of the new JWOC Language School which now teaches free classes to over 700 students, have sponsored three 4 year university scholarships with plans to continue to sponsor an additional student each year and have sponsored the past seven tailoring and dressmaking classes as well as the microfinance proect which enables graduates of the program to buy sewing machines to help launch their own businesses. We also make a monthly donation to general funds.

JWOC is impressively organized and focused. This transparent NGO has clear goals and low overhead costs. We monitor its projects through its excellent website, communication with the staff and university scholarship students, also frequent photo Facebook updates. Receipts for donations are issued promptly with a note as to how our donation was allocated. It has brought us enormous joy to watch 1st year scholarship students grow in self confidence through their volunteer placements as they learn the importance of giving back to their communities.

Given their accomplishments it is extraordinary to realize that this dynamic NGO was only founded six years ago. We have made wonderful friends among the JWOC staff and scholarship students. We had been looking for a more personalized yet effective approach to giving and have very clearly found it here.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer, a donor and an ardent supporter of JWOC (Journeys Within Our Community). There are a hundred stories I could tell you about JWOC but, to keep it simple, here is just one.
I was volunteering as an English teacher with JWOC and another charity. I taught two classes at JWOC and then went (on the back of a taxi motorbike) to the other location. One day, after class I stopped and spoke to a student. I said, “You must be keen. You cycled on a push bike from JWOC to here. You attended three English classes!”
“No,” he said, “I attend four classes. I go to a Japanese class before the English classes.”
A friend who lives in Cambodia put this in context. He said, “There is nothing you can donate that is more valuable than your time. Someone who learns to speak a bit of English is much more likely to be able to find a job. And that is what every Cambodian wants more than anything.”
When I first started volunteering I worried that maybe we were being a bit paternalistic but then I was reminded that almost every educated person in Cambodia died in the scourges between 1975 and 1979, including almost all teachers, doctors, nurses, etc., I realise that there is still such a shortage of educators, and so every little bit helps - and is enormously appreciated.
In fact we are made to feel SO appreciated that sometimes I think we are the ones who benefit the most and I feel a bit guilty.
Because JWOC realises the importance of education, they find donors to fund scholarships to help poor but bright students go to university. What I really like about this scheme is that the scholarship students are asked to give back something to the community. Many choose to teach free English classes. You would need to visit these classes to see the extent to which they are appreciated.
I could go on for hours telling you good stories about what happens at JWOC but perhaps, in the interests of brevity, I should stop here.





1

Donor

Rating: 5

As I sit in a school for 700 from tiny ones to adults learning to sew and business skills, I am impressed by the number of volunteers, and the fact that some of the poorest of poor are educated in this school A small non-profit, it has found a way to also provide education to college students for $500/year, and to have those students involved in a serious give-back program. Loans are returned with interest, but a business person can only re-borrow if he or she has attended business classes. The model "See a Need, Fill a Need" is flexible and allows for the most important projects to be undertaken. I LOVE JWOC's low-budget solutions.

1 Sally24

Donor

Rating: 5

It's really appropriate and caring when someone emails you a picture of your donation being used for a non-profit like JWOC - Journeys within or Community. Volunteers Jane Price and Pat Requa took some children's games to Cambodia and the one called "Spot" seemed a big hit - they then emailed us a photo of the kids engagement - it was wonderful and meaningful to those of us in the USA. Sally Edwards, running partner with Jane Price in Sacramento, CA

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC) works in Southeast Asia to improve living conditions of local communities through health, education, economic, and emergency relief projects. In 2007, I sponsored a Cambodian university student's education and for the last 3 years spent a month volunteering in Cambodia for JWOC. Seeing firsthand the effectiveness & impact of JWOC's work, I joined the board to extend my contribution to JWOC's mission.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

JWOC’s seemingly eclectic program has a unifying theme of providing assistance to improve the capacity and self-reliance of populations in need. The central focus is education to prepare people to participate in the expanding economy. They deliver their programs with a small professional staff and a large number of scholarship recipients who give back to the community through JWOC projects. I have had the opportunity to visit several JWOC operations. I will describe four that I observed: Clean Water Program; village tour; Micro-Finance; and School

