In March 2015, leaders representing the Global Peace Foundation (GPF) and partnering organizations, including Love in Lights and Sam Yook Medical Center from Korea and Union Youth Federation of Cambodia, visited the Cambodian village of Kampong Speu to deliver solar powered lamps and street lights as well as introduce basic medical services.
The delegation also donated over 300 books to a library recently renovated by volunteers from the Global Youth Exchange, an international program also hosted by the Global Peace Foundation.
The seeds for the growing All-Lights Village Project in Cambodia were planted in 2014 when GPF representatives met with Cambodian government officials to promote community and national development. Although Cambodia’s economy has steadily grown by over 7 percent since 2011 according to World Bank figures, low secondary and higher education rates strain the human capacity to meet the demands of the growing economy.
“A key restraint to growth is the skill mismatch, or the lack of adequately skilled labour in the high-end industries,” noted Srinivas Madhur, director of research at Cambodia Development Resource Institute, in a BBC report. He said it was crucial to develop the education sector, to “build partnerships to bring more advanced education into the country, especially vocational training.”
Off the grid
Additionally, there are some 10 million Cambodians who don’t have access to electricity, which significantly limits development in many rural areas. The GPF All-Lights Village Project begins with solar powered lamps as a stimulus for long-term community based development. Studies have shown that the lights have improved literacy, economic activity, and community activity.
The project’s unique approach places development in the hands of each village and in the community’s families, while seeking to build villages that embody GPF’s signature vision of One Family under God.
The lamps are provided to each village family, providing light to enable children to study and mothers to cook and clean during evening hours. The lamps have also become the center for community activities. The maintenance of street lamps and sharing of lanterns between families has created new connections between individuals and families. The project also supports other programs like economic and livelihood capacity building and community development training.
University students have also worked with the Global Peace Foundation and the Ministry of Education to support English education in high-need primary schools. All-Lights Village is providing the tools and fostering the confidence of local villages to take responsibility for national development in their own hands.
The Global Peace Foundation Asia Pacific region is building long term partnerships with local and international business and community leaders to harness the growth potential of Cambodia and the Asia Pacific region.