Wednesday, 9 September 2009

CU student hopes to bring a teacher to Cambodia

BOULDER - A freshman from the University of Colorado at Boulder is making a difference in some young people's lives that are half a world away.

Heather Starbuck says her life changed a year and a half ago, when she visited the Cambodian town of Pailin.

"I want to go back someday," Starbuck said.

The tiny community is situated along the country's Western border, near Thailand; almost everyone who lives there is poor.

"It just makes me think, 'Wow, we have it really well here in the United States,'" Starbuck said.

The town's needy reputation is what sparked Heather's interest in the first place.

"One of [its] main problems is education, without education you can't have substantial income coming in," Starbuck said.

She figured, if she could inspire kids to learn more, then they could get better jobs and ultimately help boost their community's economy.

"They really understand how important education is," she said.

Heather started a campaign called "Operation Lyhou." It's named after a boy she met in Pailin.

"It's taking off a lot faster than I thought it would," Starbuck added.

She's hoping to raise $13,000 by selling T-shirts she designed. So far, Heather has collected more than $750 in three weeks.

"It's a big task, but I'm willing to take it on," Starbuck said.

The money will help create a building, some solar panels, wire the rooms with Internet access and provide the students with an English teacher.

"Anything you give these kids, they'll take full advantage of," she said.

To learn more about Heather's effort, visit her Web site at

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