29 Sacramento St #2 Cambridge MA 02138
To whom it may concern,
I first encountered Kep Gardens in early 2012 on a trip studying the work of non-profit organizations in Cambodia. Of all the organizations we surveyed, Kep Gardens stood out for its integration with the community, its flexible and holistic approach, and the dedication of its staff to realizing its vision: bringing education to Cambodia’s most vulnerable youths.
Kep Gardens is a response to the most pressing development need in rural Cambodia: the absence of the knowledge, skills and contacts that would allow local people to benefit from the dollars flowing into the region. Through free training in English, hospitality, and other practical skills, the children in the community served by Kep Gardens are able to access the industries that provide the greatest opportunities in Cambodia today.
Achieving these goals in the rural communities of Cambodia—in the context of extreme poverty, disease and a wide range of development issues—requires more than just running classes. This reality is reflected by Kep Gardens’ flexible, holistic approach to education and community development. Kep Gardens’ work has expanded to provide everything from life skills as basic as oral hygiene; accommodation for at-risk female students; access to modern medical care; and new agricultural and construction techniques to local workers.
This ability to closely adapt to community needs as they arise has allowed Kep Gardens to become a trusted and respected institution. Locals regard it as a life-changing project that can, on the long-term, transform this disadvantaged and disconnected part of the world.
I strongly believe in the value of Kep Gardens’ work and cannot provide firmer endorsement for sponsorship.
Frank Knox Fellow
Harvard Kennedy School
Master of Public Policy candidate
Kep Gardens has been part of the community of Kampong Tralach Village, Prey Thom Commune for 6 years. Whilst the country continues on its strong growth path there are still people in the country areas who do not have access to skills training. Kep Gardens provides this much needed education free-of-charge, targeting the underprivileged in their local community.
The English school has gained a highly respected reputation in the area as have the hospitality students working in local businesses.
The Cambodian Government and the local people value and appreciate the skills education Kep Gardens is providing and strongly support any fundraising programme they conduct to ensure the project continues to provide a high standard of training to our people.
Deputy Governor, Kep
Tel: +855 12561956
October 12, 2012
Re:Letter of reference for Kep Gardens Association
I have been working and living in Cambodia for the past 16 years, the last 11 in Kep Province. I worked for 6 years. After our final project, the Community Legal Education Center, was transferred to Cambodian management, I retired and moved to Kep. I have been a volunteer English teacher for monks at 2 Buddhist wats and for several groups of young civil service personnel.
When I moved to Kep in 2001, there were almost no foreign language education or vocational training opportunities for children and young people in Kep, particularly young people from poor rural subsistence farming and fishing families. This resulted in very little in the way of employment opportunities by which they could earn a sustainable living and help their families improve their living standards. As Kep has been developing economically over the past decade, with a rapidly expanding tourism sector, the need for young people to acquire language and vocational skills has become critical.
I became acquainted with Janine and Andrew Judd and their work at Kep Gardens about 3 years ago. They are actively committed to providing the young people from the villages around Kep Gardens with opportunities to develop their skills through language, educational support and vocational training. They have very sensibly developed projects at Kep Gardens based on the assessed needs of the village families and individual students and which are suited to the local environment and developmental progress. They and the Kep Garden staff then work diligently to ensure that a project is solidly established and stabilized before moving on to the next stage or initiating a new project.
Kep Gardens is one of the few organizations that provides free English language, hospitality services, vocational skills and agricultural training to children of rural village families in the area. For each young person participating in one or more of the Kep Garden projects, this means an opportunity for a future they could otherwise only dream about – to become employable, make a decent living and develop their interests and potential. Kep Gardens has a positive impact, not just on the individual young people, but on their families and their local communities.
It is very difficult to fund and operate a small scale, local organization like Kep Gardens. Most donors emphasize broad programs on a regional or national scale and remain largely urban-based. That typically results in very little benefit trickling down to the 80% of Cambodians living in rural areas.
The work of Kep Gardens, on the other hand, focuses on the positive impact on the present and futures of the individual young rural people, their families and their villages.
Janet K. King
Resident, Kep Village
Kep Province, Cambodia