Fr. Albeiro Rodas, Director and Founder
Fr. Albeiro Rodas, known by the children as Fr. Samnang, is from the Republic of Colombia. He is the Director and Founder of the Don Bosco Kep Children Fund (DBKCF). He did Social Communication & Journalism at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana of Medellín between 1989 and 1995. In that year he joined the Salesians of Don Bosco. He arrived in Cambodia on October 12, 1999 to work as a member of the Don Bosco Foundation of Cambodia. He dedicated his first years in Cambodia to study the language, the history and culture of this country and comparing it with his own nation, Colombia.
Between 2001 and 2005 he was a student of Theology & Biblical Archaeology at the Salesian Institute of Cremisan in Bethlehem, Palestine – transferred to Ratisbonne in West Jerusalem in 2004. He was back in Cambodia by August 2005 to work at Don Bosco Children Home of Poipet (Banteay Meanchey Province). In that first year he did a research on the problem of human traffic affecting children, women and young people. From that year he began to think that the skill of social communication and journalism could give a meaningful contribution to the Cambodian development and the idea that Cambodians should feel the first responsible of their own progress.
In 2006 the Salesian superiors transferred him to the Don Bosco Technical School of Sihanoukville as Vice-Rector to Fr. John Visser, one of the founders of the Don Bosco presences in Cambodia (1991). Here he presented the proposal of a School of Social Communication & Journalism for young people from vulnerable communities. The mission was to train young leaders in social and media communication for Cambodia. The idea was original in the context of the traditional Don Bosco technical education that was centered in training youth in industrial skills like automotive, electricity, welding, mechanics and printing. It was also the first experience of social and media communication offered in a systematic way to youth from poor communities. With the great support from Fr. Visser, the first experience of social and media communication training was open on October 2007 with a group of 12 students young men, selected from all those applicants to the Technical School in Sihanoukville. The school (hereby ‘section’) was located at the campus of the technical school. Thanks to the promotion of Fr. Visser, benefactors from the Netherlands, Germany and United States of America joint to help in the construction of the Don Bosco Audiovisual Center with three studios for radio, television and edition. The first studios were completely destroyed by a mysterious fire on May 9, 2009. Rapid solidarity came to the support of Fr. Rodas for the rebuilding. The presence of many volunteers have been also a characteristic of the Social Communication Training Project, coming from every corner of the planet. The existence of the Social Communication & Journalism School of Don Bosco has been very much important to deep in the knowledge of the Cambodian social realities. In this way, the students and teachers focus on the knowledge of their own national context in connection with the global needs of today. Inside a humanistic framework, students and teachers become sensible to the gloomy realities of child, women and young social problems (HIV, domestic violence, drugs, child labor, child migration, street children, etc). But also to underline the virtues of the Cambodian cultural, social and millennial values, Cambodian identity and dream for a best society.
In 2011 the Salesian superiors gave to Fr. Rodas the high responsibility to lead the foundation of a new technical school and children fund project in Kep Province. In the span of five year, with the support of benefactors, volunteers, teachers, students, children and past pupil, the Project grew from an almost empty land to an Academic complex dedicated to the Cambodian children and youth. Leading the Project with a concept of diversity, environment protection, attention to persons with special physical conditions, ethnic minorities and both genders equal opportunities, Don Bosco Kep has become a model of educative development in the region.
The Don Bosco Kep Children Fund got a special dimension in Don Bosco Kep with three basic programs: the Kindergarten for local children, the Scholarship Program for children at risk in Kep, Kampot, Takeo and Ratanakiri and the Don Bosco Brother Sun Kids’ Residence Program for teenagers at risk to live in Don Bosco Kep, while studying in the Kep local schools. 120 children from 3 to 17 years old participate in this Program thanks to the team work of benefactors, volunteers and social workers.
Fr. Albeiro Rodas or Fr. Ly Samnang, is MA in Digital Communication (Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana). In 2010 he received the Medal of his own University (Pontificia Bolivariana) for Social Commitment UPB. He is in the list of the 2012’s Most Standing Hundred Colombians Abroad by Marca Colombia.