One Degree Forward is a 501c(3) non-profit organization founded by the father-son team of Tim and Kyle Ellison in the spring of 2011. Throughout their travels, Tim and Kyle have witnessed firsthand children in dire poverty who don’t have the chance for a quality education.
In 2009, after having worked at an orphanage in Cambodia for two weeks, Kyle felt the need to do more than just his two weeks as a volunteer and then move on with his life. Even though just out of college and struggling with his own student loan payments, Kyle and his wife Heather made a commitment to one of the orphanage’s Cambodian volunteers to pay her tuition to college until she graduated.
Tim, when visiting Cambodia was deeply moved by the poverty and the devastation brought on the people of Cambodia by Pol Pot and thirty years of civil war.
Tim and his son Kyle decided to create an organization that would help educate poor, motivated children in Cambodia .
The aim of One Degree Forward is to plant the seed of education within a child in the hope that scholarship recipients may one day serve to help grow Cambodia from within. By educating as many children as possible from the next generation, it is our goal that the rewards will be exponentially compounded, thereby laying a foundation for continued prosperity and growth.
What we are doing:
*We provide funding for a full time teacher and school supplies to a rural school that serves over one hundred children in Samrong village.
*We provide tuition for college to deserving students, who without our help would never be able to attend college.
* We provide tuition for English and computer classes to children that live in orphanages.
* We provide children with computers, school supplies, and bikes for transportation.
* We provide solar lights to the village of Samrong so that students may study at night. Other than the solar lights, there is no electricity in the village.
Where We Operate:
One Degree Forward is a US based organization operated from the state of Hawaii.
When the Khmer Rouge seized power of Cambodia in 1975, under the leadership of Pol Pot nearly every educated individual in the nation was brutally exterminated in the regime’s hopes of creating a completely agrarian society. Teachers, doctors, businessmen, those with command of foreign languages, and even those whose hands lacked the callouses derived from hard labor were maimed, tortured, and killed by the hundreds of thousands. Ruthless in their conquest, the Khmer Rouge soldiers did not discriminate between men, women, and children when it came to exterminating their own people. Toward the end of the regime as supplies became scarce, infants were simply swung against tree trunks in effort to save ammunition.
To this day the rule of the Khmer Rouge ranks as one of the most brutal eras of genocide in the history of mankind. Even with the eventual fall of the Khmer Rouge, the nation continued to be mired in warfare. Compounding the problem were the millions of landmines that to this day lay scattered across the nation and one of the highest HIV/AIDS rate in all of Asia. While the atrocities and amounts of suffering during this time period are innumerable, perhaps one of the greatest casualties of this time period was the entire generation of people who were raised with little or no education.
Rebuilding their crippled nation after 30 years of brutal warfare, the upcoming generation of Cambodian children possess a tremendous appetite for education and many yearn to help pull their homeland from the depths of poverty that still exist from the capital city to the rural provinces. While Cambodia still remains alarmingly poor and shockingly corrupt, it is our hope here at One Degree Forward that the continued education of ambitious Cambodian youth can only help to aid the quest for long lasting peace and prosperity.
What You Can Do to Help
We are currently accepting donations of all amounts, no matter how large or small, that will go toward establishing college or English school scholarships and aid for deserving children in Cambodia.
No money is wasted
Everyone involved in One Degree Forward is a volunteer. There are no salaries, wages or travel expenses. We work with our trusted volunteers in Cambodia, who help select potential students. Either Kyle or Tim works directly with either the student, a family member, or a volunteer we trust to help place the student in school. All monies go directly to the school and student to pay for tuition and school supplies. We require all receipts for tuition which we post on this web site. You can see the receipts by visiting our accountability page.
For those donors who would like to establish a long-lasting relationship with a deserving student we always provide the option for donors to become a sponsor of a family or child. In becoming a sponsor, donors are given direct access to a recipient and are able to communicate via either email, Facebook, or whatever other means are available for staying in contact.
For those wanting to truly touch the lives of others in a meaningful way, becoming a sponsor could be one of the most fulfilling decisions you will ever make. For more information on becoming a sponsor, please visit our Become a Sponsor section for more information.
To give an example of how much difference even the smallest of donations can make, the current tuition at Cambodia’s leading institution, Build Bright University, stands at only $400/year. One Degree Forward also hopes to help students with additional costs incurred involved with attending university, such as costs associated with relocating from rural destinations into the city for the purpose of attending classes. If you would like to help give the gift of education to a deserving child in need, please join our growing team of supporters who share our goals of education and progress.