Archives for July 2012

Empowering Youth Cambodia July 2012 Newsletter

I am happy to be sending you this update of our recent accomplishments. Our schools are operating very well and I am proud to be a part of such a great team.  In recent months our team has grown, our students have increased, and we are currently in the process of improving the quality of our educational programs. We currently have 495 students learning and taking part in fun activities at our schools on a typical day.  While we need to adjust to the recent growth, we are also aiming to make it increasingly relevant for our students to find job opportunities .

Our steadily increasing number of students and scholarships make your donations increasingly important and appreciated. If you are in a position to make a donation please do so.  If I can assist with anything please contact me; [email protected]

Please take the time to read our updates included.


Best regards,

Drew McDowell

855 (0)92 982581

In this Issue of our Newsletter:

EYC Launches Job Training and Placement Program

EYCycling Team Looking for Sponsors

Community Garbage Clean-Up

University Scholarships

New Staff Members

EYC Launches Job Training and Placement Program

A new program steps up placement of students into internship and paid positions with businesses and organizations throughout Phnom Penh.

With Cambodia having the youngest population in Southeast Asia it is no surprise that high youth unemployment rates remain a pressing issue for many of our students. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO) 700 youth enter the labor market in Cambodia every day and compete for the very few opportunities available. While observations ‘on the ground’ show that the reasons for the high youth unemployment are rather complex, there is consensus that improvements in literacy, education, and relevant skills are pertinent for securing steady and sustainable employment.

EYC started our Job Placement Program in April 2012, and has seen great results in a short time. At the core of this program is Mr. Sophea Sor, the program’s coordinator, who establishes and fosters relationships between EYC and local businesses/organizations in order to place qualified and motivated students in internships or paid positions. We are proud to announce that eleven students were placed in internship positions in the first three months. Of those eleven interns, two were offered permanent employment within the first month of their internship. An additional eight students were placed in part time jobs this year (cleaner, English teacher, and waitress), allowing them to continue their education.

To help EYC’s students be more marketable and successful in their employment search we developed and implemented a comprehensive Job Training Program, which will build on the education EYC is providing to give them marketable skills. The first training class enrolled a total of 48 students across all EYC schools and was held on weekends at the Aziza and Youth Schools.Continue reading by clicking here.

EYCycling Team Looking for Sponsors

EYC’s youth cycling program, “EYCycling” takes top placements at races and is looking for sponsors.

The EYC cycling team (EYCycling) is currently shopping for sponsors at all levels to allow its members to compete at races and pay for the cost of bike maintenance and gear.

The EYCycling team is the latest activity in EYC’s sports program. The team’s fifteen highly active members are students at the EYC schools and vividly display team work and sportsmanship during their weekly group rides and as participants at bike races across Cambodia.

While EYCycling’s objectives are to promote a healthy lifestyle and bike safety, reduce traffic congestion and noise/air pollution, the members’ competitive nature and thirst for achievement is evident in the twelve top-3 placements the team achieved in races during the first half of this year (in 4 categories). Continue reading by clicking here.

Community Garbage Clean-Up

EYC’s Community Organizing Committee raises awareness about how waste management affects their community and conducts a garbage clean-up in one of Phnom Penh’s “slums”.

EYC’s Development and Community Organizing Officer, Ms. Hem Nareth, successfully organized and lead the third garbage clean-up initiative at the “Building Community” in Phnom Penh; the run-down residential building blocks where the Aziza school is located.

This half-day program was divided into three parts:

1.       Creating awareness

2.       The physical clean-up

3.       Post-activity reflection

As part of ‘creating awareness’ the group focused on and illustrated three consequences of improper waste management to the community: The health risks to residents, their reputation/image as perceived by others, and how improving conditions can help stop forced evictions that may be looming.

Given some of the forced evictions and associated hardship experienced by multiple Phnom Penh communities in recent years, the last point resonated strongly with community residents when the community organizing group rallied people with megaphones. Hearing the carefully crafted messages, residents opened their doors and sent their children out to help, resulting in over 100 people joining the effort. Continue reading by clicking here.

New University Scholarships Needed

For EYC, summer means that there will be new graduating students at our community schools that will be ready to attend university, and they need your help.

