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Message from the Founder and Director

The Cambodian Buddhism Association for Vulnerable Children (CBAVC) is a Cambodian Non-Governmental, non-profit organization established by a group of Cambodian Buddhist Monks of Wat Polangka, Siem Reap in 2012 who aim to improve access to education and health services for the most vulnerable children, women and disabled people in society.

I would like to provide a short introduction of myself for all people to understand the truth of my life. I was born in 1982 in a rural community in Siem Reap province, Cambodia. I had nine siblings and I was the third child in family. I have lived through a very difficult life through prolonged civil war after the strict control of Pol Pot and the Communist Regime in the poorest part of the country. This period of Cambodia’s history was truly a horrific experience for myself, my family and my country. Even today many of my childhood memories are too painful to remember. My family was very poor and they were farmers. When I was 6 years old I began going to school and I was able to attend primary school for 6 years. Unfortunately, they forced me to stop school because they could not afford to support me with study materials, clothes and enough food to eat. I spent all of my time working in the paddy fields and when I returned in the evening I would often cry because I had not enough food to eat.

Anyway, I still liked my studies and I often used my finger as a pencil to write in the sand or used a scrap of paper as my notebook. It made me remember some of the words I had studied at school before. I liked studying and praying because my parents were Buddhists. When I grew up a little, I asked my parents if I could leave the family and go to the pagoda. They allowed me. I lived with monks in the temple to study Buddhist philosophies and I became a pagoda boy at the age of 16 years old. I became a Buddhist monk at 18 years old and I then attended Buddhist secondary school and completed junior Buddhist high school in 2005. I often practiced English conversation with teachers and classmates at school which made me very interested in education.  I continued to undertake Bachelor and Master’s degrees and now I have degrees in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), BA in Project Management, and MBA in General Management from Build Bright University.

A childhood dominated by prolonged civil war and extremely poverty had a profound effect on my future. It inspired me to create CBAVC so that I can work towards giving some of the most destitute members of society, such as orphans, vulnerable children and disabled people, the same opportunities that I eventually benefited from. I want to provide them with a loving home so that they can flourish into their adulthood.

I am forever grateful to all people around the world that have helped with this project. The CBAVC that exists today is a result of hard work and dedication of Venerable San Van, other monks and members of CBAVC staff, volunteers and many other generous people from all over the world. Without their invaluable help CBAVC would not be able to transform the lives of so many orphans, vulnerable children and disabled people. I am looking forward to welcoming you to our association’s work and I wish you success and good luck for everything you do.  

Venerable San Van

Founder and Director of CBAVC.