Our family business values are Ethical, Sustainable, Responsible. To us they are so much more than words - they drive everything we do.
I am proud that The School Uniform Shop has been recognised by The Good Shopping Guide as The UK's #1 Ethical School Uniform Retailer.
However, I know that as a business we can always do more, so I am really pleased that with support from our customers and suppliers, and working with Rotary International, we have been able to make a difference in communities all around the world.
You will find details of some of these projects here. Please take the time to have a look, and if you have any questions please let me know. If you would like to be put in touch with some of the great charities we have had the opportunity to work with please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founder & CEO
The Ponheary Ly Foundation was founded by Ponheary Ly who served as a teacher and later tour guide in Cambodia. She had a passion for education. Living a portion of her life in poverty, Ponheary knew the struggles that children in rural Cambodia faced when trying to attend school. Starting with just one student, Ponheary began what has grown into the Ponheary Ly Foundation, sponsoring 2,800 students in four primary schools and five secondary schools through rural northwestern Cambodia.
The Ponheary Ly Foundation is a US-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organisation. Their mission is to promote access to quality education for children and young people in Siem Reap and Preah Vihear provinces in northern Cambodia. Guided by a UN human rights based approach, their work stems from the basic premise that access to schooling is fundamental to rebuilding the country’s civil society after the genocide of the 1970s.
Education plays a central role in the development of future democratic leaders, the eradication of poverty, the promotion of gender equality, and improving the overall health and well-being of rural and urban communities.
Recognising that educational access is interlinked with a number of social issues, the holistic scope of their work addresses nutritional standards, transportation, basic health care, housing, and infrastructure projects focused on providing electricity and clean water. They believe that in order for children to learn, they must have food security, a stable place to live, a mode of transit to get to school, and the access to medical care when required - the same everyday supports that should be afforded to children throughout the world.
Providing uniforms and school supplies lies at the heart of the organisation’s mission to be responsive to immediate challenges facing families and local communities. Providing Uniforms seeks to remove one of the greatest obstacles to attending public school: students must have uniforms and their own supplies. The cost of a students uniform (approximately £5 for junior school and £6 for senior school) is out of reach for most families engaged in subsistence farming with too many children at home. Many families must choose just one child to attend school and hope that one can come home and teach the rest. By supplying these children with the things they need for school, we are able to get all the village children in school, not just some.
At the end of October every year, open enrolment begins, and the Ponheary Ly Foundation team compiles rosters of students new and old to receive uniforms, books, and supplies. Through alliances with village elders, teachers and administrators in individual schools, they organise an Opening Day at each of the schools they support in early November to distribute the necessary supplies for students to attend school.
We would really like to provide uniforms for as many children as possible so anything you are able to give will be donated to the Ponheary Ly Foundation through our Elgar Rotary Club based here in Herefordshire, which is part of Rotary International, and will ensure that ALL money donated goes directly to the Ponheary Ly Foundation.
We have included a donation option in checkout so customers can easily choose to add an optional donation (£2, £5 or £6) while ordering. Thank you for your support.
We are proud to have worked with the Rotary Club and The Ponheary Ly Foundation, we donated £5,000 to support the building of the building of The Knar Village Learning Centre. Here is an update of how far the project has come over the past few years.
Since 2006, Ponheary Ly Foundation has been working in 5 underfunded primary schools to help improve the dismal (55%) graduation rate from Primary School (grade 6). Over the years they not only accomplished that objective but saw a pressing need to find a way to serve the ever-growing number of secondary school students.
In 2018 The Ponheary Ly Foundation embarked on the establishment of a Village Learning Centre in Knar Village to create the physical space necessary to deliver much-needed services to their high school students and eventually, to the wider community. Delivering the things missing from Public School curriculum has improved high school graduation rates and is now opening access to university for some of the graduates. None of this progress would have been possible without the Centre.
The Ponheary Ly Foundation brokered a deal for some land in the village with a small house on it and a tool shed behind (no running water, no electricity) and began building the project.
For more information about the project please see www.theplf.org/2019/08/01/knar-learning-center-blows-our-heads-off.
Knar Village Learning Centre, Banteay Srei District, Siem Reap Province
In 2019, the construction started to add classroom space. Three modular classrooms were built in 2019 behind the original building.
A large solar panel was installed so that a Tech Lab could be built. A toilet block was also installed, an outdoor classroom in the front of the property and the tool shed was converted into a kitchen.
The construction of the new classrooms has made a massive difference to the learning conditions of the school, for both the pupils and the teachers.
There are currently 130 Secondary School students who go to the Centre after school and have English Classes, Tech Classes where they can earn MS Office Certificates, attend various Life Skills Workshops & eLearning, and have access to a robust lending library.
