ABCs and Rice

Empowering the poor, through education and community support,
to break the cycle of poverty.

ABCs and Rice has started moving towards the next phase in development. Our goal is to further develop the skills of the Khmer staff and complete the handover by 2015, where the Siem Reap project will be left in the capable hands of the local community and the founders will begin the second ABCs and Rice in an area proving to have the greatest need.

 2012 - 2015 STRATEGIC PLAN

ABCs and Rice school has been operational since Jan 2010 and is funded through donations and various funding sources.   

ABCs and Rice has recently began "Full Belly Farm" which houses chickens, fish farms vegetables and fruit trees.  This food will supplement the Breakfast Club as well as the monthly food drops to families.  Any additional food produced will be bartered or sold with proceeds going back into the organisation. 


In addition to the Education Program and Sustainable Food Program, ABC’s and Rice also provides personal support and development to the children and their families, including family medical and dental care for the children.


There are three main areas of business at ABCs and Rice:

  1. Education (consists of School, the Back to School Program, Community Health and Wellbeing, Extra-Curricular, Vocational Studies within ABCs, Career Development beyond ABCs, Staff Training and Development)
  2. Food (Full Belly Farm, Breakfast Club, Reverse Tuition, Staff and Community Training and Development)
  3. Special projects (Community Support and Development)


Each area of business has been explored in-depth in order to identify the objectives and actions necessary to deliver the required outcome.  At the completion of this timeframe (2015) the goal is to hand the ABCs and Rice Siem Reap model over to the local people for management and to move onto a more remote area of Cambodia to begin the model again.


Spider Web Planning Tool

 The spider web is a tool used to determine where the business units for ABCs and Rice are currently sitting operationally  It also depicts where each activity should be in one years time and then in three years time.  Not all activities are considered the core business of the organisation so not all have the goal of being rated at a 5 (the highest rating).



Primary objective – To provide a high-quality standard of education

 SCHOOL (ABCs)                                                                       Current ranking: 3                      1 year: 4                      3 years:   5

Since English is increasingly viewed as the language of international communication, literacy becomes a most valuable tool.  This applies globally and Cambodia is no exception.  With average monthly salaries of $30 to $60 USD per family, having English language skills - even the most basic -, allows that monthly earning potential to double.  ABCs and Rice has always viewed education as a key element in empowering the impoverished to break the cycle of poverty.  Our focus on English is in line with the needs and demands of employers and post-secondary education providers in the area.  We aim to provide the highest quality of education in a safe and fun environment, where children can grow physically, emotionally, and academically.  English is taught using traditional grammar and comprehension classes, as well as Music, Art, Sport, Computer Basics, and vocational courses.  Fun, interesting, and useful skills are taught in English, all building up to a well- rounded, nurturing education.  Our ultimate goal here is to empower the locals to help themselves.  The staff at ABCs and Rice are another layer to the project; our teachers are all university students training with us to become qualified teachers.  Our support workers are all community members who were otherwise deemed un-employable.  We continuously provide and seek out training for our staff, and most are enrolled in additional evening classes of their choice sponsored through ABCs and Rice.  We invite skilled volunteers from around the globe to come, offer ideas, and assist in training and support of the local staff.  As the staff grow in their skill and confidence levels we aim to promote them into management roles where ABCs and Rice can be handed off.  As contributing community members, the staff can help their people to grow within ABCs and their community.  This initial handoff will allow the current directors and managers (all volunteer) to move on to the next identified area in need, where the process will start again, following in the footsteps of ABCs and Rice’s first school.


