Two years ago I wrote about my plans to set up a non-profit organisation in Cambodia that provided alternative financing for poor Cambodians so they could attend university. Later that year, the Human Capital Project (HCP) was started with its first five students, all studying at the University of Management and Economics in Battambang (UME-BB).
At the end of 2008 I went back to check up on the students and, after dealing with some of the inevitable problems that come with a new enterprise in a developing country, expanded the project to six students at UME-BB and another four students at the University of Management and Economics in Kampong Cham (UME-KC).
This is how it works… HCP pays for a student to go to university for four years. After they graduate, if the student goes on to get a professional job (ie if they get a benefit from the education) then they will pay 10% of their income for a certain number of years back into the scheme. That money will then be used to finance more poor students into university. One way to explain it is like a “pass-it-forward” approach — where the more benefit you get, then the more you put back into the system. Unlike a loan, the student does not have the risk of failure as they only need to pay money if they get a professional job.
This type of financing is called “personal equity”.
The idea is that the project will eventually be self-financing and will grow naturally. HCP will start to generate revenue in 2011 and will hopefully be self-financing by around 2015. But until then, I need to rely on the generosity of some sponsors (including Peach Home Loans) to keep the project working.
The commitment to sponsor one student is A$300/year for four years. If you would like to be involved, then please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0404 044561.