Through the generosity of our donors we have been able to provide scholarships to some of our brightest and most promising students in past years. We would like to continue providing this assistance to help these young men and women start or continue university. The students we support can easily break and escape the vicious cycle of poverty via a postsecondary education, but we can’t do it without you.

The difference YOUR financial support makes is invaluable; not only in the life of an individual but also in how the gratitude is paid forward and consequently changes families and communities. As one EYC scholarship recipient told us, “My family is really poor…but I wanted to study at university so much…I got a scholarship from EYC to study at university! Now my family doesn’t need to support me and…I have gotten a job as a bookkeeper … so I can support myself and my family a little bit.”

Tuition and fees for an academic year as a freshman range from $400 to $600. If you would like to change the life of a young and ambitious person by making a financial contribution of any size to our scholarship fund, or if you would like to personally sponsor an individual student please contact Drew at [email protected]

New Staff Members

Ms. Teng Sokunthy, IT Manager

Kunthy joined EYC in late April as our IT Manager. In her role she is managing our four computer labs, 12 computer teachers (all EYC students or alumni) and building capacity related to technology “best practices” for all of our staff and team leaders.

Kunthy graduated from the Royal University of Phnom Penh with a degree in Computer Science and Engineering, and lives with her family in Takmao. In her free time Kunthy is learning to play the guitar through the Music Arts School (MAS). She also enjoys reading, running, and spending time with her family.

Mr. Sor Sophea

Sophea also joined our team in April as Job Training and Placement Coordinator. His prior work with PSE (Pour un Sourire d’Enfant) has helped him tremendously in establishing EYC’s Job Training and Placement Program and fostering relationships with Human Resources Managers at companies and organizations throughout Phnom Penh.

Sophea graduated from Build Bright University where he studied Business Administration. Sophea is married and has a 4 year old son. His experience is an excellent addition to our young team and we are looking forward to his out-of-the-box thinking and can-do attitude to grow and improve our programs.

Ms. Nov Synoeun

Synoeun joined the EYC team in April as our Youth Coordinator. In this position Syneoun contributes to a variety of activities such as development of a women’s group, advising our student team leaders, volunteer orientation, co-managing Aziza and Impact Schools, as well as teaching advanced level English two nights per week at the Impact School.

Synoeun is an EYC scholarship recipient and is about to finish her freshman year as a Communications and Media major at Pannassastra University. Her involvement with EYC dates back to 2006 when she was a student at Aziza. Her great command of English and leadership skills enabled her to become a team leader at Aziza, and after gaining experience through our partner ACE she has come back to work for EYC as staff.

We are pleased to have seen her grow over the last 6 years and expect she will go on to great things in her life.

Newsletter by Michael Kern, [email protected]



Copyright © 2012 Empowering Youth in Cambodia


Village Earth Welcomes 4 New Board Members

The staff and Board of Directors of Village Earth would like to welcome four new members to our Board. Below you can read a little more about the newest members of the Village Earth Family. Click here to see a complete listing of Village Earth’s Board of Directors.

Ronald Hall, J.D.

Ronald Hall is the Director of the Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) at Colorado State University.  He has served in that capacity since 1995.  While at the TTAP Ron helped coordinate the National Tribal Road Conference since 1998.  He has served on the Executive Board of the National Local Technical Assistance Program Association since 1997 and was the Executive Board’s Chairman for 2002.  Mr. Hall also played a key role in creating the Committee on Native American Transportation Issues in the Transportation Research Board, and has been the Chairman of that Committee from 2001‐2007.   In addition to administering the TTAP, he provides consulting services as a facilitator/mediator and legal services. Prior to his tenure at the TTAP, Ron practiced law in private practice for 11 years primarily as general counsel for tribal governments, corporations, and Native American owned businesses.

Lee Scharf, M.A., J.D.

Lee Scharf has worked as a mediator in community mediation, peer mediation in public school systems, court-ordered mediation within tribal, federal and community mediation contexts, has conducted large national facilitations and worked in environmental conflict resolution in all media. She has a Masters’ degree in Environmental Conflict Resolution and over twenty years’ experience as a mediator working with tribal nations. Ms. Scharf’s environmental conflict resolution taxonomy and annotated bibliography was published by the American Bar Association in 2002. She worked for the Environmental Protection Agency from 1991 until 2006, first in the Superfund Enforcement program and then in the Office of General Counsel in Washington, DC. From 2000 until 2006 Ms. Scharf was the National Tribal Mediation Lead for EPA through EPA’s Conflict and Prevention and Resolution Center. She is a Coordination Committee member of the Native Dispute Resolution program for the United States Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution. Ms Scharf is currently an Associate Fellow at Colorado State University’s Center for Collaborative Conservation in Fort Collins, Colorado, and is a member of the Executive Advisory Committee for this Center.