BACK TO SCHOOL PROGRAM (Public School)   Current ranking:             3                      1 year: 3.5                    3 years:            5

This program recognises and respects the need for literacy in one’s native tongue.  Also the self-worth generated by being recognized as an equal with peers.  ABCs and Rice encourages families to invest in their child’s future, by sending them to area government schools.  However for many of our families the daily teacher fees, uniform costs and additional fees that are charged are simply unaffordable, even with the alleviated burdens of food and child care that ABCs and Rice provides.  This is when the “Back to School Program” is offered.  To enter this program, families enter into a memorandum of understanding with ABCs and Rice.  A simple contract, where ABCs and Rice agrees to pay all public school fees, provide all uniforms, shoes, books etc., and transportation to government school, as well as an increased food ration.  In return, the family agrees to ensure: the child will maintain exemplary attendance at ABCs as well as government school; the child will study and keep grades at their level of capability in both institutes; and, the child will NOT be made to work outside of the family home  We are into our second year of this program and the feedback and results have been OUTSTANDING!  Combined with the English curriculum, this program has the children of ABCs and Rice attending school, and safe from danger for six hour a day.  With a government issued diploma, a highest Standard English education, basic life skills, and the love and support provided continuously, these children will have all the tools necessary to face the world and accomplish anything to which they set their minds.


COMMUNITY HEALTH & WELLBEING                            Current ranking:             1                      1 year: 1.5                    3 years:   2

This is a relatively small program of significant importance.  Often attendance drops off, or a family turns up at our door because of a severe problem at home.  The child or a family member is sick, a victim of violence, or has been rendered homeless.  As community role models, we are somewhat obliged to help.  Whether it be a referral to other legitimate organizations in the area, a sponsored tuk-tuk ride to an area professional, a one-time goods donation, or the absorbing of medical costs, ABCs relies on a small percent of our monthly budget to act as aid in such situations.  Being supportive of our community and of student’s families further encourages the child’s access to school.  Children here are often unable to attend school for long periods of time as they are needed at home to tend to an ill parent.  Funding proper medical treatment for the parent is often the key to having a prompt return to the classroom.  A severe dental problem inhibits a child’s ability to focus on studies, yet a $5 dental visit can instantly remedy the suffering.  We encourage the family to take this responsibility, however, in many instances, it is simply unaffordable.  Domestic violence victims, on occasion turn to us for help.  We will often refer these cases to other NGOs specializing in such areas.  Resources such as staff time and transportation are used to ensure that our network of referral organizations is current and reliable.  In the case of ill or injured children we often provide transportation to the various free children’s health facilities, and provide a food allowance for the care-taker if the stay is prolonged.  The costs of this program are generally quite low, but the service is extremely valuable to the community.  It ensures health and wellbeing of the child, while adding to the trust and respect from the community, allowing us to continue to work towards our goals as an organisation.


EXTRA CURRICULAR                                                    Current ranking: 3.75                  1 year: 5                      3 years:             5

This includes our sports, art, and music programs, as well as fun days, concerts and field trips.  These are deemed by ABCs and Rice as an extensive part of our education program.  The development of skill in working in groups, the cultivation of hobbies and interests, the exposure to arts and the recognition of individual strengths both enrich and extend work done in the classroom.  These activities aim to motivate and support the students to reach their full potential.


VOCATIONAL STUDIES WITHIN ABCs                           Current ranking:             0                      1 year: 1.5                    3 years:   3

The newest program at ABCs and Rice offers various life skills and exposure to potential career options.  Senior level students will now spend five hours per week being exposed to a variety of programs.  Some of these programs include carpentry and plumbing, paper making, leadership training, and computer basics.  We are excited about the pending feedback and potential expansion of this program.


CAREER DEVELOPMENT BEYOND ABCs                     Current ranking:             0.5                    1 year: 1                      3 years:   1.5

Still in its infancy as we are still growing with the children, we need to plan ahead.  Where will the children go when they out grow ABCs?  It is a core belief that once they are a student of ABCs and Rice, a child will be offered guidance and support until it is no longer needed.  For this reason we have various plans in place to assist the student BEYOND ABCs. These plans include, but are not limited to: university scholarship programs; vocational and trade school scholarships; and, employment services.  We are currently building up networks and relationships with key organisations in these areas as well as developing sponsorship programs based on forecasted, upcoming needs.


