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Wrapping it up in Cambodia

Mar 12, 2012

Hello Everyone,

Our time here is running short and this will be our final update.

As in previous years one of our favourite things to do is to take the girl’s from Samnang House and a group of boys from another shelter (that we support as best we can) to the Cambodian Cultural Center. They have many shows and exhibits about Cambodian life and how ethnic minorities live. Once we are in the gate the large group of children scatter in all directions and yet somehow we seem to meet up again throughout the day for the various shows and for the picnic dinner in the bleachers of the gala performance. The kids love it and so do we.

kids_dancing_.jpg

The girl’s home is getting closer to completion (see picture) and everyone is getting excited that they will soon have more space not to mention the relief of not having to live on a construction site with all the related dust and noise. You Vath, the director, had the blessing ceremony with the monks the other day, as she wanted us to be able to attend. Later that evening we had great fun in the front yard where there was a tent set up for friends, we had dinner and danced, a great time was had by all.

kids_girls_home_comleted.jpg

There are a couple of schools that we have been assisting in the country side north of Siem Reap the past two years. There are many children here who were at risk due to lack of food security. Last year we set up a food program at the school to assist a 100 plus vulnerable children. The principal was happy to report that the children are much healthier than before and it was easy for us to see the difference when we were there visiting. The water situation there is not good as there is arsenic in the water and we are hoping that next year we can build a large water filter so the children can have access to clean drinking water.

After leaving the clinic and carrying on by boat up the Stung Sen river we continued on to Stung Treng province to visit the women’s weaving cooperative; where we support the onsite kindergarten and daycare for the weaver’s children with two teachers and educational materials. It is always great to see our friends at SWDC. The weaving center, though a bit slow this year due a reduction in sales because of the world economy, is still an amazing force in the province that provides a good work environment, fair wages and stability for many women and their families. Srey Po Free School, in the village behind the center, is the school that K.I.D.S. built four years ago and continues to fund totally. The children attending the school were children that were at risk due to lack of nutrition and many were malnourished. It is great to see how the children have changed; they have rounded out and are full of energy and happy as they go about their day learning to read, write and play. Last year we formed a parent teacher advisory committee to give the parents an investment in the school and be more involved. The parents and teachers (see picture of teachers) meet each month and discuss the children’s needs and progress. We met with the parents to see how things were going. One father represented the parents at the meeting. He was extremely grateful, happy and a little emotional as he expressed how the parents appreciate that they have a school in their village, as before there was no option for educating their children. All the parents gave a round of applause for the teachers, for the school and for the increase in their children’s health.

On the outskirts of Siem Reap we assist an organisation called New Hope that a few short years ago had a tiny school and assisted a few people with home repairs and mosquito nets. They have grown tremendously and now educate 700 plus children at their school and help many more through their clinic, rice drop and vocational programs. We have helped them with many different needs over the years. This year there were four small children, recently orphaned as their mother died of liver failure. New Hope lacked the budget to bring them into their shelter home. We met these beautiful kids and have provided funding to keep them supported for a year with education, medicine and living expenses, this will give New Hope time to either secure more funding or find a safe and suitable home for them. Thanks to Kerry the children are receiving lots of love and support.

One place we will miss this year due to time constraints is going to Mae Sot on the Thailand/Myanmar border and visiting Agape school. The border is a difficult place where thousands of children and families have fled to escape danger and persecution across the border in Myanmar/Burma. We have however arranged to transfer funds to replace a roof over the heads of hundreds of children at one school and will continue the meal program for the children at Agape for another year.

While in Phnom Penh we visited the eleven children and youth that K.I.D.S. supports with various levels of education, from elementary school to three of them in university. One of the young adults, Sen, graduated university last year and has moved on to find work teaching English and has also opened a traditional dance school (see picture, Sen in white in the front). Sen has had a difficult life to say the least; she was born in a refugee camp for survivors of the Cambodian genocide and orphaned there at a young age. Where most children spend their childhood at play and school Sen would be sneaking under the barbed wire fence evading armed guards to forage in the forest for food to fend off hunger. Thanks to a wonderful man named Sinath, Sen and about 50 other orphaned children from the camp were the first Cambodian children to be repatriated back to Cambodia once the dust and horror settled in the country; never the less their train from the border was still attacked on its way south, luckily no one was hurt. Sen was later adopted by Sinath and his wife. Sinath now helps us to implement the education program for the children in Phnom Penh; in short he is amazing however this is Sen’s story. Sen continued to persevere and study despite a late start, when we met her she had a dream to go to university and we were able to help her fulfill her aspiration. While she studied she also tutored the younger children K.I.D.S. supported. Sen had a surprise for us when we arrived and introduced us to her fiancé, a very nice young man from France. They will marry in France in May and then both return to Cambodia. When they return they have plans to start a small NGO to assist more children and give back as well as continue working at their jobs. It is a beautiful thing to see the sparkle in their eyes and their love for each other, but most of all that Sen has triumphed through incredible odds and danger and is now a bright and happy young woman full of life and promise. A very happy story for us all.

We are in Bangkok resting for a few days before we head home. Doing this work we witness much sadness and difficulty; however we also witness the compassion, generosity, dedication and selflessness of others both here and at home, which is truly inspiring for us. Thanks to all of you who have contributed in so many ways to the work this year and in the past. There are many healthier children (see picture) and families, many children receiving an education and 400 plus children receiving a daily meal through food programs provided by K.I.D.S.

Kids_cambodia.jpg

As Sen has proved education works, persistence pays and compassion towards others is immeasurable.

Your contribution to this work is priceless and we thank you.

Rick and Adrianne

 


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 Kids International Development Society
     KIDS                

 



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