Bright Futures Education Fund
"Poverty is not just a lack of money; it is not having the capability to realise one's full potential as a human being" - Amartyr Sen
We view investment into higher education as a fundamental driver of poverty alleviation. Improving access to higher education has a significant impact on earning potential and job attainment but more than this, it increases the substantive freedoms and capabilities that enable poor individuals to flourish (1).
Without a government support system in place like in many developed countries, the high costs of university tuition block all but a wealthy minority of Cambodians from attaining a higher education.
Our Bright Futures Education Fund is a scholarship program that invests in bright high school students facing serious financial hardship. Students are funded to complete an undergraduate bachelor's degree at a local institution. Once they earn a decent job and a minimum standard salary, they pay back 25% of their course fees in monthly installments to fund a next round of students.
This 'pay it forward' system is an income-contingent loan scheme that allows multiple cohorts of students to graduate using a single upfront capital investment. The Bodia Group does not profit whatsoever; it raises the money, sponsors the students and keeps up the cyclical, sustainable financing model.
Some Scholarship Recipients
This is Hong Sokphea, she is a 25 year old young woman who lost both her parents at a very young age. We met her as she finished high school and was sheltered by a local care organisation.
Sokphea has finished a degree in nursing from Punithastra University and is now studying a degree in Midwifery at Chenla University. She is aspiring to open a clinic in her home province to support rural women with maternity health care.
This is Vannarith Sineak, a 20 year old young man studying a degree in engineering at Preah Kossomak Polytechnic Institute (PPI).
Vannarith's parents sent him to the capital city to be educated as their farming wages could not support a family. After finishing high school, our education fund has helped him to get to university.
This is Sokchea Vong, a 20 year old learning to cook at a culinary trade school in Phnom Penh.
He anticipates opening a restaurant as a result of his bright futures scholarship.
(1) Amartyr Sen (2009), Development as Freedom.
(2) John Humphreys (2016), Education in Cambodia: Rate of Return and Personal Equity Finance. PhD Thesis, UQ School of Economics.