Aspire School & Orphanage, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Welcome to ASPIRE school

We are currently in desperate need of any help we can get after being hit really hard by COVID-19, as it has meant we've lost most of our volunteers and sponsors. We are currently behind on payments for our credit/loans and fear that we might lose our property if we do not fulfill these payments. If you are interested in volunteering, please do not hesistate to contact us. If you are unable to volunteer, monetary donations are desperately needed and would be extremely invaluable to the school.


ASPIRE Training & Education is a school and home for the poor, homeless and orphaned, located in Siem Reap province, Cambodia. The Aspire school was established in 2012 and is a registered as a non-governmental, non-profitable school. It has been growing and gaining structure since then solely through generous and precious donations. At the Aspire school, we believe everyone is equal and each person is worthy of the chance of having a better life. The purpose of our program is to give vulnerable children the opportunity to thrive, by uplifting and assisting them in all their efforts. We focus on the education of crucial skills for giving future young adults an advantage for their future career, such as English. Additionally, it contributes with key values through art & craft, music, and environmental activities. Other than providing education, ASPIRE Training & Education is also home for homeless and orphan children.

The idea with this project is that it becomes sustained with the daily contribution of volunteers, which may stay from one to several weeks. Volunteers that come to Aspire have the chance to learn more about our children through education and play and have the chance to support this long-lasting project. If you look at our photo section, you will see the various activities that the children enjoy, such as traditional Khmer dance, music, and art & craft. These activities are enabled by the jointly work from our voluntary teachers and many generous visitors, many of whom have given their time and resources, enriching the opportunities that we offer to our children.

Being a non-profitable school, Aspire relies financially on donations. A donation of any amount has great impact in supporting the maintenance of our school, as it pays for food, electricity, and all the necessary basic needs of the children – you can find a table at the end of this page containing information regarding our accountability. We are very grateful for all the past volunteers and sponsors for their generous efforts on behalf of our children. Every adult who has worked here has done so as a volunteer. No salaries were paid to anyone, but everyone who works here has received comfortable lodging and plenty of food. Adults and children share the same basic but healthy lifestyle, and all enjoy to the same traditional and nutritious meals together.



 Mr. Sean Samnang was the founder who dreamed of opening a school to help educate the children in Siem Reap. On 14th November of 2012, he started building ASPIRE Training and Education School (case number 3385), which was growing in capacity through the years before it was held back by the global pandemic in 2020. Currently (July of 2023), Aspire is a school for the total of 47 children; 20 children from a neighboring village that attend school and 27 children who live here. However, now more than ever the children of Aspire depend on the generosity and compassion of passing tourists and volunteers to provide their daily food, clothing, school expenses and all other basic needs.

Sean and his wife Borie have four children, sixteen-year-old David; eleven-year-old Alisa; eight-year-old Sophie; and their youngest six-year-old Roland. They live with their extended Aspire family on the site at Trang Village. Sean has previously helped five ex-students into the work force and wishes to continue doing so for all children under his care.





The students of Aspire school all come from backgrounds of extreme poverty and deprivation. Their ages range between 5-16 years old. The weekly schedule runs for five days (20 hours per week) from Monday to Friday in the morning (8:00 AM - 10:00 AM) and in the afternoon (2:00 PM - 4:00 PM).

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM English     English English Khmer Traditional Dancing  Arts & Crafts
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM English English English Khmer Traditional Dancing  Arts & Crafts

At Aspire, lessons are divided by classes. Depending on the time of the day that children go to government school, they attend classes at Aspire in the first or in the second half of the day.


Our Founder and his vision:

Mr. Sean Samnang is a local Cambodian, who was born in 1980 and grew up in a very poor family, working on a farm to pay his way through secondary school and university. He also worked for seven months in a tailoring factory for ten to thirteen hours a day just to complete his education. Receiving help and encouragement from a sponsor in Thailand, he moved to Phnom Penh where he worked for a charitable organization on a voluntary basis, where he received his board and lodging. Voluntary work in return for board and lodging is still a common practice in Cambodia today, and so all members of staff at Aspire are local volunteers. Since he himself had received help when he most needed it, Sean wanted to be able to provide help and opportunities for others. He created an orphanage since 2009 is named Cambodia Orphan Save Organization (formerly COSO). 

As a local Cambodian, he recognized the urgent need to help the many destitute and orphaned children living in his country. This situation was brought about because Cambodia’s education and health care systems were completely destroyed during the Khmer Rouge Genocide and Cambodia has been unable to make significant gains in rebuilding it due to the subsequent two decades long civil war. Now corruption is rampant, and Cambodia’s education and health care systems remain in shambles. Siem Reap itself is one of the poorest areas in Cambodia. Aspire is also a home where we provide 24 hours care for 27 children, supporting them with three meals a day, shelter, education and protection. As children from poor families and orphanages, some had never had this safety and security before. However, we currently have no sponsorships, making the provision of these things difficult. We are currently fully reliant on visitors to offer assistance at Aspire and help in whatever they can.



