At SeeBeyondBorders we believe change begins with education, and we think that quality teaching and learning should be available to everyone. We work in primary schools in Cambodia, a country still recovering from the destruction of its education system under the Khmer Rouge. In partnership with local communities we sustainably improve education standards by training teachers, getting children to school and developing better learning environments.
An education is a priceless gift. It brings with it the opportunity to create your own future. Yet access to quality teaching and learning is something that comes with a price tag, at a cost that far too many people around the world cannot afford.
In Cambodia, this problem is particularly pronounced. It is difficult to overestimate the impact of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge on the country’s development. During their rule from 1975 to 1979, nearly 2 million Cambodians died as a result of enforced labour, malnutrition and mass executions. That’s almost a quarter of the entire population.
The Khmer Rouge particularly targeted the educated in their determination to wind the clocks back to ‘Year Zero’ and restore the country to an idealised pastoral past. They dismantled the school system, burnt all money and closed the temples. The vast majority of teachers were lost during this time.
As a result, even today up to half of Cambodia’s children do not complete primary school. Drop out rates are highest in rural areas, where 80% of Cambodians live. Nationally, only 35% of children attend grade seven. This means that the majority of children in Cambodia are denied the opportunity to fulfill their potential. We think you’ll agree that this is an injustice that cannot be ignored.
The morning school run. Times tables and spelling tests. Sports days. Homework. The mundane, everyday features of our childhoods that many of us took for granted. We are driven by the vision of a country where eventually, every child will have access to these precious experiences.
And by working with communities and local education systems, we know that this change will contribute to a more fair and equal society.
Our Vision, Mission and Values
Vision: A generation of Cambodian school children empowered by education .
Mission: SeeBeyondBorders provides access to quality teaching and learning at school
Following our communications workshop in January 2018, we have reassessed the SeeBeyondBorders values. Our organisation has evolved, and we feel that our values must be adapted to fit with who we are and what we do now, 9 years later. Our old values are not gone – we have incorporated much of what they stand for into our new core 5 values. In everything we do we seek to follow these values.
Changemaker: Our biggest priority is to create positive, large-scale, and sustainable change in Cambodia. We are not just helping one or two communities – we are working towards large-scale systemic and sustainable change so that one day the assistance of SeeBeyondBorders in our current guise will no longer be needed.
Competency: All of our Programs are supported by knowledge and experience. Our team is made up of well trained professionals, who approach tasks with competency and skill. We are always working to share and build knowledge, learn from experience, and promote the idea of a two-way knowledge exchange.
Integrity: We are always transparent and view mistakes as opportunities to learn. We always strive to be honest and to ensure that it is our shared vision alone that drives our work.
Courage: It's not easy to challenge the status quo. But to build a better future for Cambodian children, our staff, our partners, and the communities we work with act with personal courage every day to stay the course in the face of adversity.
Respect: Our actions are always founded on respect - for the teachers, students, and community members we work with, for our fellow team members and for our donors and supporters. We recognise the power we have in our representation of the communities we work with, and we only represent people in ways that are honest, respectful, and fully consensual.
We are registered as a charity in Australia and the United Kingdom and operate as a registered international non-government organisation in Cambodia. We have no religious or political affiliations.