Visit Bridge of Life Cambodia's website to learn more about their programs abroad
Bridge of Life School is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization providing educational related programming for under-resourced communities in the Cambodian countryside. We provide free English language classes at three different schools reaching over 250 students. Our first school also offers a sewing course for unemployed women and a fair trade cooperative that sells their products abroad; a Khmer/English library staffed by a trained librarian; and free computer classes for motivated students. In 2012 we opened The Big Yellow House, a not-for-profit guesthouse for volunteers and socially responsible tourists looking to maximize their impact while traveling abroad. Our organization is run by Cambodians for Cambodians but receive financial support from international donors.
Got involved in the Bridge of Life school through a mutual friend of eddie, the founder of this great non-profit. This school helped motivate my first trip to South East...Read more
Got involved in the Bridge of Life school through a mutual friend of eddie, the founder of this great non-profit. This school helped motivate my first trip to South East Asia. Which started as a 3 month trip and turned into just a week shy of 6 months. So needless to say I had an amazing time and enjoyed my time in Siem Reap Cambodia. What made this trip different then any other one was the people and getting involved with their community. During my time as a volunteer at the Bridge of Life school I had the amazing experience of getting to know so many friendly individuals striving to learn and create a better lifestyle, for themselves and their families. From young to old, a gathering spot for all at the bridge of life school. I also had the nice timing of the grand opening of a new building, which was created for the local woman to have a sowing co-op. Which had the benefit of creating a income for the local woman of the area. During the grand opening the local Buddhist monks came and performed a ceremony of good fortune for the building and community.
To hear since I've left Cambodia that the Big Yellow Guest House has been created in Sieam Reap, which was created for the purpose to bring a sustainable funding for the Bridge of Life school. So the school will not only really on private donations. This is a goal for any non profit community to grow to the point of self sustainability.
Had a amazing time in Cambodia and the smiles made it all worth it. Its just a matter of time until i return to visit all the friends I made.
Two years ago I arrived in Cambodia with a loose mission aimed at working in international development. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Eddie by a friend of...Read more
Two years ago I arrived in Cambodia with a loose mission aimed at working in international development. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Eddie by a friend of mine. Eddie founded Bridge of Life in order to provide English lessons to children in Banteah Srey, a small town an hour outside of Siem Reap.
Volunteering at the school radically changed my life. Prior to my fourth month stay, I had been thinking of returning to the United States and working in a management consulting capacity. After my stay, I was convinced I wanted to work in the field of international development and live abroad.
Eddie is a believer in sustainable international development. He started his school with donations, but has since realized the difficulty of running a donation based program. Unlike hopping on development trends and launching a microfinance project that would be unsustainable in the community, he thought about what his students needed.
The answer to this question was finding a a way to assimilate his students into the city where jobs in the tourism industry were plentiful. However, he realized arming his students with only English skills was not enough. He started a guesthouse that was aimed to provide two services.
First, it is meant to support Bridge of Life School financially, allowing the school to wean its way off of donor support. Second, it gives his students a place to live and work while gaining the skills necessary to find quality jobs in the city.
Eddie runs a truly amazing operation in Siem Reap that inspires people who volunteer to help out in the future. After my stint in Cambodia, I continually looked for ways to continue helping Eddie. I now serve as a trustee on Kiva for an interest free loan to the Big Yellow House (Eddie's Guesthouse). I fully recommend getting involved, it is a great way to get your feet wet abroad and make a real difference.
I have had the wonderful opportunity of visiting the school, Bridge of Life, in Siem Reap Cambodia. When I look back at a time that I felt most alive and...Read more
I have had the wonderful opportunity of visiting the school, Bridge of Life, in Siem Reap Cambodia. When I look back at a time that I felt most alive and full of happiness, the country side of Cambodia and the laughter of its children come to mind.
Within minutes of arriving at the school, I had children opening their hearts to me and spilling out every bit of broken English they knew. I would turn around to find little girls wrapping flowers in my hair and asking me to take pictures with them. The most I knew in Khmer was "hello", "thank you" and "my name is" but it was enough to befriend the whole community.
I had the chance to attend a few English classes and I was so amazed to see how quickly they picked up the language. They read and wrote to each, working as a team to develop their skills. The best one was sitting right next to the youngest children just starting to learn.
One of my favorite experiences was meeting the young women in the sewing program. They were much more shy and reserved than the children but just as eager to learn. When they showed me their finished project you could notice the difference in their eyes and smile, they felt confident and accomplished. These young women were not just making things to provide for their families, they were making things to feel alive, free and purposeful. I had heard the horribles of young women and children being forced to work on the streets to provide for their families, but Bridge of Life provided a choice, which can be something so simple yet life changing for an entire community.
I have traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia and volunteered with Bridge of Life School on two occasions: once in March of 2011 and again May-June of 2012. Both times, I...Read more
I have traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia and volunteered with Bridge of Life School on two occasions: once in March of 2011 and again May-June of 2012. Both times, I taught English at the Bridge of Life school in Banteay Srei. Each day, I taught four 1 hour classes. Some days, I taught the classes entirely on my own and other days I either team taught or assisted
Overall, my experience with the students was awesome. It is clear that all of the students very passionate about learning English, which makes the classroom environment very high energy and productive. They understand the value of learning English in its ability to open doors for them, and for that reason they are very committed. The school is great because it is in the village that all of these students call their home. The school is truly a community. Classmates are not just classmates. They are brothers and sisters, cousins, neighbors, friends, etc. The school is a focal point of the village, and I really got to know the students both during class and after class as they played tag outside the classroom or volleyball in the field next door. I was truly sad to leave the students of Bridge of Life school at the end of both of my volunteer experiences with the Bridge of Life School.
My experiences in Siem Reap outside of volunteering have also been incredible. Siem Reap and the area that surrounds it are full of historic temples that are truly amazing. Even after a full day of touring the temples, I did not become bored with them or feel that I had had enough. The sense of awe continues indefinitely. There are also other great opportunities to experience Cambodian culture through the night markets, museums, local restaurants, and even alligator farms! Overall, I would most definitely recommend volunteering for Bridge of Life school to anyone who is looking for a rewarding volunteer experience in a new and exciting environment.