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Review for Ponheary Ly Foundation, Austin, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

We first learned about Ponheary in 2004 and started making contributions. In 2006 we met with Ponheary and went to one of the schools to make bike and teacher bonus presentations. Last month, my 23 yr old daughter and I spent two weeks in Siem Reap volunteering with the PLF. We got to see Ponheary and Lori Carlson in action up close and it was very impressive. One day we drove out to Koh Ker school (3 hours from Siem Reap) to make a lunch for the kids, while Ponheary had a meeting with the teachers to discuss new goernment rules. We visited the new dorm that the PLF has purchased so 12 girls from the country can attend High School. Another day, we visited the family of one student who needed assistance getting his younger brother into Siem Reap to be fitted for a new wheelchair, and another time we checked into a house where orphans are living, but seem to need some assistance. Our two weeks in the classroom was amazing. The kids are wonderful, as well as their regular teacher. We learned what a difference just getting a school uniform can make in the lives of these kids, but Ponheary goes way beyond that, providing healthy meals, wells for clean water, and making the school a positive option to staying home and working on the garden or selling trinkets at the temples. I saw her turn a tourist's, "What can we do to help?" into them feeding a healthy lunch to 400 kids. Not only that but Ponheary, all her family, and various drivers and volunteers all came to chop, cook and serve.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my time in Siem Reap. We stayed at the Ly family guesthouse, so saw the myriad ways in which the family and volunteers give to the community.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Perhaps give incoming volunteers a little more 'direction", but I think that may be a decision to let volunteers really get creative. The regular teacher stayed in the classroom with us and not only used the opportunity to improve his pronunciation, but was a huge help when we had questions or needed something translated to the kids.

Would you volunteer for this group again?


For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?


What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

Offer more chances to fill our days working. Only after we left did we realize other ways we could have helped. We should have just asked, as I think they may hesitate to ask us to do too much!

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

I learned that I can stand in front of a big class and keep the kids engaged.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

It was a wonderful experience; and one of the best trips I've ever had. I can't wait to go back again.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


Role:  Volunteer & Taught two english classes each day at Knar school. We had about 40 students total.