Additionally, The Ponheary Ly Foundation Invites students in grades 4-6 (current enrolment is 109 students) to attend the Centre after school (which ends at 11am every day for them) Primary school students study English, have Khmer Language tutoring for students requiring it (Post-COVID response), have a healthy Lunch, can join the Chess Club or learn to play the Ukulele.
Additionally, Grade 6 students have a science lab and the younger students have arts & crafts classes. All Primary School students also have Library time with one of the most experienced Librarians who leads them through fun reading activities. The library is also equipped with e-readers to expose younger students to technology.
The Learning Centre at Knar was so successful that this model has now been repeated at three other locations and with more robust support for secondary level students, which is already showing a healthy and promising impact on high school retention across locations.
Here at The School Uniform Shop, we’ve been supporting and donating to schools around the world for over a decade!
In the most recent years, we have been involved in supporting schools in rural Cambodia. As you might know, in 2017, along with The City of Hereford Rotary Club, we visited the Koh Ker Primary School to discover the Charity Organisation, The Ponheary Ly Foundation.
Within our time working with The Ponheary Ly Foundation, we have helped with 3 schools in rural Cambodia, Koh Ker School, Romchek School and Khnar Village School.
At Koh Ker Primary School, we helped to fund and develop three inspiring programs, including The Wellness Program, English Language Instruction and the Library!
In Romchek, we donated school uniform and donated funds to help with costs of educational tools and supplies.
Most recently, in Khnar Village, we have helped to donate over £10,000 for the school to build an additional structure, to house more classrooms, workshops, and a Library.
With your help, we are continuing to support all three of these schools, and we are now aiming to fund resources for the Libraries at these schools.
Our aim is to donate 1000 library books, for the various ages and learning abilities!
The 2019-20 annual report is available on the Denim Nation website here www.denimnation.co.uk/books-for-cambodia. This details how the amazing work the library is doing in response to the ongoing pandemic to support children who might otherwise drop out of the education system.
We are incredibly proud to support this ongoing work and extremely grateful to all our customers who have helped in any way.
The Khnar Village Learning Centre supports more than 100 students currently studying at Khnar Primary School and graduates who have continued on to Secondary and High School.
The KVLC will be home to classes and workshops, including English, Science, IT, Ukulele classes, Chess Club, Arts & Crafts, and a health station. You can watch videos of the ukulele class performing on the Denim Nation website here www.denimnation.co.uk/khnar-village-learning-centre.
The PLF have also started an Adult Education Program at the KVLC, which provides a wide range of workshops to parents of PLF Students. The workshops teach the parents about topics such as, domestic violence, family planning, and human rights.
In December 2018, along with The City of Hereford Rotary Club, we visited The Khnar Village Learning Centre, to talk through plans for the new development, as well as get stuck in with volunteering.
A new structure will be erected on the property that will serve several identified needs. Mainly to create more classroom space and make space available for both children and a public library. The larger building will also allow continued film nights during the rainy season and allow more parents to join workshops.
Construction of this structure will begin in January 2019, and hopes to be completed by mid April 2019. Once the new classrooms are constructed, the public Library and Children’s Library will be opened.
Without your help and support, we wouldn’t be able to make these amazing learning opportunities happen for the children of Khnar Village.
You can continue to support these projects, when shopping with us at The School Uniform Shop.
A donation of just £1, will provide 1 Library book to give children of all ages in Koh Ker, Romchek and Khnar Village, the crucial education to further their success in life!
Our aim is to donate 1000 library books, for various ages and learning abilities, and we thank you for helping us do just that!
Thank you for your continued help and support!
Buying school uniform for your children from us helps to support children in Cambodia. In February 2017, Managing Director of School Uniform Shop Luke Conod visited Cambodia with the City of Hereford Rotary Club to discover a charity who needed our help. This charity was The Ponheary Ly Foundation.
The Ponheary Ly Foundation was founded in 2005 when Cambodian tour guide Ponheary Ly met American tourist Lori Carlson. Ponheary had spent years previous as a teacher. She knew the value of education in children as her Father was a teacher and used to support children one on one and do extra programs after school at the school she taught in.
While working as a tour guide, Ponheary used to encourage the tourists to sponsor a child for education rather than purchasing souvenirs from the children selling them on the streets outside the temples. When Lori heard about the work Ponheary was doing she was inspired and returned to Austin, Texas to set up a foundation to help her broaden her efforts. After two years of visiting Cambodia, Lori relocated to Siem Reap to work daily with Ponheary and the children of Cambodia.
The Ponheary Ly Foundation supports over 2,800 students across rural Cambodia.
Working together, School Uniform Shop and City of Hereford Rotary Club have funded three inspiring programs, all at Koh Ker School in Cambodia.
