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Archive

On the Road with K.I.D.S. - Where does the money go?

Feb 13, 2013

Dear Friends,

We have just returned from eight days on the road and visited a number of projects and people that K.I.D.S supports. Our first stop was Takhmau,  just outside Phnom Penh, where K.I.D.S. supports 11 young people with their education; 4 are in high school and 7 in university. They are a really delightful bunch who have been vetted by Sinat (the wonderful man who oversees the program) by a criteria of ambition, commitment and sadly poverty. This year we purchased two laptops to add to the PC purchased the year before last as all the older students need access to computers for school. We also met with Sen, who was the first K.I.D.S. graduate from university. After graduating Sen was an english teacher, is now happily married and runs her own business in the form of a dance school for both foreigners and Khmers. There are several others who have moved on and are now working and or married and helping their families. So far this program has been very successful thanks to Sinat's supervision and encouragement. For those of you who have been here you know that sometimes the heat, dust, bumpy rutted roads and sad sights can be a bit of a struggle at times. However there are the profound rewards that make it all worthwhile. As we were leaving our meeting with the students, a young woman named Veasna, who is studying accounting, linked arms with us looked into our eyes and said "thank you for my future". These are the moments that lift the spirit, erase the bug bites, food poisoning and long hours tending to K.I.D.S. and make it worthwhile. Our work together with you, without a doubt, has changed futures of many children and young adults this year and in the past.


Our next stop was Stung Treng, where we connected with the Stung Treng Women's Weaving Development Center. This project is one of our favourites, it is so well run, very progressive and heads above other programs in terms of worker benefits. They provide maternity and bereavement leave, employee incentives, stat holidays, on site daycare and lunch program for both the children and the women weavers. This year they just implemented workers' compensation complete with death benefits so they continue to maintain and move forward; being miles ahead of the private sector and light years ahead of any government jobs. It is one of the largest employers of women in the province.


This year the Weaving Centre, in partnership with a UK NGO, finished building a new mother's and children centre. Destitute and victimised mothers and children can come and live in a safe environment where the mothers learn new skills to get their lives back on track while their children attend school, many for the first time . We were able to bring lots of educational supplies, toys, and training equipment for the new centre. We are implementing an agricultural training program where the women will create and maintain a community garden for the centre. K.I.D.S will also fund stipends for the mothers to learn to weave.  The concept of keeping mothers and their children together is one we fully support, as many times in this country families are torn about by poverty as often mothers cannot afford to feed their children. We are pleased to be involved in this innovative new program. 


K.I.D.S. continues to fully support the Srey Po Village free school by providing: salaries for the Weaving Cooperative kindergarten teachers, support a lunch program for weavers and children as well as school supplies and clothing for a clothing bank. K.I.D.S. is also supporting about 65 poor community children to attend government elementary and high schools.

kids_at_school.jpg

  

We met with the teachers from both the weaving centre on site kindergarten and the Srey Po free school. The five teachers are a really terrific group of women who are committed to teaching and caring for the children. There are older children who attend the school however the program is now focusing mostly on the preschool and kindergarten levels to get the children off to a good start. Chan, the Director of the Women's Weaving Training and Development program, and the teachers were telling us that once the children leave Srey Po School to go to the mainstream government school they are doing much better than the other children as they have had good nutrition and are well on the way to reading and writing. The children are ahead of their peers and are often the top one to five in their classes due to their head start. The children at Srey Po were very happy and full of life except for one little five year old boy who stood against the wall, very sad looking. When we asked about him the teacher told us that both his parents died in the past three months, his aunt took him in however she breaks rock in a quarry somewhere in the forest and has to haul him along, this makes it very difficult for the boy and heartbreaking to see his traumatised little face, thank goodness he at least has the school to support and feed him. The staff are looking to find a solution to his situation.


On our last day we decided to go on a boat trip down the Mekong with the teachers and Chan; as we often don't get to do much but meet with the teachers, kids, parents and sign contracts. We travelled by boat for hours and saw the rare Irrawaddy dolphins and visited a beautiful waterfall. We had lunch by the side of the river and all took in the beauty of life along this amazing waterway. Although the boat seats were wooden and hard  and the hike up to the waterfalls rather gruelling in the heat of the day the teaches were smiling ear to ear. In all their time living next to the Mekong they had never had the opportunity to have such an experience.  We watched the sun set and then had a great dinner at the Weaving Centre together. The teachers and the director toasted K.I.D.S. and all our supporters and we celebrated this great partnership.

  

All the best to you and yours,

Adrianne and Rick

 

 

 
Kids International Development Society
     KIDS                

  



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