The beginnings of Treak Community Centre can be traced back to a young Cambodian man, Phiron, who started a school in the grounds of Wat Atvea pagoda, teaching English to children and young adults in the evenings. In 2010 the UK charity Que Rico, which was founded and run by Nick Marsh, took over the running of the school and started sending volunteers to help out.
After being managed by a series of expats, Salin was appointed in July 2012 as the first Cambodian project manager. The school had outgrown the premises at the pagoda and she oversaw the move to the current location in the heart of the village. To reflect the new location and the wider range of services offered, the school was renamed Treak Community Centre.
Michael from ConCERT Cambodia supported and mentored Salin in her new role but his approach was always that Treak Community Centre should be managed and run entirely by its Cambodian staff. This echoed the long term vision of Nick Marsh whose aim was that the project should ultimately be controlled by people on the ground in Cambodia.
On the 1st of January 2014 his vision was realised when Que Rico handed over the project to ConCERT and they have now assumed responsibility for running the centre. Que Rico has now changed to be a major donor, providing volunteers and funding, much in the same way as before. In the meantime, Treak Community Centre has gone from strength to strength with student numbers rising from 120 in July 2012 to nearly 400 today.
About Treak Village
Treak Village is a typical Cambodian village, 4 kilometres south of Siem Reap town. Make the 4 km journey and travel back in time 100 years. Parts of village life goes on much as it’s done for the past 1,000 years! Most people are subsistence farmers or fishermen; 50% of adults are illiterate, a direct result of the Khmer Rouge period.
There are around 2,000 people in 330 families. 20% of families are on the government poverty list with individuals earning less that 50 cents per day. 30 families live in extreme poverty with no land, job, savings or help from family members.
Very poor families struggle to cover the costs of their children’s education. Their children cannot get good jobs when they grow up and the cycle of poverty starts all over again.
What villagers deal with every day:
- no piped water supply (families share water from wells)
- 30% of families have no water filter (water cannot be drunk unfiltered)
- no sewage system
- 50% of families have no toilet
- no gas supply or telephone landlines
- dirt roads