West Kelowna resident providing future for over 100 children

Elaine Crebo is helping to build a school in rural Cambodia, offering education to children that otherwise wouldn't have it

Levi (16) and Tristan (11) Crebo with family friend Erika Makino (16)

Elaine Crebo is making a remarkable difference in the lives of over 100 children.

Crebo described herself as a conduit between funders in North America and a village in the Kratie province of Cambodia, where they are raising money to build a school. Although the school building has yet to be built, classes started in September for about 120 Grade one and two students, aged six to 14.

The classes are currently held amongst the stilts underneath four houses in the village, and without the help of Crebo and her peers the students wouldn’t have any classes at all. The goal for the school is to add a grade each year as the students age, eventually taking them all the way through Grade nine.

“A proper six classroom school is $23,000 U.S.,” Crebo said. “We’re about halfway to that right now, and we’re hoping to have that ready so the school can maybe start this fall. That would be ideal. In the meantime, the students will continue studying under the buildings.”

While no formal fundraising has taken place for the school, a means of keeping the school sustainable has been provided by the Ogopogo Rotary Club. Through a private and then matching donation, the club has provided $10,000 to fund a sewing school in the Cambodian village. Villagers will be trained in sewing, and then will be able to complete contract work to provide income for themselves and fund the continued use of the grade school.

Crebo has firsthand knowledge of how education works in Asia, as she lived in the continent for many years and adopted both of her sons in Hong Kong.

“I went over with my kids at Christmas, and we spent a month there doing volunteer, work, reading with the kids, doing English classes with them, playing games with them and then I did teacher training,” she said. “So that’s what we did over the Christmas holidays.”

Crebo is involving her children as she wants to show them that any individual can make a difference. And that difference isn’t limited just to the students of one village, but a chain of several of them who will all have their children attending the school. And as the number of grades offered in the school grows, so too will withe number of students. Crebo noted they are expecting to have 200 students in the school this fall, which is causing their parents to be overjoyed by the knowledge their children will have a future full of opportunity.

For more information about the school project or to make a donation, Crebo can be reached at elainecrebo@hotmail.com.