The library at Koh Ker School in Cambodia is much more than just a place to come and read a book. They schedule activities such as art and crafts, checkers and chess club, colouring, and they even have Lego the children can play with. Ponheary Ly Foundation describe it beautifully as “In places where there is not much “push” from the family for the children to come to school, there must be a tremendous amount of “pull” and everything that goes on in PLF libraries does just that.”
The library at Koh Ker School was only opened in September 2015 and already it has proven to be an educational but most importantly, a fun place to be for all of the children!
The Koh Ker School Library has a well-trained Librarian to keep the books, games, activities and children playing and learning as they should be. She is also trained as the ‘school nurse’ which we think is amazing!
It is important that children are well cared for and clean all around the world, however unfortunately we know that isn’t always the case. In Cambodia, the children who attend Koh Ker School do not have this care at home so it is important for the school to introduce this into the children’s daily routine. Things that are covered within the wellness program are Basic Hygiene, First Aid / Basic Medicine, Clean Water and Transport to Hospital.
Students at Koh Ker School have access to endless supplies of soap and clean water and have a wash in the mornings as soon as they arrive at the school before breakfast. Tooth brushing classes are given to provide invaluable education about dental hygiene and all children clean their teeth after breakfast every morning.
As mentioned earlier, the School Librarian has also been trained as the School Nurse. She is on hand to tend to minor accidents and illnesses. Twice a year the students are given de-worming treatments to keep parasitic infection under control.
To keep the children healthy costs just £6 per student per year.
The children at Koh Ker School are taught English from the age of 11 and continues through their schooling up to the age of 15 or 16.
English as a language in Cambodia is important for a number of reasons:
Students who have basic English skills will perform better in classes and technology classes when they are old enough to take them.
When the students take technology classes they will have access to online training courses and internet research classes. They can access foreign news sources to get a clearer view of the world than that which is offered by a heavily censored Cambodian media.
There are very few academic books in the Khmer language so learning how to read, write and speak English will give the students access to a wider variety of books.
Cambodia is a growing tourist destination, especially around Siem Reap where over three million tourists flock per year to visit the temples of Angkor Wat. By learning English it greatly increases chances of securing a job in the country’s growing tourism industry.
For students who make it to University in Cambodia, many courses will be exclusively taught in English and will only use English language textbooks. If they do not know Business Level English it will prevent students from entering such fields as Medicine, Engineering and IT.
There are two English teachers at Koh Ker School who teach Grades 5 and 6 after school. This initiative funds the teacher’s salaries, provides textbooks and workbooks for the students as well as Teacher’s Manuals, audio equipment and other teaching materials.
Further updates to this project along with more photos are available on the Denim Nation website here www.denimnation.co.uk/koh-ker-school-cambodia.
Over the last few years we have donated new and used school uniform to charities who distribute it across the world to those in need. In March 2016, Managing Director Luke Conod and a group of Hereford-based Rotarians went on a trip to the Calais and Dunkirk refugee camps in France to view first hand where the uniform we donate could end up.
People in Motion are a Charitable Incorporated Organisation that provide support and aid to displaced people all around the world. With their current efforts focused on the refugee crisis, they send aid and volunteer support throughout Europe and beyond to help people on their journey to a safer life. Although they are a relatively new charity, People in Motion have already sent over 60 vans full of aid and over 70 volunteers directly into the refugee camps.
Back in July 2016 we donated 30 boxes of new and used school uniform including polo shirts, jogging bottoms, sweatshirts and t-shirts which we thought would benefit the children living in refugee camps across Europe and further including Syria and even Africa.
More recently we have collaborated with Monmouth Comprehensive School to donate their old style, brand new uniform to People in Motion.
Monmouth Comprehensive School have around 1600 students and in the last couple of years have made the decision with the help of staff, students, parents and the local community to change their uniform from a polo shirt and jumper to blazers, shirts and blouses.
This means that all of the old style school uniform was left over and spare, perfect to donate to children and families who need it most around the world. School Uniform Shop, who have previously worked with People in Motion for other school uniform donations, contacted the team and arranged for dedicated volunteer, Tim, to collect the boxes of school uniform in his camper van. Most, if not all of the Monmouth Comprehensive School uniform that was donated will go to refugee camps in Syria.
Andrew Williams, Deputy Head at Monmouth Comprehensive School says "It's important for the young people, they are the ones who really wanted to see the old uniform come to some good use. The school has strong links with lots of different charities. Part of the formal curriculum is looking at refugees and displaced people and how small acts of generosity can make a large difference."
Videos of the team's visit to the refugee camps and the school uniform sorting and donation at Monmouth Comprehensive School are available on the Denim Nation website here www.denimnation.co.uk/people-in-motion.
