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38 years of activity for Cambodia


Sipar has been working actively with underprivileged populations in Cambodia for 38 years. Based essentially on developing reading and the fight against illiteracy, the association has been working for 28 years in all of Cambodia’s regions with one unique objective: make books an educational lever, transport them and make them accessible to the most underprivileged populations.

Sipar is a French NGO created in 1982 to welcome Cambodian refugees in France. Sipar’s first actions in the field were teaching French in refugee camps in Thailand and training in sites on the Khmer-Thai border.

Sipar arrived in Cambodia in 1992. After 20 years of war, the country was worn out. Everything related to knowledge had disappeared, the educational system needed to be re-built.

Sipar has been working in the field with institutions and communities and has concentrated its activity on developing reading, education through the accessibility of books and the fight against illiteracy.

Permanent and mobile library programme

To begin with, Sipar set up reading areas within schools : 310 schools have been equipped with libraries and more than 2600 librarians trained by SIPAR. In the public sector (villages, hospitals, prisons, textile factories…) Sipar has created reading corners and set up libraries and resource centers. Mobile libraries have been introduced on the roads : 9 mobile libraries (8 mini vans and 1 motorbike) distribute books in underprivileged areas to make books accessible to the poorest communities and develop a taste for reading from a young age.

Publishing books in Khmer programme

After having developed the librarian profession in Cambodia, SIPAR has now developed the publishing sector.

Faced with the poverty of the offer, Sipar launched a programme of book publishing in Khmer in 2000. Today SIPAR offers 180 works divided into 16 series in Khmer, adapted to different age ranges and audiences. More than 2,4 millions copies are in the hands of young readers. The publishing team in Phnom Penh is made up of 12 persons who design and edit 16/20 new books a year.


SIPAR's Values and Commitments


Sipar has embraced 3 core values since its creation: INNOVATION and permanent renewal of its actions in aid of the most underprivileged, TRANSFER OF KNOWLEDGE to the relevant Cambodian authorities and professionals, seeking SUSTAINABILITY of the projects by encouraging ownership by the beneficiaries and ongoing training for the local team.

  • Innovation

SIPAR has always had a pioneering vocation and the courage necessary to dare introduce innovative programmes to help develop reading.

  • Ownership and transfer of knowledge

SIPAR works in close collaboration with Cambodian institutions and not in parallel to them which enables better programme ownership. Training helps efficient skill transfer to the Cambodian populations.

  • Development

SIPAR initiates its projects in close consultation with future beneficiaries and ensures their durability out of a concern for development and not just aid to a country. In Phnom Penh today, a trained and efficient team of 50 Cambodians works to achieve sustainable development for their country.

Key Figures

  • 55 local staff
  • 1 national coverage present in 25 provinces and municipalities
  • 640 000 beneficiaries
  • 440 Library services and other reading services 

Reading for all

  • 9 mobile libraries (minivans) circulating in 84 sites in 4 provinces including Phnom Penh and 1 mobile library (motorbike) circulating in 12 villages of Ratanakiri province.
  • 26 prisons equipped with reading units in 25 provinces including Phnom Penh
  • 17 communal libraries set up in 3 provinces
  • 11 hospitals equipped with playground-libraries in 18 provinces including Phnom Penh
  • 23 Library Learning Centers in garment factories in 6 provinces including Phnom Penh

School Libraries

  • 11 community preschools in 4 provinces (map to update with Kandal, Takeo, Kratie and Prey Veng)
  • 300 libraries in primary schools in 25 provinces
  • 9 referral libraries in secondary schools in 9 provinces

Youth Empowerment

  • 19 Youth Empowerment projects in 13 villages in 2 provinces

Book Publishing

  • 2.4 million volumes printed since 2000
  • 16 new titles published last year, for a total of 205 titles since 2000
  • More than 80 training schemes delivered since 2004

« Reading and learning to build the future ». This is SIPAR’s mission


Contact us

  • 16 rue Champ Lagarde
  • 78 000 Versailles

  • 33 (0)1 39 02 32 52


Colonne gauche
  • 9 street 334 - Po Box 31
  • Phnom Penh

  • 855 (0)10 200 740


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