ISPP, philanthropy… and you!

ISPP students
ISPP students, faculty, staff and the broader community are all embodying our guiding statements – striving to effect positive change, being responsible global citizens, and each of us making a difference.

ISPP was founded in 1989 by a small group of families whose work with NGOs brought them to Cambodia to help the country recover from the effects of civil and Indo-China wars. This is a well-known anecdote from our school’s history, but there are many other ways that our ISPP community continues to positively contribute to this amazing country.

A belief in supporting Cambodian people in need and commitment to helping others generally has remained a common thread, woven throughout our school’s story over the decades. Our guiding statements reflect our belief in international mindedness and positive change, and our students are enthusiastic and active participants in service-learning programs across both the Elementary and Secondary schools. These programs inspire many student-driven projects that benefit others, some of which are supported by our Action Bank, which provides seed funding to get them started on their philanthropic activities.

As a school, we foster a wide range of partnerships with local NGOs and charitable organisations, including a long-term relationship with the Cambodian Teacher Training Project (CTTP) in Takhmao, which supports the training of public school teachers. We also undertook a major crowdfunding campaign for the CTTP in 2018, raising $120,000 to make structural refurbishment to the dormitory residence of the student teachers.

The Cambodia Teacher Training Project (CTTP)

One of the most remarkable contributions that ISPP has made to the Phnom Penh community is the creation of our host country scholarship programme. While a selective, limited scholarship scheme was already in place, it was replaced by a new, innovative program, designed specifically to support those students who would most benefit from the highest quality, international education on offer in Cambodia.

The program officially began in 2018, with the selection of six students to join us in Grade 6 in August that year. These students are from some of the poorest families in Phnom Penh, and they continue to live and study in their communities in Steung Meanchey. Working with our partner organisation, the Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF), as well as others who serve similar communities, we have since reached further to select 10 more students to join us – we now have 16 children studying under the program in Grade 6 through to Grade 9.

There are very few scholarship programs in this region with the scope for such significant impact. The education that these children receive will enable them to lift their entire families from poverty in the future. We have a strong framework in place to continue supporting them through to graduation and beyond, and enable them to reach their fullest potential.

Initially approved to admit a maximum of 20 students, last academic year the ISPP Board of Trustees confirmed its ongoing commitment to this program. It unanimously approved the enrollment of new scholarship students into Grade 6 each year into the future, so that over time, around 5% of students in each Secondary grade will be supported by the program. This equates to 18-24 students across the Secondary school by the time our first cohort reaches its graduating year, the Class of 2025.

The ISPP Board has also approved an important financial mechanism to underwrite this and other philanthropic projects at our school. ISPP is a not-for-profit school and we do not need to pay owners or shareholders. All of our revenues are reinvested in our school and its programs, and from this year, this means all applicants and new families to ISPP will play an important role in improving the lives of others.

All application fees and entrance fees are now allocated to a special fund to support philanthropy in the Cambodian community. These fees are paid only once per student, and the designation of these funds for positive purposes does not impact the ongoing, annual fee revenue of the school. This investment in our host country scholarships provides rewards in many different ways. In addition to transforming the lives of our scholarship students and their families, all of our students, staff and our broader school community are already appreciating and learning from the furthering of socio-economic diversity at our school.

This is an exciting and inspiring move, which will enable ISPP to continue developing its important partnerships within Cambodia. It demonstrates to our students, faculty and staff and the broader community that we are all embodying our guiding statements – striving to effect positive change, being responsible global citizens, and each of us making a difference.

ISPP empowers students, in a caring, inclusive international environment, to achieve their potential by pursuing personal and academic excellence, and to grow as responsible global citizens who celebrate diversity.

Learning together, growing together, each making a difference.

Students develop their curiosity about the world, extend their understanding and appreciation of shared values, cultural differences and equity, while striving to effect positive change.

Through community service initiatives, the International School of Phnom Penh aims to develop caring, principled and responsible young global citizens. Community service projects at ISPP build relationships between the school community and local communities in need. By engaging in active service our young people are empowered to become informed, purposeful and active citizens who effect meaningful change.

Lindy Leonhardt | Communications and Marketing Manager | Head of Admissions


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ISPP – International School of Phnom Penh