Bayon School

Taphul Road, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia


A school born after the war for underprivileged children living within the walls of the Angkor temples.

Initiated in the 1990s by a monk who took in orphans from the war, the Bayon School has, for nearly 30 years, provided quality education and medical support to underprivileged young people living in the region of the temples of ‘Angkor in Cambodia.

The war against the Khmer Rouge leaves the country without any educational structure

The war against the Khmer Rouge, then the Vietnamese occupation, ended in the early 1990s. They completely destroyed Cambodia’s education system and all of its schools. Almost a quarter of the population was exterminated during this period and half a million Cambodians managed to flee to exile abroad. The country has suffered for thirty years tensions, violence and devastating tragedies which make reconstruction long and difficult. Cambodia remains today one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia: in 2014, 15% of the Cambodian population officially lived below the national poverty line established at $ 1 / day.

While the civil war has barely ended and the Khmer Rouge are still present in many provinces of Cambodia, and especially in the Siem Reap region, a group of friends go to visit the temples of Angkor. Among them, Mai, a Cambodian refugee in France and Marcel, a French resident in Tokyo, meet a monk who lives in a pagoda a few hundred meters from the Bayon temple. It takes in orphans in need following the conflict and provides them with some semblance of education.

Maï and Marcel decide to mobilize their respective networks to finance the schooling of the students. A French association was created to support this action: the Paths of Childhood. Little by little, word of mouth is doing its job and the children living around the Bayon temple join the school and begin to learn. Thanks to financial and material donations from friends of the association, the Bayon School is structured and from 1997, it has provided schooling for around fifty students living in extreme poverty each year.

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