A 10k for Cambodia

What’s going on? This summer, Chase and I will be volunteering for two weeks in Siem Reap, Cambodia to support local efforts to ease the region’s extreme poverty. I will be teaching English at the New Hope Cambodia school, a local Non-Government Organization that provides free education to ~750 students. Chase will be working with rural villagers to provide clean water through the Trailblazer Foundation, which practices a sustainable, community-focused style of development.

Why are we doing this? We are humbled by the opportunity to positively impact a community that is among the neediest in the world. Pope Francis issued an inspiring challenge to serve “the poorest, the weakest, the least important,” and we are in. I am excited to extend my work with Midwest urban education to Cambodia and to give the children exposure to a proper American accent (the place attracts a lot of Aussies!). Chase is pumped to mix concrete and install water filters (in 90+ degree temps), putting to good use his recently-earned degree in civil engineering.  As a bonus, Chase and I have a unique opportunity to make this journey together—sibling bonding!

Why Cambodia? Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in in the world, with around one third of people living on less than one dollar per day. Siem Reap is one of the three poorest provinces of Cambodia with nearly half of its residents considered poor. The country still reels from civil war and genocide in the 1970s, when ~two million people were killed (about a quarter of the population). The median age in Cambodia is 20.6 years. English skills are required for most jobs in Cambodia; however, most families in Siem Reap cannot afford to send their children to public school. By the way, all education, business, religion, and health care were shuttered during the genocide, so it’s a time of rebuilding. But there is hope: Cambodia’s economy has averaged 6% growth for the last decade and it could outgrow its Least Developed Country status by 2020

What can you do? Chase and I are fundraising to offset the cost of the programs and to support New Hope Cambodia teacher salaries (meet the teachers here and why it’s important here). As a recent college graduate and soon-to-be graduate student (no incomes!), we would greatly appreciate any and all assistance in funding our mission! 

10k for Cambodia. To help raise awareness and funds, I am running my first-ever 10k on June 26 at the annual Chicago Disco Dash. My goal is a sub-8:00 minute pace, so it’s definitely a “dash”!

With sincere gratitude for your support, 

Blair and Chase

P.S. Check out the New Hope Cambodia video: 
  • Megan Kluesner 
    • $25 
    • 89 mos
  • Kim Kelsey 
    • $100 
    • 89 mos
  • Alison Neville 
    • $50 
    • 89 mos
  • Mary Paggi 
    • $100 
    • 89 mos
  • Van & Jim Sanders 
    • $1,000 
    • 90 mos
See all


Blair Mlnarik Pircon 
Chicago, IL
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