Archive for September, 2010

Recently Launched: The Ponheary Ly Foundation

Monday, September 20th, 2010


The Ponheary Ly Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating children in Cambodia. Founded in 2005, Ponheary Ly, a killing-fields survivor and former teacher, teamed up with Lori Carlson, a traveler from Austin Texas, to change kids lives. In Cambodia, children can attend public primary school for free, but the reality is many don’t. Extreme poverty, illiteracy and poor infrastructure conspire to keep kids out of school. Ponheary and Lori tackled the poverty problem head-on. By helping the poorest families with back-to-school packs – uniforms, shoes and supplies – they grew the support network to 5 schools and over 2000 students.

In order to raise funds to support these children, the foundation reaches donors through their website, Lori Carlson maintained a Joomla site herself; as the site grew, she found simple tasks not so simple. Doug Griswold, CEO of Llamawerx, became involved in 2007 helping out pro-bono. The nomination of Ponheary Ly as a CNN Hero promised a surge of new visitors demanding more information, simpler navigation and up-to-date content.

According to Doug, “Lori and I talked about updating the site… making it easier to maintain… so many times. One day I suggested moving to WordPress. She responded I was the 51st person to suggest that. I could tell she was frustrated and too busy to take this on. The members in Cambodia have real day-to-day issues to take care of, so I decided to do something about it. I found a WordPress theme, started modifying it and added some content. When I felt there was good representation, I presented it. The first question was, ‘How am I going to move all the content?’ It’s true, over the years, the foundation accumulated a lot of content. With an automated way to move it, we were facing a lot of work. We all agreed this would be good for the foundation, so I volunteered to manually recreate the pages.”

With the new website, we’ve improved:

  1. Simpler tool-set
  2. More modern look-and-feel
  3. Easier to use
  4. Search-engine friendly

In September 2010, we turned-the-switch taking the new website live. Reaction has been very positive. Foundation members are creating more stories, posting more pictures, and keeping the content fresh. Analytics show visitors are up and search engine indexing has improved. Overall a successful transition!

For more information about the Ponheary Ly Foundation, visit the website at If you can help, please make a donation.