Empowering Youth Cambodia




Empowering Youth in Cambodia (EYC) is a grass roots organization based in Phnom Penh Cambodia for the purpose of improving the lives of young people and their families. Our vision is to see empowered youth with skills and confidence to be leaders who actively develop self, family and community towards positive change.

The bulk of the work is achieved through our 3 schools or community centers, based in slum communities, which serve as after-school programs.

Who We Are

The community centers are run using local skills and basic ideas that work. The schools are houses in the heart of poor communities that are converted to learning centers.  Students take part in various activities, though most all study English with us in addition to computers and extracurricular activities. The centers have become a place for the kids in the community who are on the right path to meet like minded friends and support each other. A series of leadership classes have been taught to over 180 teenagers from the areas, and have been the building block for the schools Leadership Teams; a group of committed students who volunteer and gain work experience. Health training and services are also provided free of charge to students, including testing, treatment, medicine, as well as quality dental care and toothbrushes. We place students into jobs to help them stay in school, in areas such as cleaning houses and doing data entry.

About the staff

The Cambodian staff consists of 15 part-time and 2 full-time staff, as well as 1 American (Drew McDowell). About half of the staff are from the communities where we work, and we also engage many students as work studies. A major aspect of our mission is to build capacity in the staff, and they are given responsibility and direction to make them leaders. We tap in to our staff’s strengths, and support their ideas for initiatives, empowering them to run the project. Many have gone on to take on leadership positions with other organizations. All too often we are underequipped to handle the daunting challenges in the face of poverty and lack of child rights that we work around, but by doing our best, listening and caring, we do make a difference!

Aziza School

Aziza School, located in Tonle Bassac, has been providing free English lessons, leadership training, computers, life skills, and medical services since May 2006. The school provides classes and activities from morning until evening every day of the week. On weekdays English and computers are taught at various levels to students that mostly range from 6-20 years old. Khmer (Cambodian) nationals teach all the classes, and utilize Khmer and foreign volunteers. Weekly activities include a youth group, community organizing team, legal rights, art, movies, yoga, dance-aerobics, traditional dance and soccer, as well as guest lecturers, photography, and field trips. All activities are open to all, have elements of fun, offer life experience, and most events fill the schools.

Lakeside School

Lakeside School in Beoung Kok opened in June 2008, and offers most of the same services as Aziza School. The school has a vibrant energy as the community is in constant motion, and has been run by a highly competent Youth Team Leader committee that was so successful, it seemed appropriate to ask them to run our 3rd school in a nearby community, about 1 km north on the railroad tracks.

Youth School

A 3rd center named Boeung Kok Youth School opened in October 2009 and is a grassroots effort to provide education and community organizing in Boeung Kok’s Village 14. Youth Team Leaders from Lakeside School are demonstrating their leadership skills to involve the community and share the skills they have acquired with a new group of youth in a neighboring community. About the students: Most students also study in public primary school, high school and even university, as well as work to support their studies. During the morning and afternoon the younger students come to study basic English, health and life skills before or after their primary school. In the evenings the students are mostly teenagers who are working on their high school degrees. The students must live in the community to qualify to study at the school unless given special permission.

Health Services

In additional to regular health and hygiene trainings, each school has a night each week when we have a medical clinic that is open to the community. Dental services are available to all of our students, and we have taken hundreds in our time for everything from cleanings to fillings to extractions to root canals. We also have a team of competent young people who teach and promote birth control for the women in our communities as well as other target communities where people have been displaced or relocated.


To develop skills, leadership potential and build self confidence

  • English and Computer Education
  • Study visits
  • Scholarship Connection
  • Sport programs
  • Art and creativity programs
  • Short courses on leadership, community organizing, team work…
  • Volunteer and Employment connection

To engage Youth in community development

  • Make good relationship in community (village chief, student parents, neighbors…)
  • Raise awareness of rights
  • Promote respect for environment
  • Active Youth involvement in management of organization (Young Team Leader committee)
  • Youth groups for social activities and learning
  • Community Organizing Teams

To improve community health

  • Provide reliable medical care (weekly doctor visits)
  • Promote birth control through outreach activities
  • Provide hygiene and first aid training
  • Connect children to dental health care services (students to dentists for cleaning and care every 6 months)

For donors who prefer their donation to go through a UK registered charity go to our partner: Camkids Charity, www.camkids.org      

Village Earth Globe Village Earth Global Affiliate since 2005

Contact EYC at: Drew McDowell Country Manager drewmcdo@msn.com

Office Location: #26, Street 348 Sangkat Boeung Keng Kang III Khan Chamcamon Phnom Penh, Kingdom Of Cambodia Ph: +855 92 982 581 (English Speaking) Ph: +855 12 336 243 (Cambodian Speaking)   Visit the EYC website at: http://eycambodia.org/

Cambodia Project