There’s no denying how beautiful a country Cambodia is, with its amazing temples, seep-rooted culture and breathtaking wildlife, not to mention the friendly locals. In this regard, it should come as no surprise that Cambodia is a firm favourite among tourists who want to experience a completely different way of life. Unfortunately, there is a darker side to Cambodia that is far from the Cambodia some people take for granted.

For example, Cambodia has had to fight against occurrences of genocide in the past. There are also a vast number of Khmer people who live in rural areas where electricity and education is not commonplace, which is surprising when you consider that some these of these rural areas are a mere stone’s throw away from emerging cities like Siem Reap.

Fortunately, people have recognised that help is needed in such areas, and there are NPOs in Cambodia that look to support locals with a holistic approach.

Free to Shine: An Organisation with a Holistic Approach

Free to shine is an organisation that believes children belong in schools, nit brothels. In order to ensure the safety of Cambodian girls, Free to Shine identify those who are at high risk of being targeted by traffickers and look to get them involved in school, as well as visiting them to ensure that all is well.

The organisation is based in Queensland, Australia and currently supports the needs of around 500 girls, who are from the Siem Reap town and surrounding areas. Here are some facts about the support network Free to Shine is able to offer.

  • Girls are able to remain in an environment that is safe and familiar
  • Girls are brought to school by the Free to Shine organisation
  • The welfare of girls is closely monitored by Cambodian employees of the Free to Shine organisation
  • All Girls have access to school materials and support as-and-when they need it

Of all the support offered by Free to Shine, there isn’t one that is prioritised by another, as all four are important in ensuring that the future prospects of Cambodian girls are solid.

It’s not only the girls of Siem Reap who benefit from the Free to Shine organisation, as Cambodian locals are given a job that allows them to showcase their passion for helping others, as well as developing their own personal skills.

One of the local who pioneers in his role at Free to Shine is Chetra Eab, an Education Outreach Officer who is also a respected member of the iiCamp in Siem Reap.

You can tell how passionate Chetra Eab is about his role at Free to Shine, revelling in the good that he does so Cambodian girls are free to further their education and as well as preparing them for roles in the future, such as running their own business and securing a job role.

Chetra is also passionate about starting his own business, hoping to offer the girls he supports a role in his future business venture. Watch this amazing interview where Chetra speaks passionately about the work he does for the Free to Shine organisation.


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From the left to the right: Mrs. Socheata, Mr San and Chetra Eab

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