About us


Building the school, 2007

Our commitment regarding all donations:

100% of all donations will be used to fund school and village family programs. No funds will ever be used to fund administrative or travel expenses. 

The road to our school

A girl and her chicken at home

A mother tends a neighbor's cows

Some scholarship girls greet us in November 2013

Take Action: Donate a girl's scholarship for $180/year

Our mission:

We strive to provide the best education possible for students and village families to better their lives in a sustainable way.

Photo above: Scholarship girls watch over our principal Mey Cheoun's young son. 


On New Year's Day 2007, Founders Jim & Denise DeLong read an article by NY Times journalist Nicholas Kristoff who wrote that a school could be built in Cambodia for $20,000.

Jim shared the article with the student charity group he started and moderated at the middle school he taught at, Bret Harte Middle School in San Jose, CA. He talked about how the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot deliberately destroyed Cambodia's schools and executed teachers and students during the genocide.

The students enthusiastically agreed to take on the challenge of raising funds and in May 2007, 57 middle and high school students organized and ran a silent auction and donation campaign that raised the needed funds.

The students wanted to call the Doris Dillon School their "sister" school. They asked the San Jose Unified School District for permission and it was granted.

We did the considerable work to become a 501(c)3 non-profit organization:

Doris Dillon School in Cambodia  

Federal Tax Id. 47-1509301

so that we could best manage our own destiny and provide donors with the maximum benefit for their donations.

The communities we serve:

Our school serves five surrounding communities. Families mostly subsist by raising rice in plots and selling it to provide funds to provide food and other necessities. Some families simply do not own enough land to raise enough rice to feed themselves. Other families do not own any land at all. Since these families cannot sell rice at market they must find other means of income to subsist. Sadly, this often forces their children to drop out of school to work at menial jobs to support their family.

Parents of these families employ many means to raise money to subsist: working in other families rice fields, performing home repairs, working construction (note: this means the father spends long periods away from home), abandoning the family to work in Thailand for better wages, etc.

Families that struggle to subsist thus rely on others. Sometimes, wealthier families donate rice to families in need. Yet, we've found that pressures to simply subsist force these families to make choices that can cripple their future. 

The most devastating choice we witness each year is the choice the families make to force their daughters to drop out of school to work for others: to watch over neighbors' cows or children, to work alone in others' rice fields. 

Since these girls work long hours alone, they have no chance to form lasting friendships with other girls their age. In addition, because they often work without any adult supervision, they're vulnerable to kidnapping.

That's why we give scholarships each year to girls who had dropped out of 7th grade because of their family's dire poverty. 


We've funded over 110 scholarships for girls who had dropped out of 7th grade over the last decade. Only two of these girls have dropped out. The rest have continued their education through high school. 

Today, girls who graduate high school have begun to attend university with our help. 

Four girls we've supported with scholarships are currently attending the Leadership Academy, a college prep boarding school in Phnom Penh. The Leadership Academy's curriculum and character development program has achieved important recognition for their outstanding results: their college-bound graduates consistently gain acceptance to the top two universities in the nation.

Now, these four girls will have the opportunity to attend the best Cambodian universities.  

Take Action: Donations

100% of all donations will be used to fund projects and programs for village students, alumni, teachers, and families. No funds will ever be used to fund administrative expenses and board member travel and expenses. 

You can double your donation, if you work for a company with a Matching Gift program, by applying for a matching donation from your company. We are registered with most of the organizations that manage matching gift programs for companies (e.g., benevity, Your Cause, Network for Good). 


Building the school, 2007

We are the only public middle school we know of that has built and continues to support a "sister" school in another country. 

Looking out a classroom window

A father rides a bicycle to the market town

Three scholarship girls during a school break

A group of scholarship girls in January 2017