I am Amanda Prak Sam, Founder and CEO of H.O.P.E, and I am a Khmer Rouge Survivor.
Years later, I got my second chance at living a good life in a new country and for this I am eternally grateful.
But I am continually reminded of the sufferings of the Cambodian people who lack the simple things I now take for granted: food, shelter, clothing, clean water, schools, and medicine. Knowing myself what it is like to be scared and hungry, I have a strong passion to give back.
In 2019 I founded H.O.P.E. as a non profit organization with a mission to educate impoverished children in Cambodia. With your help, Helping Others Pursue Education will bring aid, education and inspiration to many more in dire need of our help by ensuring the community itself gains the skills necessary to build on its own success.
In July 1979, my family and I had to flee my hometown in Cambodia to avoid the Khmer Rouge genocide where 2.5 million people out of the population of 8 million, were killed or died from starvation and disease. We walked for days with nothing but a small sack with clothing, a sleeping mat, a couple of blankets, a net, a shovel, a water bucket, and very little food. Our journey through the jungle was filled with danger. We drank water with human bodies floating in it, ate food that was spoiled, and walked through rice paddies and grassy land infested with land mines and booby traps. We were even separated from each other and it was not until we reached Thailand that our family was reunited in a refugee camp. However during the journey I lost 2 siblings to starvation and one brother was imprisoned for 7 years.
In April 2006, I made my first emergency relief mission to Cambodia with $1,700 in donations from family and friends. With this small amount of money, I bought locally produced rice, soy sauce, fish sauce, and noodles to help 110 families. You cannot imagine the gratitude I received from the Cambodian poor, elderly, children and handicapped who accepted our help. I knew that I had to return and do more. The following year I was able to raise $3,800 and help even more families. From these first experiences, I learned what could be accomplished in a short time period with limited resources. Did you know that a 100 pound sack of rice could sustain a family of four for a month?
With the help of friends, and an uncontrollable passion to do more, I established a non-profit 501(c)3 organization to deliver a sustainable program for the Cambodian poor, to educate them and provide hope for self-sufficiency in the future. My dream is to rebuild a school in a very rural part of Cambodia where I was born and where my father taught before we had to flee due to the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge. Much progress has been made but there is still much to do.
Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and fund our mission. Even a donation of $20 can have a big impact on helping the children!
We have made much progress but there is still much more work to accomplish. We need to build 3 more six classroom buildings, add a library, additional bathrooms, computers, and the list goes on and on.