Ms Scharf lived on the Navajo Nation from 1956-1959 and this experience shaped her professional life and her view of the world. She has mediated with many tribal nations in the United States, and is currently working with the Northern Arapaho on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming and with traditional Navajo people living on Hopi Partitioned Lands in Arizona. Ms. Scharf is also leading a national project through Colorado State University to explore the use of dispute resolution practices within tribal governments as part of tribal self- determination efforts, knowing that each tribal world view is unique and valuable and that power and colonialism is always an issue when dispute resolution processes are used or proposed. Ms Scharf is the mother of three children and the grandmother of two. Lee teaches a course in Community-Driven Dispute Resolution.

George Stetson, Ph.D.

George received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Colorado State University, an M.A. in Political Science from the University of the Andes (Mérida, Venezuela), and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Arizona. George has worked as the Director of Educational Community Center at Fe y Alegría in Loma de los Maitines squatter village, Mérida, Venezuela, at the National Housing Council, and as a researcher at the University of the Andes (Regional Integration Group) on subjects such as poverty, social policy, and democracy. His areas of expertise include sustainable development, Latin American politics, participatory development methodologies in Venezuelan squatter villages, and grassroots ecosystem management. He has also worked extensively in the Peruvian Amazon looking at the politics of oil development. He also has taught short courses for a Ph.D. program for Trisakti University in Indonesia.

Jamie Way, M.A

Jamie received her M.A. in Political Science from Colorado State University. Her academic work focused on Latin America, international development, political theory and indigenous rights. She served as Village Earth’s training director from 2008-2012. She has also been involved with Village Earth’s work on the Pine Ridge Reservation and in the Peruvian Amazon. Her specialties include advocacy campaigns, strategic planning, issue framing and training for social justice. She currently serves as the New Media Specialist for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. She has also worked for Alliance for Global Justice, a Latin America solidarity organization.

Village Earth Contributes to Latest National Geographic on Lakota

Village Earth is proud to announce the release of the August 2012 of the edition of National Geographic magazine profiling culture, life, politics and history of the Pine Ridge Reservation. Village Earth is credited on the article for our contribution to the maps and fact checking for this edition. Titled, “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse: Rebirth of the Sioux Nation” includes photography by Aaron Huey who has also published his photos from his journeys on Pine Ridge in in the New York Times “Lens” blog. He later teamed up with artists Ernesto Yerena and Shepard Fairey (Fairey is best known for his iconic blue and red Obama posters) on a nationwide billboard campaign to raise awareness about the shameful legacy of America’s broken treaties with Native Americans. Village Earth was asked to participate on the project because of our decade long experience working on the Pine Ridge Reservation, in particular, our knowledge and experience working on land issues on the Reservation. Most recently, this work culminated into the launch of the Pine Ridge Land Information System an online resource based on open source mapping technology designed to assist Lakota land owners to access information about their lands. While the print edition should be on shelves in the coming weeks, National Geographic has launched pieces of it on its website. You can access articles, maps and resources not available in the print edition, including audio from a community storytelling project on Pine Ridge sponsored by NGS.

Three New Layers Added to Pine Ridge Land Information System

The Lakota Lands Recovery project is happy to announce the addition of three new layers to its Pine Ridge Land Information System. They are a layer with a three mile buffer around the major towns on Pine Ridge,  a layer of water quality data from wells tested by the USGS, and a map of the original ownership in the Badlands Bombing Range.  The Pine Ridge Land Information System (PRLIS) is a web-based land information system designed to assist members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe to access information about their lands and resources. The PRLIS was developed in partnership with the Oglala Sioux Tribe Land Office and made possible with support from the Indian Land Tenure Foundation. The new layers are part of the LLRP’s commitment to continually improving the PRLIS to be a resource for residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to assist them with land research and planning. Description of the three layers are below.