We support ‘Stella in Cambodia’ who have built a school in Snay L’a, Cambodia. Along with ten other Trutex retailers and Trutex themselves we have paid for the building of a sewing workshop, which has cost little over £5,000. This will benefit not just the children and the school but all of the villagers to make them self-sustaining.
The building of the sewing workshop has been a difficult process. Things which seem so easy and straight-forward in the western world are 10x more difficult to source and build in countries like Cambodia. Everything has to be done by hand whereas here we have the luxury of machinery. The Cambodian school children have been helping the process by building bottle bricks using recycled materials such as plastic and carrier bags which will go towards a new toilet block and washroom.
Stella wants to use this school as model for other rural areas where there is no education available and a very real chance of children and young adults having to leave their homes to help support the rest of the family.
The idea is to reduce the number of Street Children and those being sent to unknown destinations supposedly to work in factories or sweatshops. Sometimes they’re able to support their family in this way but other times they don’t actually arrive at their destination and never return home. Trafficking, slavery and the sex trade are all very real threats to people who are vulnerable in poverty.
The school eventually needs to be self-funded. Sustainability program to be phased in over time.
A school costs £16,000 to build and changes the lives of the children in the village.
The School Uniform Shop donated 1% of the total value of everything that customers bought from our School Uniform Shop website to The Pahar Trust at no cost to the customer, between 2010 and 2012.
We wanted to build a safe, substantial and dry school in the remote village of Yangsila in the Nepalese Foothills. This had a major positive impact on the students and villagers. Yangsila is about 20km to the west of the sizeable town of Dharan. However there is no metalled road and the track goes through a couple of river beds. During the monsoon these are impassable.
The Pahar Trust have already built about 80 schools in remote parts of Nepal providing education for over 10,000 Nepalese children. The trust have 4 ex British Gurkha Soldiers on the ground in Nepal to ensure the projects are completed on time and to a high standard.
We paid monies raised on a monthly basis to the Hereford City Rotary Club who underwrote the project and sent payments to The Pahar Trust.
The first phase of the school was completed and officially opened on 21st February 2012 by Luke Conod, Rotary Club President and Managing Director of School Uniform Shop. A video of the opening is available on the Denim Nation website here www.denimnation.co.uk/building-a-school-in-nepal.
However this is only the first phase. There is much more to do and we are continuing to raise funds for the rest of the project.
Best days of their lives… with a little help from Hereford Rotarians in Nepal. Lydia Johnson reports
Many children here in Britain moan about going to school. They cannot stand science, maths and the uniform. Their displeasure only grows when others tell them to enjoy school because they are “the best days of your life”.
There are even more children, living far from the UK, who don’t have to get up early, put on their uniform, or do their homework. But many of these children would give anything to do these things.
Twelve members of the Rotary Club of the City of Hereford recently met many children with a great will to learn when they travelled half way across the world. The city group went to the village of Yangshila in Nepal to help build a school that would change the lives of many.
Judy Smith Harris, one of the 12 travelling, knew this was something she had to be involved in. She helped the club raise £10,000 of the total £16,000 raised – every penny of which went to the school.
She said: “The school is so important because the whole village will benefit from its facilities. It is their way out of poverty. If they are educated and can use a computer, then they can bring their family and village out of poverty.”
Nepal may be one of the most poverty-stricken places on the planet, but, according to the group, it is also one of the friendliest. Despite not having the most basic levels of sanitation or health care – with 15 per cent of the population suffering from an iodine deficiency – the warmth and community spirit they show is enviable.
Luke Conod, club president and managing director of the School Uniform Shop in Hereford which raised £6,000 for the project, said: “We were overwhelmed by the welcome we received. We always had food, fresh fruit and water, but the whole time we were there we didn’t see anyone else eat anything. The main thing I’ve taken from the experience is never to moan – especially about a bit of traffic or the internet being down.”
So with the help of building contractors and British based charity the Pahar Trust, the Shree Savitri Secondary School was built. The foundations of the school were laid a year ago by club members Rob and Margaret Soutar, and the school has come a long way since then. There are 50 to 60 children to a classroom and fund-raising is still ongoing to secure fully functioning toilets, reading material, furniture and electricity in some areas. But it is a start.
The 13 rooms – seven of which were built by the club – is the start the children, and the village, needs to keep them moving forward to a better future. For the many adults who look back on their school days with nothing but the pleasure of knowing they’re over, Luke said the children of Nepal offer a eminder of the luck youngsters have here in Herefordshire of just having teachers and somewhere to learn.
Further updates to this project are on the Denim Nation website here www.denimnation.co.uk/building-a-school-in-nepal.