Founded by a local man, Sinn Meang in 2014, Volunteer Building Cambodia (VBC) provides impoverished families in rural Siem Reap Province with housing, wells, solar systems and toilet facilities.
VBC is primarily funded by volunteers who wish to participate in building a house or toilet. VBC is also grateful for donations from those unable to participate in a build.
Approximately 80% of Cambodians live in rural areas where a staggering 85% are without access to adequate sanitation facilities and 35% do not have access to safe drinking water. Many of these families live on less than a few dollars a day. Owning a sturdy home that can protect them from the elements gives these families a much-needed leg up. This allows them to focus on making an income and raising their families. Similarly, having access to safe water sources and sanitation facilities improves the health of these families. This allows them to be more productive and also happier.
We do thorough assessments to ensure those most in need receive our houses and undertake follow up assessment at 6 months, 12 months and 24 months after a family receives a house to monitor how the family are doing.
VBC views education as another step on the ladder out of poverty. Therefore, using funds raised through its building program VBC has set up VBC Community Centre (VBCCC), which runs free daily Computer and English language classes for 200 enthusiastic students. The centre has a waiting list since, unfortunately, the Cambodian public-school system is rather lacking in depth. Students in Cambodia attend school for only half days due to teacher and facility shortages. The VBC Community Centre provides for the other half of the day for those who are motivated enough and lucky enough to live near it. In the future VBCCC hopes to provide classes in vocational and soft skills in addition to classes for parents.
VBCCC is proud of the fact that the majority of those attending are female, despite being in a rural area where educating females has never been seen as a priority.
To date, VBC has built 320 houses, provided 102 wells and installed 139 toilets (February 2020). Additionally, many of its houses have been upgraded with solar panels, fans and rudimentary lighting.
In providing safe secure housing, sanitation facilities and education VBC hopes to help break the poverty cycle and support its families on their journeys to self-sufficiency.