The team had a change of plans this past week.  After in-depth, intense discussions with the client, and the team’s recent experiences in Myanmar, the team realized it needed to get its “feet wet” by making a trip to Cambodia.  Those familiar with the tragic genocide administered by the regime (called the “Khmer Rouge”), will understand why the cultural climate, economic situation, and education system in Cambodia is what makes it the prime market for innovative funding for higher education.  

A day and a half of meetings confirmed that the team had made the correct decision to do ground work in Cambodia. The people are eager for education, and the legal system is such that FISA’s will be a welcomed product.   The team was privileged to meet with two locals doing business in Phonm Pehn.  Their insights into the education system, current politics, and culture were invaluable.  The team met with a well-connected, highly educated and experienced Cambodian lawyer.  His insights and comprehensive understanding of the legal structure will lay the groundwork for Wedu in Cambodia. On Wednesday afternoon, they met with the managing directors of the Perpetual Education Fund, a foundation that provides similar funding services in Cambodia.  They currently have 250 students in the program and have found that 95% are actively paying back on their loans.

 

The team’s trip has been a huge success; perhaps the only real failures have come in their ability to make it to the local markets.  They have failed 100% of the time.  The first night they tried to go to the “night market” only to learn that it is only open on the weekend.  The next night they attempted to make it to the “Central Market” only to learn it closed at 4:30pm.  They hold high hopes of making it to the “Russian Market”, and perhaps even making it to the night market on Friday night.