Meet Our Team

Our staff is group of passionate locals, both self-taught and trained teachers, who are dedicated to addressing the needs of Samart School and the hundreds of children we educate.

Mr. Song Samart

Founder and Director

SongSong Samart was born in 1989 at a time of extreme poverty for the majority of Cambodians, who were just beginning the long road to rebuild their lives after the Khmer Rouge. Song lost his Father to illness when he was just 5 months old and his Mother, who was severely malnourished, relied on the support of other breast-feeding women in the village for Song’s care
Song is the youngest of seven children, but grew up living only with his Mother, one brother and three sisters in a small 4 x 3 meter traditional hut in Kok Srok Village. Sadly, one brother who was forced to join the Khmer Rouge, died as a soldier and one sister died from illness at a young age. With several children, no Father and very little family income, life was a daily struggle. Song spent his days as a child, tending to cows and helping in other ways on the farm.

Mr. Song Samart

Founder and Director

SongSong Samart was born in 1989 at a time of extreme poverty for the majority of Cambodians, who were just beginning the long road to rebuild their lives after the Khmer Rouge. Song lost his Father to illness when he was just 5 months old and his Mother, who was severely malnourished, relied on the support of other breast-feeding women in the village for Song’s care
Song is the youngest of seven children, but grew up living only with his Mother, one brother and three sisters in a small 4 x 3 meter traditional hut in Kok Srok Village. Sadly, one brother who was forced to join the Khmer Rouge, died as a soldier and one sister died from illness at a young age. With several children, no Father and very little family income, life was a daily struggle. Song spent his days as a child, tending to cows and helping in
other ways on the farm. Despite the hardship, Song was passionately curious and eager to learn, so he would often ask his mother if he could attend school. At the time, there wasn’t extra money for education and the answer was always a reluctant ‘no’. At the age of 12, Song convinced his Mother to allow him to go away to live in the Pagoda where he became a Novice Monk. It was here, inside the Bakong Temple, that he received a free education in Khmer, Buddhist Theology & Morality as well learning many life lessons. At the age of 21 he was given the opportunity to learn English, both informally from tourists visiting the temple and by attending English classes run by a fellow Monk. Song loved communicating with foreigners and he was extremely dedicated to learning, even memorising new words daily, from the list he had written on the back of his toilet door. As a result, his English skills improved quickly and not long after, he began teaching English to the younger monks.

Song’s understanding and awareness of the needs in his community evolved after he became a volunteer for a well-known organization – Save the Children in 2010. For 3 years, Song regularly visited families who were affected by issues such as domestic violence and HIV. It was this experience, together with his daily observations of local activity that became the fuel to begin his adventure of starting a school.
Song wanted to help, in a way that would not just provide families with short-term solutions to their needs such as giving of food. He wanted to empower families to break the cycle of poverty for generations and he decided the best way to do this was through education.

From the very beginning, Song was determined to make his dream a reality and he never shies away from a challenge. Not only did he save his own money for 3 years to build the school, but after opening in 2011, he walked 3km to and from the Monastery every day in order to teach his first students. At the time, his own English skills were still developing, but his attitude was to teach everything he knew and continue to teach whatever he was also learning.

Song didn’t wait for conditions to be perfect, but he also wanted to make sure his teaching was good quality. This led him to enrol in English Literature at Angkor University in Siem Reap, where he began studying the four-year course, also in 2011.

In 2013, Song’s Mother became very ill and he made the difficult decision to leave the Monastery after 13 years, so he could help his family care for her. Sadly, she passed away 3 months later and subsequent months were very difficult for Song as he came to terms with living life without her.

Since that time, Song has put his whole heart and energy into developing Samart School and completing his study. At the age of 26, what he has achieved with two schools, over 400 students and with the generous support of people from around the world, is remarkable. He believes serving his community is what he was born to do and in he is committed to his vision until his last breath. Although some days are more challenging than others, he understands this is life and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Song continues to live in Kok Srok Village, together with his two sisters, one brother and their families, right next door to the school.

Veasna

Mr Veasna Peou

English Teacher – Spean Kaek

Mr Veasna Peou

Administration Assistant and English Teacher – Spean Kaek

Mr Veasna is 24 years old and lives in Rolous Village, approximately 5km from our Spean Kaek campus. He is currently studying English Literature at University and would eventually like the opportunity to become a lecturer himself. Veasna is our most senior English teacher at Samart School and also assists Song with administration and financial record management. He loves his job and wants to continue helping the school to develop because he wants to support students that were in the same situation that he was growing up – without the means to pay for education.

Salav

Ms. Salav Ou

English Teacher – Spean Kaek

Ms. Salav Ou

English Teacher – Spean Kaek

Ms Salav is 19 years old and lives in O Village, just down the road from our Spean Kaek Campus. She is currently in her final year of schooling and would like to study to become a Pharmacist or Doctor while she continues working part time at Samart School. Salav was one of our first students when our school opened in 2011 and it was because of her dedication to learning and amazing potential that she became a teacher very soon after. She is not only extremely passionate about teaching, but also the character development of her students. Salav contributes so much toward the growth and development of our school, outside of her usual teaching role and is very much loved by students and volunteers alike.

Srey-Chou

Ms. Srey Chou Soy

English Teacher – Spean Kaek

Ms. Srey Chou Soy

English Teacher – Spean Kaek

Ms. Srey Chou is 18 years old and lives in Ao Louk Village, also in the Bakong District. She began her own English learning at just 6 years old by communicating with foreigners as she sold post cards at the local Bakong Temple. Now, as she completes her final two years of her own education, she appreciates the opportunity to pass on her knowledge to local children. Srey Chou began at Samart School with very little confidence in her own ability, but now after just one year of teaching, she says she believes in herself so much more. Srey Chou loves Samart school because students are so keen to learn and she feels rewarded by putting in extra effort to see them improve.

Proom

Mr Aok Pres (Mr Proom)

Computer Teacher – Spean Kaek

Mr Aok Pres (Mr Proom)

Computer Teacher – Spean Kaek

Mr Proom as he is affectionately known, is 31 years old and lives in Kok Srok village, together with his wife Rat and two daughters – Leah and Mai. Mr Proom teaches four computer classes each day at our Spean Kaek campus and is also our resident tuk tuk driver for volunteers to get to and from Siem Reap. He loves to teach because of the special rapport he’s built with both students and parents. He also appreciates the opportunity to improve his own English through his interaction with students and foreign volunteers.

Som-Ol

Mr Som Ol Dek

English & Computer Teacher – Kok Srok

Mr Som Ol Dek

English & Computer Teacher – Kok Srok

Mr Som Ol is 19 years old and also lives in Kok Srok village. From a young age, he was a keen learner, but was forced to drop in and out of school, simply because finances were not always available. Som Ol jumped at the chance to study for free when Samart School opened. He also enrolled as one of our very first students. Song recognised his potential and asked him to become a teacher only a few months later. Since then, he has grown in leaps and bounds and now teaches two English classes in addition to two computer classes every day. Som Ol is extremely grateful for how Samart School has helped change his life and now has a strong desire to give back to the children in his community.