STAFF TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT             Current ranking:             3                      1 year: 3                      3 years:             3

The teachers and social workers of ABCs and Rice are considered to be part of our program as we aim to empower the poor to break the cycle of poverty through education.  As such, most of our staff members are themselves, university students.  We aim to offer them on job training, as well as continued education and career development.  We continuously seek out training opportunities, allowing them to realise their full potential, while helping them to provide a superior education to the students of ABCs and Rice.  The support staff, kitchen aids, farmers, etc are often parents or community members who have had little or no education, training or employment opportunities.  Again we stay with our motto of offering a hand UP, not a hand out.  We offer fair salaries, with on-the-job training in various skills.  Again, we also seek out and sponsor education and training opportunities outside of work hours, allowing them to realize their full potential.  EMPOWERMENT, at all levels, is the ultimate goal – education is the means to achieve it.



Primary objective – To provide a high-quality standard of education

FULL BELLY FARM                                                                   Current ranking:             0.5                    1 year: 2                      3 years:            3

This plan is based not only on the nutritional requirements of the children of ABCs and Rice but on the knowledge that Cambodia’s current agricultural methods reduce it to the lowest food producer per capita within ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations).  The main goals for the farm are to:

·         Alleviate food costs in Breakfast Club, and the Reversed tuition programs

·         Increase nutritional value in current food programs

·         Add sustainability to the Food and Education programs

·         Act as an experimental site, with the goal of improving local agricultural methods

·         Become a training facility for rural farmers

Perhaps most importantly , this project aims to become a model, and could be seen as the pilot project which can be replicated and planted in other locations further into regional Cambodia, across the underdeveloped regions of South East Asia and throughout the developing world to help those who are hungry and uneducated, well into the future.


BREAKFAST CLUB                                                                   Current ranking:             3                      1 year: 4                      3 years:            5

Not a new concept, but key in our ability to offer an education.  All children are invited daily to a hot and nutritious meal.  Many of our children have very limited access to food at home, and nutritional values are low in priority in a family who can barely conquer the pangs of hunger.  Starchy water with small amounts of rice is most often the meal to be shared with the family.  Health issues and an inability to focus in class are the obvious result.  Allowing these children at least one quality meal a day allows them the energy and focus needed to learn and play.  It also relieves more of the financial burden on their struggling families.


FOOD DROPS/REVERSE TUITION                                             Current ranking:             1                      1 year: 5                      3 years:            5

Families unable to support their child’s education are often unable to support their child … period.  The reverse tuition allows for a child not to work.  Their education becomes their job.  BEING A KID BECOMES THEIR JOB!  Their food ration is their contribution to the household.  The amount of rice and other supplies varies with availability and finances but there is ALWAYS a ration to take home, and the pride we witness each month as the children collect their families goods is heartwarming and breaking all at once.  This is the program that allows the children access to all other programs.


STAFF AND COMMUNITY TRAINING/DEV’MENT                        Current ranking:             1                      1 year: 2                      3 years:            5

See previous description above.



Primary objective – To promote health and wellbeing and therefore accessibility of school


COMMUNITY SUPPORT AND DEVELOPMENT                           Current ranking:             1                      1 year: 1                      3 years:            1

As required, and when feasible, ABCs and Rice takes on special projects with the long term objective of promoting access to education.  These projects can include, but are not limited to micro loans, clean water setups, infrastructure maintenance and repair.  As problems present themselves, ABCs looks to provide long term solutions.  A family unable to support themselves, in some instances is a good candidate for a micro loan.  These loans are often done as a “pay it forward” project.  One example would be our pig farm donations, where the farm is set-up and supported until the first litter is born.  Then, as part of the re-payment, one piglet from each litter is gifted to the next suitable candidate. As ABCs grows, materials are recycled.  If a new, improved building goes up, materials from the previous structure are given out to those in need of home repairs.  Our many volunteers often lend their experience, or muscle to such shelter repairs or land maintenance.  Flood and disaster relief from ABCs and Rice comes in many forms, and is often the only aid these villagers in distress will receive.  Whenever possible we call upon the locals in our community to assist in care package creation and delivery, encouraging them to help themselves and others, as well as lending to the sense of empowerment we aim to provide.  Fresh water wells, water purification means, and simple mosquito nets are often the key to illuminating illness and absenteeism in school.  So the scope is broad, but the outcome in mind, as always is to promote access to education.



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