Badlands Bombing Range Ownership Map

This is layer with boundaries and original ownership of allotted lands located in the Badlands Bombing Range. Names of the original land owners are positioned inside each parcel when zoomed to a map scale of 1:54K  The following is an exert about the history of this land from a 2010 blog post on our site researched and written by Jamie Way.

“On July 20, 1942 the War Department advised the Commissioner of Indian Affairs that they would be taking over an area of 40×15 miles across the northern portion of the reservation. While a small portion of this land lay within what was then Badlands National Monument (337 acres), the vast majority of the land was located within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation ( The dispossession would impact some 125 Oglala families.  And while the dispossessed families were to be supplied with some relocation compensation, assistance and supplies, actual accounts vary as to how much the families received if any at all.

The displacement was messy and created a major crisis on the reservation. While officially, the families would have had 40 days to leave if they were given notice on the same day as the Bureau of Indian affairs (which seems not to be the case most of the time), most believed that they needed to evacuate almost immediately. In fact, archival data reveals that Mr. McDowell, an employee of the land acquisition division of the War Department, had stated that the War Department was taking  possession of the land and shooting was to start on August 1st (Roberts 7/7/42). This is even more shocking when you take into account that the Commissioner of Indian Affairs was given that they were to have well under two weeks (approximately ten days) to evacuate their land.

The new layer lists the names of the original owners of the different parcels in Badlands Bombing Range.

Until 1958, the land was utilized for bombing and gunnery practice by what was then the Army Air Force. Even past this date, the South Dakota National Guard retained a small portion of the land for training purposes. When they left, the land’s future was far from resolved. Moreover, they left behind them dangerous ordnance and never fully lived up to their responsibility of cleaning the land. To this day, unexploded ordnance can be found on the site.s only officially notified of the dispossession twelve days prior. Myrtle Gross, who was displaced during the event, reported that “the Farmer Office” sent a man to tell her to “[g]et out now because the Japs aren’t going to wait!” She said they were then given 30 days to leave, (Archives Search Report 1999, Interview 5).  Similarly, Ida Bullman recalls finding out about the evacuation after reading a poster that was displayed at the local store. The store owner told her, “Pack up and leave. They’re going to start shooting at you.” Thus, by the time the information reached the population the impression was given that they were to have well under two weeks (approximately ten days) to evacuate their land.

Until 1958, the land was utilized for bombing and gunnery practice by what was then the Army Air Force. Even past this date, the South Dakota National Guard retained a small portion of the land for training purposes. When they left, the land’s future was far from resolved. Moreover, they left behind them dangerous ordnance and never fully lived up to their responsibility of cleaning the land. To this day, unexploded ordnance can be found on the site.

Due to many families’ attachment to the land, Ellen Janis represented her neighbors’ interests and fought for reparations or the return of their land in a series of trips to D.C. to see public officials. During this time, Congressman Francis Case, who had lobbied for the bombing range, acknowledged that the evacuation had created an incredibly difficult situation for many of his constituents, admitting that “[t]he injustice that was done to the people of Pine Ridge is almost beyond comprehension” (Francis Case as represented in Nichols 1960). In 1968, Public Law 90-468 was finally passed, and lands declared excess by the Air Force were to be transferred to the Department of Interior. The law afforded those displaced (whether their land was held in trust or in fee) the possibility of repurchasing the land that had been taken from them if they filed an application with the Secretary of Interior to purchase the tract. This application needed to be filed within a one year window from the date a notice was published in the Federal Register that the tract had been transferred to the jurisdiction of the Secretary. Needless to say, the displaced were not properly notified of this option in many cases, in part due to their geographical dispersion. The law also stated that the original inhabitants that wished to repurchase their land were to pay the price the U.S. government had paid for the land, plus interest. Thus, those that decided to repurchase their land explained that they paid much higher prices for the land than they had originally been paid for it when the government confiscated it.”

Water Quality Data from Wells Tested by the USGS between 1992-1997

This layer uses water quality and well location data from a report published in 2000 by the USGS. According to the USGS:

“Discharge and water-quality data were collected during 1992-97 for 14 contact springs located in the northwestern part of the Reservation. Data were collected to evaluate potential alternative sources of water supply for the village of Red Shirt, which currently obtains water of marginal quality from a well completed in the Inyan Kara aquifer. During 1995-97, water-quality data also were collected for 44 public-supply wells that serve about one-half of the Reservation’s population. Quality-assurance sampling was used to evaluate the precision and accuracy of environmental samples.”

