Financial Backing for Partnership Success

Phase I would not have been possible without the financial and personal contributions of a large number of individuals in the U.S. and support from the UW International Programs and Exchange and Graduate School.

Cambodia will receive close to $1 billion in foreign aid in 2009 yet few donors are focused on rebuilding higher education institutions. Throughout Phase I, attempts were made to identify an international donor involved with Cambodia who would support our efforts. While a multitude of organizations such as USAID, the Asia Foundation, UNICEF and the German Technical Cooperation were enthusiastic about the aims of the Partnership and provided letters of support, in the end, none provided any financial backing.

Close to half a million dollars was needed for tuition and fee support, housing, food, books, airfare, bus fare, and medical insurance for the 5 students. Incredibly over 190 individuals made either a one time donation or multiple over the three year endeavor.

One family in particular recognized the value of the partnership and stepped in to provide significant matching funds in Y2 and Y3. We thank the Del Rio family, specifically Nelson, Suzanne, and Nelson Jr. for stepping forward and financially helping us achieve Phase 1. In addition to the Del Rio Family Foundation and the UW IPE office and Graduate School, we graciously thank the following individuals or organizations who made a generous donation over $1,000. Their support was crucial to Phase 1 (listed alphabetically).


Anne LoGerfo
Basil Stamos
Boyleston Charity
Dorothy Van Soest
Emerald City Rotary Club
First Presbyterian of Bellevue
Golie G. Jansen
Jim & Marianne LoGerfo
John & Penelope Meisel
Martha & George Moyer

Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic
Mercer Island Presbyterian
Mercer Island Rotary Club
Nathan Yoffa & Tracy Harachi
Sihanoukville Sister City Association
Suzanne B. Kellett
United Cambodia Development Association
Verena & Ken Wilson
Pakun & Measy Sin
Seattle International Rotary Club

RUPP Partnership Volunteer Workgroup

The adage “it takes a village to raise a child” can be applied to the success of Phase I.

While each RUPP student was admitted into the MSW program on their own merit and qualifications, their experience with Cambodian schooling didn't quite prepare them for the volume of reading and writing required for graduate school in the U.S.

Each RUPP student was linked with one or more tutors who helped them develop stronger reading and writing skills.

Additionally, RUPP Workgroup volunteers opened their homes and hearts to provide support to these students who were away from their family and friends.   Among a variety of activities, the students experienced a Super Bowl party, went camping, and enjoyed a family Thanksgiving meal.  Meeting for coffee and getting a pep talk was worth a million.  

Our workgroup volunteers helped with fundraising, the annual Open House, and graduation celebrations.

There is no way we can sufficiently thank our volunteers for being so considerate and giving of their time.  Big thanks to all (listed alphabetically).


Aileen Duldulao
Alma Trinidad
Amelia Derr
Diane Arnold
Dori Cahn
Ed Lorah
Hye-Kyong Jeong
Jee Young Kim
Jerry Kessinger
Kathy Morefield
Katie Gienapp
Kevin Kawamoto
Lynn Heller
Margaret Spearmon
Marianne LoGerfo
Measy Sin
Melyssa Tsai
Molly Daggett
Nathan Yoffa
Pakun Sin
Patti Gorman
Sarah Frey
Stan de Mello
Tom Hulscher

First Class of Social Work Students in Cambodia Finish Their Freshman Year

First year students

With faculty educated at the UW SSW, a new Department of Social Work at the Royal University of Phnom Phen (RUPP) welcomed its first cohort of students this fall. It is the only program of its kind in Cambodia. Associate Professor Tracy Harachi has coordinated our School's partnership with RUPP since it began in 2004.

The overwhelming need for social workers in Cambodia is well documented. Trauma from the country's recent history of violence is only one of many needs that social workers can help to address. Preparing more people to enter the profession is critical.

This need prompted the Royal University of Phnom Penh to request assistance from the University of Washington School of Social Work to establish the partnership and create the first college-level social work program in Cambodia. The partnership provided a graduate-level education to students from Cambodia that prepared them for faculty positions at RUPP's new social work department.

The SW Department moves now into its second year of operation with 8 local Cambodian faculty members and will soon be enrolling its second class of freshman students.

2nd Cohort Thrilled to Graduate with Their MSWs

RUPP MSW students

Students Bora Chun, Kanika Ung, Nika Nguon, and Lo Leang were excited to participate in the School of Social Work graduation ceremony. Many people attended the RUPP celebration after the School ceremony and it was exciting to see the large number of people whose lives have been touched by the RUPP cohorts. It's been a challenging two years in Seattle with lots of assignments, record breaking snow conditions, and missing the birth of a new daughter in Cambodia for one of the students, but they have survived and will join Dalin Meng as faculty at the new SW Department.



7 BASW Students Travel to Cambodia for Spring Quarter Practicum Opportunities

BASW students

Seven seniors from the Bachelor's of Social Work program traveled at the end of March to begin their month long practicum placements in Cambodia. Agency sites include the Cambodia Confederation of Apparel Worker Democratic Unions, Lutheran World Federation, Help Cambodia, and the Shalom School. Students will learn about workers rights within the garment industry, rights based community organizing in villages, and the life circumstances of Vietnamese living in Cambodia. Stay posted for updates from the students.

"I'm enjoying my time here more than I could have ever imagined, The people I am working with have been truly kind and welcoming. I feel as though I have stumbled upon a completely different way of living life and don't know if I will ever be ever to look at mine the same way again." Emily Bandy.

Partnership Supported by Local Cambodian Organization

United Cambodian organization

The RUPP Partnership recently received an award from the United Cambodian Development Association (UCDA) in acknowledgement of initiation of the new Social Work Department in Cambodia that opened in Fall 2008.


Students Participating in the December Study Abroad Program


Students participating in the December study abroad program, "After the Genocide: Rebuilding a Civil Society," said that they learned a tremendous amount about Cambodia, challenges facing a developing country, the impact of U.S. foreign policies, and perhaps most importantly, about themselves.


UW/RUPP Partnership 2008 Open House

Broa Chun

The 3rd Annual Fall Open House has become a celebration that brings together members of the local Khmer community, other supporters of the RUPP Partnership, and of course, the scholarship students.

New Department of Social Work Opens in Cambodia

RUPP sign

UW Social Work alums, Dalin Meng, MSW '08 and Len Montiel, MSW '08 taught the two foundation courses (academic year 2008-09) to the Department's first students along with assistant instructors Sineng Sil, MA, and Phaneth Sok, MSc.