The Neeson Cripps Academy Breaks Ground



Velcro Companies and Cambodian Children’s Fund have broken ground on the Neeson Cripps Academy, an ambitious project that will provide STEM (science, technology, mathematics and engineering) education to thousands of disadvantaged Cambodian students.

When it is completed the Neeson Cripps Academy (NCA) will provide impoverished Cambodian children with high quality education opportunities through enhanced learning spaces, access to the latest digital technologies, teacher training, a focus on STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and designated study spaces all within an environment conducive to critical thinking and gaining an understanding of the world.

“Today marks the most exciting step in Cambodian Children’s Fund’s 11 year journey. The NCA will deliver high quality education to the children in this area and set the way for careers in the engineering, science and technology fields”, said Cambodian Children’s Fund executive director, Scott Neeson. “Such an opportunity is only possible through the support of Velcro Companies. This building will fill need for safe learning spaces, teacher development and digital technologies, and provide a hub for the local community”.

The construction of the Neeson Cripps Academy is a gift from Velcro Companies. Velcro Companies is a technology-driven organization that provides solutions for businesses and consumers around the world, and is committed to advancing education and improving the lives of children across the globe. The building is named after Robert Cripps, former Velcro Companies Chairman, and Scott Neeson, Founder and Executive Director of Cambodian Children’s Fund.


The Velcro Companies Leadership Team and members of the Board travelled to Phnom Penh to attend the ground-breaking ceremony near the former landfill site in Steung Meanchey.

“We feel privileged to continue our work with the Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF) and establish the Neeson Cripps Academy to educate children who otherwise wouldn’t have access to world-class teachers and resources,” said Fraser Cameron, President and CEO, Velcro Companies. “Through this partnership, we’re also inspiring the next generation of innovatorsand honoring our long-time former Chairman, Robert Cripps, and his commitment to leadership.”

Members of the Velcro Leadership Team have also been spending time participating in CCF programs and getting to know students and the wider community that will benefit from the NCA.

“The children of the Steung Meanchey are an inspiration” said Scott Neeson. “They have risen from the ashes and seize the opportunities offered to them. With so many now in high school, the NCA facilitates careers in the high demand fields of engineering, technology and the sciences. These children and youth hunger for education and the opportunity to lift their families, present and future, into safe, sustainable lives”.


The landmark building has been designed pro-bono by acclaimed New York firm CookFox Architects. The ecologically integrated design and sustainable strategies will help create a healthy environment for learning and limit the school’s water and energy usage. European hedge fund managers Marshall Wace are contributing to the fit out of the building which will feature low energy lighting, natural ventilation, open-air learning spaces, integrated bamboo, and terracotta solar shading. The school will also include international standard science laboratories.

“Our studio believes deeply in the concept of global citizenship. We are thrilled to design a state of the art educational environment to support CCF, Velcro Companies, and Marshall Wace’s passion in training the next generation of leaders.” said architect Rick Cook.

The key objectives of the NCA are to provide:

● International standard science laboratories

● Support e-Learning throughout the facility

● Open and flexible study areas

● Building layout focused on collaboration

● Large, flexible areas for community use – including community education programs

● A teacher training hub, to be used by both CCF and public school teachers

● Virtual international exchanges

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