The layer positions an icon at the approximate location of each well tested in this study. Water quality data can be viewed for each well by clicking on the icon which will bring up a table with the Well ID Number used in the reportWell Location, Date it was Tested, Depth of the Well, Type of Water Source (well or spring) and the recorded levels of Uranium, Ecoli, All Bacteria, Arsenic, and the Contaminant of Concern for each well.

Clicking on the well opens a data table with information on the well and and the results of the USGS testing.

Below is a summary of the results from this testing from the USGS.

“Of the 44 public-supply wells sampled, 42 are completed in the Arikaree aquifer, one is completed in an alluvial aquifer, and one is completed in the Inyan Kara aquifer. Water from the alluvial well is a sodium bicarbonate water type, water from Arikaree aquifer ranges from calcium bicarbonate to sodium bicarbonate types, and water from the Inyan Kara well is a calcium sulfate bicarbonate type. Of the 44 wells sampled, 28 (64 percent) tested positive for indicator bacteria in presumptive tests. Because these were single samples that generally were collected upstream from chemical treatment feeders, positive detections do not necessarily constitute exceedances of drinking-water standards.

A single sample from an Arikaree well exceeded the MCL for arsenic of 50 µg/L. Arsenic exceeded 10 µg/L for six additional Arikaree wells and for the alluvial well and the Inyan Kara well, which could be problematic if the current MCL is lowered. The alluvial well also exceeded the secondary maximum contaminant level (SMCL) for dissolved solids, which is non-enforceable, and the action level for lead. The Inyan Kara well exceeded the SMCL’s for iron and for manganese and the MCL of 5 pCi/L for radium-226 and 228 combined. Several Arikaree wells exceeded SMCL’s for either pH, sulfate, dissolved solids, iron, or manganese. One Arikaree well exceeded the MCL of 4.0 mg/L for fluoride and another exceeded the MCL of 10 mg/L for nitrite plus nitrate.

Ten Arikaree wells equalled or exceeded 15 pCi/L for gross alpha; however, these values do not necessarily constitute exceedances of the MCL, which excludes radioactivity contributed by uranium and radon. Additional sampling using different analysis techniques would be needed to conclusively determine if any samples exceeded this MCL.

Eight wells, all from the Arikaree aquifer, equalled or exceeded the proposed MCL of 20 µg/L for uranium and 33 wells (75 percent) equalled or exceeded one-half of the proposed MCL. Although this standard has only been proposed, additional information regarding the extent of elevated uranium concentrations in the Arikaree aquifer, and the geochemical processes involved, may be beneficial. It was determined from analyses of uranium isotope data for five wells that the source of elevated uranium concentrations is naturally occurring, rather than anthropogenic.”

 3-Mile Growth Buffer Around the Major Towns on the Reservation

Layer with 3-mile buffer around the major villages on Pine Ridge. Used for determining the availability of Tribal lands for consolidation.

This layer displays a green 3-mile buffer around the center point of each of the largest towns on the Pine Ridge Reservation. This layer is important for people interested in exchanging their undivided lands for a contiguous tract of tribal lands, a opportunity made possible by Oglala Sioux Tribe Resolution 77-11.  Tribal Ordinance 85-17 lists the criteria for “set-asides” which include:

  1. Lands surrounding the townsite of Pine Ridge and the established villages within a radius of 3 miles of such settlements.
  2. Commercial and industrial areas
  3. Park and Recreation Areas
  4. Historical and Religious Sites
  5. Archaeological Sites
  6. Potential tourist attractions sites
  7. Timber reserve lands
  8. Class 1 & 2 farmlands
  9. Large consolidated tracts.

To view this layer turn it on by clicking on the “check-box” in the layers menu at the left-hand side of the screen. The layer only appears at the 1:55K map scale so you’ll need to zoom in from the default map scale. You can adjust it’s transparency by clicking on the layer’s label and adjusting the “transparency slider control.”

The Pine Ridge Land Information System can be accessed at

For more information about these layers or to suggest other layers to add to the PRLIS, please contact David Bartecchi or 970-237-3002 Ext. 504