1. Clean Water Program: I visited a village about 45 min from the school by tuk tuk. Several months after a well is installed, an inspection team returns to see how the well is working and to answer questions. JWOC gets a warranty on the wells and so it is important to correct any problems while the wells are under warranty. I went with a review team to a village where JWOC had installed a number of wells. The village was geographically close to Siem Reap but remote by virtue of the poor dirt road providing access. The students examined each of the wells and visited with each of the family group served by the wells. The students completed inspection forms and we finished in less than two hours. The benefits of this project were obvious and profound. The availability of clean water has dramatically reduced sickness in the village improving attendance at school and work.

I spoke with a young woman (maybe 17-19 years old) who gave me some insight into the nature and scale of the problems faced in rural Cambodia. After sitting quietly while the students talked with her parents in Khmer she said something in English. I asked her where she learned English and she responded that she had learned it in school. I ask if she was still in school and she respond that she quit after 7th or 8th grade because her family didn’t have the money for her to continue with secondary school. I asked what she did now and she said that she was the English teacher in the local primary school. She proudly showed some of here lessons that she had carefully lettered on a small chalk board. They consisted of lists of numbers and days of the week. JWOC’s scholarship program is designed to address the problem faced by the young woman when she left school before completing her studies.

2. Squatters’ Village Tour: I went with the Executive Director and a woman from Korea who represented a charitable organization looking to address some problems women face in Cambodia. The village is near JWOC’s headquarters and has grown rapidly in the last several years. Today perhaps a few thousand people live there. JWOC’s services are evident in the village: wells; micro finance; and education. The circumstances of this village are that the government has a grid of 50 meter rights-of-way in an undeveloped area. Most of the privately owned land is unused but the rights-of-way are lined along both sides with small huts. A dirt path runs down the middle. There is no formal drainage but some people have dug ditches to channel storm run off away from the path and the houses. Amazingly, many of the houses have electricity. A small-time entrepreneur brings power to individual homes who agree to pay him. It isn’t clear whether he buys or steals the power he sells. The housing ranges from extremely modest to abysmal.

3. Micro-Finance: I returned to the village later with the micro-finance group. On a regular schedule students visit the people who have received loans to check on the business and to collect payments. One of the more impressive visits was to a bead jewelry making business. I believe this woman was on her third loan. She had expanded from making the jewelry herself to five women working the day I was there. They make beads from magazine paper and string them into bracelets that are sold for a couple of dollars in the market or somewhat less to a wholesaler. The loans allowed them buy supplies and expand the business. Other businesses assisted by loans included recyclers and small stores. Most, but not all, of the recipients are women. The loans allow these women to contribute economically while staying home with children. The students collect money and information which is checked and documented when they return to the school. The program clearly benefits the borrowers. Significantly, it also provides real-world business experience for the students who coordinate the program.

4. School: I toured the school and participated in an English conversation class taught by one of the JWOC graduates. The school serves about 700 students per week. The school offers a computer lab; a library; a sewing center; and a mufti-purpose classrooms for the primary school and English instruction. The school has become a mufti-generational community resource whose impact would be difficult to overstate.

1 Philippa N.

Board Member

Rating: 5

We have been involved with Journeys Within Our Community since its inception and are thrilled with the way it has developed. Being a board member I am part of the group that takes the fiscal responsibility of the organization very seriously. We have developed a system whereby donors know where their donations are being used and can see how their help is changing lives, be it thru education, water and wellness programs or micro-loans. I am too of course a donor and love communicating with my students (who we are sponsoring to go to university) and every time we visit Cambodia and pop into the JWOC Community Center we are thrilled by all the activity that is going on and love meeting the scholarship students, who are so important to our programs, and the wonderful staff who keep everything running!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had a wonderful time working with JWOC. The charity is incredibly well run and organised, and has a incredibly integrated system, so that each area of the charity supports and benefits all of the other areas. It is sustainable, engaged, and responsive, catering well to the needs of those it seeks to support. I worked helping to run a summer activities programme, and found the task enormously rewarding and enjoyable. The charity's aims, for itself and its volunteers, are admirable and achievable.