School construction opens the door for the Gospel and a brighter future for children and communities around the world.

For years, Principal Tharvrith had been trying against all odds to provide a good education for the boys and girls in his remote Cambodian village. Raising up future leaders was his purpose in life, but doing so from a rundown shed of a school building made the task feel impossible.

When Samaritan's Purse and a local church partnered to provide the school with a new building and more resources, the principal was elated. In the process, his whole outlook on life changed. He left Buddhism and received Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior. A revival has been sparked within his community—teachers and students have come to faith—and it all started with a school construction project.

New Schools, Brighter Futures

For many children living in the world’s most impoverished communities, the chance for an education is rare. Many have no nearby school to go to; and those with schools often have to brave dangerous travel to get there. Classrooms are frequently overcrowded and unbearably hot. They often lack access to even the barest essentials—such as restrooms, access to clean drinking water, and the basic supplies the teachers and students need to do their work.

The rate of dropout in these communities is staggering. Thus, the grip of poverty has remained unbroken for generations.

This is why Samaritan's Purse is hard at work around the world providing well-constructed spaces and equipping schools to provide children with a quality education, to give them greater opportunities in life, and to introduce them to the ultimate hope found only in the Lord Jesus Christ.

For more than 15 years, Samaritan's Purse has built dozens of schools for vulnerable communities in places like Cambodia, Burkina Faso, Vietnam, and South Sudan. These new schools are equipped with all that children need for a safe environment to learn, grow, and expand their horizons.

A group of children celebrate their new school built by Samaritan's Purse

Every school we build is also an opportunity to show God's love.

Two boys are reading christian literature.

We offer parent trainings on the importance of education and new teaching methods designed around Biblical principles, among other resources. Local pastors come and share with communities throughout the construction process, which allows them to build relationships in the villages and ultimately proclaim the Gospel. Additionally, each school is equipped with new learning materials such as books, tablets, and libraries containing Christian literature.

As these new schools flourish, the Gospel takes root, allowing these centers of learning to stand as oases of hope in deserts of despair.

A Changed Man, a Changed Community

Today in Principal Tharvrith's village, the joyful laughter of more than 170 young students can be heard throughout the community. Their excitement and curiosity fill the air. They hold up their little hands eager to answer questions and eager to ask their own. Teachers respond warmly to such energetic pupils.

In a society where desperate needs are found around nearly every corner, hope is rising. Principal Tharvrith was among the first in his community to be buoyed by this hope as Samaritan's Purse started construction.

“Our school had one old building, and the students were absent a lot,” he said, explaining how many of the children, raised by grandparents or even distant relatives, faced obstacles just getting to school. “They live in very poor conditions, and in the rainy season, it is very challenging for them because they have to come by boat and wade through water.”

When they arrived, they didn't come to what we typically think of as a school. The dilapidated structure was not conducive to learning.

“The students would have to drink water from the pond,” Principal Tharvrith recounted.

When wind and rain would pass through the area, the roof would shake and leak.

Because of the remote location of the village, many other organizations weren't able to help address the school's many needs. Samaritan's Purse gives God the glory for allowing us to be able to accept an invitation from the local government to begin building.

Students now attend class in a brand-new school equipped with a library, latrines, and filtered drinking water—all luxuries they could never have afforded before. The difference has been striking.

A young boy is using a handwashing station provided by Samaritan's Purse

The students are learning,” Principal Tharvrith said, celebrating the fruit of the school's partnership with Samaritan's Purse—which has included greater attendance and fewer dropouts. “They are happy and enjoy coming to learn.”

The principal is learning, too. Through every school that Samaritan's Purse constructs in Cambodia, we partner with nearby believers and equip them to train teachers on improved education methods while also sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them.

This is how Principal Tharvrith first heard the Good News.

Principle Tarvrith and his family stand together outside of the old school building

“I heard [the Gospel] from the local church partner,” he explained. “They told me about the truth that God loves the world—all people, and doesn't ignore anyone.” As he spoke, his joy was tangible. Since there was not a church in his village when the project began, a Samaritan's Purse partner pastor would drive his motorcycle from a village several miles away to invest in this village in need of Jesus.

Because of the faithful witness of local church members helping with the project, the principal left Buddhism and became a follower of Jesus Christ.

Now he is leading a spiritual awakening within his community. As Principal Tharvrith grew in his faith and shared the Good News with others, he saw many turn to faith in Christ—family and friends, every teacher in his school, and more than 30 students.

A Christian teacher watches over her students
The construction begins on a new church building.

Eventually, the growing number of Christians in the village began gathering regularly for worship—creating a new need for their own space.

Now Samaritan's Purse has started construction on a second project in the village—a church less than a mile down the village's dirt road from the school.

We praise God that the gift of a new school building has drawn so many others to the greatest treasure of all: salvation in Jesus Christ.