Conversations with Foreigners bid farewell to its leader on Sunday 28th, as Sambo moves on to bigger and better things. Since 2006, Sambos vision has guided CWF from humble beginnings to become an organization well known and respected for its quality English classes, commitment to development and social responsibility, and incredible experience for foreign teachers. The CWF family got together to toast Sambo for his achievements and his amazing contribution to Cambodia, and celebrate as both Sambo and CWF embark on exciting new journeys.
CWF was founded with a US$5000 grant from the AusAID VIDAUS programme, and a US$5000 personal loan from Geordie Smith. Sambo became the first Operations Manager of CWF in July of 2006, before he had even graduated from Maharishi Vedic University (MVU) in Prey Veng province, a rural government university where CRDT began, and where Geordie, members of the Board, and a number of CWF staff also attended.
In September 2006, the first classes began at CWF with 180 students enrolled. By 2008 CWF boasted over 500 students, and had begun to make its first donations to CRDT. In September, 2 years after classes began, CWF reached another milestone when Geordie departed and CWF became entirely Cambodian managed.
Sambo continued to lead CWF to success, moving to larger premises on st. 271 in 2009 where we still operate. In 2014 CWF opened a second Teachers House and in December, Sambos final semester, we broke our record by enrolling over 1000 students.
With CWFs future secure, Sambo is now heading up an exciting new project bridging the gap between university and the office. An unfortunate truth is that many graduates of Cambodian universities are not ready for the workplace; Sambos new venture will bring his expertise to bear upon this issue, training new hires in the technical and practical skills to prepare them for the modern workplace.
With the ASEAN integration around the corner, demand for workplace skills is rocketing. Cambodia has an opportunity to provide its neighbours with a cheaper workforce, provided it can supply the skills required. The other side of the coin is that if those skills cannot be found locally, Cambodians could lose jobs to qualified migrants from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Sambo is positioning himself to fill this demand as CEO of the Quality Career Institute of Cambodia.
CWF is also entering a new phase, faced with new challenges as we reach maturity and looks for opportunities to grow. Where once student numbers were limited only by how many teachers could be recruited, growing competition has lead us to explore new student marketing initiatives and product offerings. Last semester we trialled 5 week grammar classes, a runaway success, and this semester we have opened 90 minute classes during previously unoccupied times. Davids Cambodia-centric curriculum continues to develop, and our new formalized internship programme attracts more qualified and committed teachers and partners. The team is eager to be let loose upon the challenges and opportunities the coming months will bring.
Ty Rithya will be stepping in as Operations Manager. Prior to joining CWF, Rithya was a Program Manager of English-based law degree program of the Royal University of Economics and Laws. On the academic side, Rithya was a scholar of the South Korea’s scholarship program and he was awarded Master Degree of Laws (LLM) from Transnational Law and Business University of South Korea. He also holds two Bachelor Degrees, Business Management from University of Cambodia and Law Degree from Royal University of Economics and Laws. He sees a lot of potential in CWF, and has many ideas for meeting and expanding that potential. He is excited to be working with us, as are we to have him on board!
On behalf of Conversations With Foreigners staff, board members, teachers past and present, and all stakeholders, I’d like to express our gratitude to Sambo for all he has done for CWF. We’re sorry to see him go, and wish him the very best with his new venture, which we know is going to be a roaring success!