Monirath was born and raised in Cambodia by a single mother who, despite being at the top of his class, was forced to withdraw from school due to financial pressures on his family. Moni’s mother loved learning. She overcame numerous obstacles to ensure that Moni received a quality education and could have better opportunities in life. At the age of 16, Moni moved to the U.S. to live with his father in California. It was difficult to leave home, but relocating to the U.S. would allow Moni to further expand his potential.
The first in his family to finish high school, Moni completed his B.A. at Washington University in St. Louis. This achievement was the result of a powerful community of teachers in Cambodia and the U.S. who believed in him. This motivated Moni to do the same for children who share his background.
In 2012, he joined Teach For America and taught for two years as a high school biology and environmental science teacher in Camden, New Jersey. During this time, Moni earned an M.S.Ed from the University of Pennsylvania. Teaching successfully in a troubled community solidified his commitment to finding ways to reduce the inequity that he faced, and that kids still face around the world.
Moni resolved to start a program back home that would move the needle for kids in disadvantaged communities. He also wanted to give passionate young Cambodians a clear role in shaping the future of their country. Leveraging a new approach, Teach For Cambodia intends to build a local force of leadership capacity that will work with the government, communities and the private sector to make long-term sustainable change.
Given his experiences growing up in Cambodia and attending six public schools, serving with Teach For America in a challenging context, and his academic background in education, Moni found himself in a unique position to start Teach For Cambodia and dedicate his life to the mission of transforming public education in his country. In 2015, Teach For Cambodia became a registered local not-for-profit in Cambodia and in 2018, will place the first generation of Teach For Cambodia Fellows in public schools.
Teach For Cambodia’s vision is that one day, all children in Cambodia will have the opportunity to unleash their potential. We invite anyone who believes in this vision to be part of making it a reality.