TASSEL is a non-profit organization focused on changing the lives of rural Cambodians through English education; the creation of teaching jobs; food and medicine aid; and sponsorships.
Although once a dominant regional empire for more than 600 years, Cambodia still has not recovered from the the trauma brought on by the Khmer Rouge, a brutal regime that took hold over Cambodia during 1970s. Ninety percent of teachers and doctors were killed during that time. Although socioeconomic progress is being made, Cambodia remains one the of the poorest nations in the world. A key bottleneck in this country is the lack of schools and teachers and the ability for students to learn English. Universities depend on English language textbooks but most cannot fully comprehend them. Providing free English education to children in rural areas allows them to access higher education and lift Cambodia out of poverty. TASSEL also provides food and medical aid to the poorest children and families with no wage-earning members. The organization is built on a foundation of service and community, impacting the hearts of students, teachers, villagers and volunteers alike.
Why We're Here
The current situation of Cambodia is one of extreme physical poverty. Cambodia's GNI per capita is among the lowest in the world and 46% of its population is considered "multi-dimensionally poor." Furthermore, there is much psychological trauma due to the Khmer-Rouge genocide as well as continual daily stress arising from illnesses, deaths, lack of access to medicine and education, widespread government corruption and physical poverty.
It is well documented that there is a direct correlation between education and a nation's socio-economic development. Cambodia is making progress in building schools in an attempt to make a comeback from the post-Khmer-Rouge era when 90% of all teachers were killed. However, a critical bottleneck in the Cambodian education system is the lack of English teachers. English is a fundamental building block in Cambodia's education system as high-level textbooks in all disciplines are still not available in Khmer. While there are English programs in the urban areas, in most rural communities (where 80% of Cambodians live) English programs (or at least quality English programs) are non-existent. Furthermore, English is also needed to attract business investments and international aid.
In order to help rural Cambodians receive high-level education, TASSEL provides free, high-quality English classes in rural Cambodian villages.
English education will help Cambodia break its chain of poverty. However, even more urgent than education, for many, is food, medicine, and clothes. While we are hopeful that many rural development programs, micro-finance institutions and other governmental and NGO programs will eventually help these families become self-sufficient, there are many that cannot wait -- their food and medicine needs must be met today by direct provision. Many do not have any caretakers; many children and elderly are abandoned. TASSEL selects those who truly are in an emergency situation and the local teachers personally deliver food and medicine during their off-hours.
TASSEL puts utmost emphasis on serving from the heart. Many Cambodians suffer from severe anxiety and depression. But hearts do get transformed by compassion.
TASSEL mainly focuses on the recruitment of high school and university students to volunteer for online classroom teaching positions. This is because TASSEL knows that youths can greatly touch children in a way adults can't. As well, TASSEL understands that youths will be leading the future of humanitarianism. However, participation by adults (parents, teachers and more) is equally important as they have unique ways of sharing their particular gifts.