ASPIRE Training & Education includes Aspire Home Stay is a guesthouse for volunteers to stay at whilst they work with us. The funds earned from this will support the Aspire project and community (food, electricity bills and staff's wage). Aspire Home Stay has 20 rooms (equipped with air-conditioner or fan), capable of hosting 50 people, each room has its own toilet and shower. It also includes balconies, sitting areas, meeting room and top roof to see sunrise & sunset, the located 5 km from Siem Reap, 15 minutes away from the city center by tuk-tuk. Volunteers are provided bedding, mattress, blanket, towel and pillow. From each volunteer is required a contribution of 25 USD per day that will cover accommodation, food, and will help to sustain the school. Aspire Home Stay is a safe place, meant for living as a family, with delicious food three meals a day (breakfast & hot coffee, lunch and dinner).

In order to pay for such a project, Aspire had to take out a substantial loan of just over $64,000 in 2021 and shortly after, we were in a global pandemic. Times were hard enough as it was, but now, as we begin to rebuild ourselves in the aftermath of COVID, we must begin to pay off this large loan, which debit has increased to $80,000 in 2023 due to interests. As it stands, we must pay $1,065 a month until 2033. This is just another reason why we must depend on the generosity of donations, and why we encourage you to sponsor or volunteer. We encourage you to note the table below with the monthly expenses from our school. If you visit us, you will be able to see for yourself where your money goes and enjoy the amazing facilities we provide for our volunteers as well as our students!


Monthly expenses from ASPIRE Training & Education school !


Nature USD / Month
 Loan $ 1,065 US
 Electricity $ 350 US
 Fixed teacher  $ 150 US
$ 1,085 US
 Outside expense for kids 1 $ 450 / month (15 USD/day)
 Petrol for tuk-tuk transportation the children to school and market
$ 75 / month (2.5 USD/day)
 Driver 2  $ 100 UD
 Gas for cooking  $ 50 US
 School supply 3 $ 113/ month (1,350 USD/year for 27 kids)
 Internet  $ 25 US
 Health expenses  $ 100 US
 Admin material  $ 50 US
 Travel expenses (administration) 4 $ 41 / month (500 USD/year)
TOTAL $ 3,604 USD / Month


1 Snack for all the hosted kids when they go to government school.
2 Driver for transporting kids from the village to Aspire, and to reach the city market to buy food.
3 Yearly renew of school supplies comprises 50 USD per student each year; this includes school uniform, notebooks, backpack etc.
4 School administrator is required to participate in meet with government officials at the capital a couple of times during the year.


Additional costs may be from excursion day for the kids to the lake, in the form of petrol and snacks; but this one is only manageable when there are extra funds available.

Despite of its current expenses, after consolidating a strong base of regular volunteers, Aspire prospects to increase the number of visiting students from poor rural villages in the neighborhood; which is of considerable importance in order for them to escape poverty. This means to hire additional fixed teachers for English and Informatics, and to increase transportation costs in the future.


We also believe in preserving the Khmer culture. Therefore, we teach the children traditional Khmer dances and Khmer musical instruments. Our staff is trained in good childcare practice and management skills. We aim to educate the children both socially and academically to take up a constructive place in Khmer society when they are adults. This includes the encouragement of our children to embrace local Khmer customs, including dance and music, so that this knowledge is not lost in future generations. Therefore, we have organized a traditional Khmer dance performance for visitors or tour group for watching. The performance includes dancing, playing musical instruments and singing by the children of Aspire. If you are interested, please book at least a day before visiting us and we can arrange this for you!  


With our persistence and financial management skills, we have worked hard to create this school to help our children in Cambodia. We have built a school for Khmer & English lesson, arts & craft, a guesthouse for volunteers or guests to stay in, a Peter Pan’s restaurant, a library, a hall for traditional Khmer dancing and music instrument, a chicken coop, a vegetable garden and more. Before COVID, we recruited 35 students from the community to study at Aspire for free and aim to recreate this as soon as possible. We aim to be big enough to eventually teach up to 300 students! then we can continue to spread knowledge of Khmer, English, computer skills, traditional Khmer dancing and musical instruments, growing of tree fruits, vegetable gardening and raising chicken & fish to the children of Cambodia.

On 13th Nov, 2012, we received $US 18, 187.64 US dollars for land. All donations from dealers of Subaru Uk as Mervyn Jill Wills, Bobby & Aline Bell, Ben & Rachel Shimmin, Richard Cole & Sarah Cole, Tony & Paula Slack, Andrew & Michelle McGlone, Mark

The donation from The Leap in UK !

Thank you so much for Rochelle Bold and family are making the donations $1,776 US every year for support the children of ASPIRE. This donations are very important for running cost of orphanage, the money payment on 01st August, 2015 until 01st August, 2016.

On 8th February 2015, Mr. Peter Macdonald came to visit us again. He was so happy to see what I built a kitchen for the children and he will be more help for school project. Thank you so much for his appreciation.

It is very lovely kids of Aspire School, today on 26th of June, 2015, Lorna & Susan, the volunteers of Aspire to make a party for our children, after they are finished the volunteer work.