Approximately 1.5 million people died under the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia during the 1970s in one of the world’s worst cases of genocide. Four years of executions, torture and disease eliminated nearly one-quarter of the population, causing a humanitarian crisis beyond imagination and leaving a society in physical and economic ruin.
More than three decades later, the events inspired a student initiative at Franklin & Marshall College. Jessica Fuhrman ’12, a government major at F&M, led a project to construct a new school in Cambodia—The Cambodia School Project. In a video about the project, Fuhrman explains how, with support from the College’s International Women’s Outreach Committee (IWOC) and The Human Rights Initiative (THRI), she designed the project to improve Cambodia’s education system, which was essentially eliminated during the Khmer Rouge regime.
Fuhrman envisioned the school being constructed long after her graduation from F&M. But with help from American Assistance for Cambodia, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing opportunities for youth in Cambodia, the timeline changed. “I woke up one day [last fall] and got an email saying we could have a school,” Fuhrman said. “We’re about a year ahead of where we expected to be.”
Fuhrman traveled with her father to Cambodia in March 2012 for the dedication of the school, which is named Lux et Lex—“Light and Law”—after the motto of Franklin & Marshall College. This video includes highlights from Fuhrman’s trip to Cambodia for the school’s dedication.