Update on AIDS Patient Family Support Program: What’s new in 2014
As we mentioned in previous updates , we have been working for more than one year to reduce our patient family load significantly. Our reasons were two fold: not only were we aware that some families’ living situations allowed for a decrease in assistance, freeing scarce resources for other participants, but also a reaction to the continuation of serious escalation in costs in our program of necessities . Off setting reduced numbers of patient families has been the significant upward trend of housing and food costs. Rents are going up with increases of 25% to 50% not uncommon for the extremely modest single room and tiny flats we provide. Food prices also continue to rise , with an approximate average increase in costs of 25% to 30% over the past year.
At the current time, our FSP census lists 38 families with 42 children of which 36 are in school and 6 are not yet of school age. Costs of the school kits that we provide to the children have risen by approximately 20% over the past year ( books, uniform, shoes). Of the children in school, 6 are HIV positive. We are so proud to be able to tell our donors that that three of our FSP families now have children in college!
Additional challenges are the simple fact that many of the children are now older, and as is the case universally, pre-teens and teenagers require a much greater degree of supervision and monitoring to keep them safe and on track at this critical time. Our focus on keeping dependent children in school remains as a key goal for 2014.
Medical treatment and medication now broadly available has allowed many of our families to continue to maintain an extended period of relative stability allowing children to grow up in a family setting. We feel that we have been successful in achieving our basic mission of assisting fragile families ( primarily single parent) to stay together . Cambodia’s recent civil unrest been quelled by a government response making the protests illegal
Lee Bopha , our new home care coordinator has capably stepped in to her new responsibilities. Bopha, a Cambodian and trained teacher in her mid-20’s , hae worked closely for several years with Juana Encolada, our longtime and beloved home care coordinator who returned to the Maryknoll order at the end of 2013.
We are grateful that our program is able to continue on to help the children in these families strive to break the cycle of inherited poverty.
As always , we are deeply grateful to you, our generous donors for your wonderful support.
Barbara & Mark Rosasco
Update on AIDS Patient Family Support Program: Continuing the transition to independent living…
As we mentioned in our last update, our focus over the past year has turned to identifying those members of the FSP who are poorest and sickest and who have no means of support. This should reduce our patient family load significantly. We are now in the process of revising our budgets for 2014-2015. Off setting reduced numbers of patient families will be the never ending upward trend of housing and food costs, which were key factors in trying to reduce our patient family load. Over the past year, we have actively worked to assess which families should be capable, of a successful transition to independence or a transition toward receiving the support of their own extended families
Over the years during which the FSP has been active, we have grateful that due to the continuing advancement and accessibility of medical treatment to victims of HIV/AIDS. Medical treatment and medication has allowed many of our families to experience a long period of relative stability allowing children to grow up in a family setting. We feel that we have been successful in achieving our basic mission of assisting fragile families ( primarily single parent) to stay together . Our focus on keeping dependent children in school remains as a key goal for 2014.
In recent weeks, Cambodia had unexpectedly experienced significant civil unrest due to a contested national election. This seems to be developing into an ongoing situation with calls from the opposition party for daily demonstrations, which unfortunately can become unpredictably violent. In the past, this type of unrest had a spill over effect into areas such as personal safety which could impact tourism and industry and impact donor sentiment.
In 2014 we will welcome Lee Bopha as our new home care coordinator. Bopha, a Cambodian and trained teacher in her mid-20’s , has worked closely for several years with Juana Encolada, our longtime and beloved home care coordinator. Juana will be returning to her previous calling as a Sister with Maryknoll order after a 14 year hiatus, during which time she worked for us in our AIDS Patient Family Support Program.
As always , we are deeply grateful to you, our generous donors for your kind support.
Building Dreams- Our student roster is growing !
For nearly 15 years, our programs, such as our AIDS Patient Family Support Program and our Rural Assistance Program have focused on protecting children from trafficking and victimization by empowering them with education. Education combined with a stable home environment will allow them to break the cycle of inherited poverty. Our strong focus on education enabled many children to complete middle school, high school and now, thanks to this program, have the opportunity to go to college.
The potential long term impact of these efforts is immense for these students. It is our hope that this opportunity to access a college education will be the catalyst to move these students to move solidly to the middle class and a professional level lifestyle.
At the present we have retained all of the six initial students who began courses last year . They have now completed their first year and are enrolled in their second year course of study.
Of the universe of eleven possible candidates that we had identified from our Rural Assistance Program in summer 2013 , four successfully completed the application and interview process and were viewed to be ready to be able to make a successful transition from rural family life to independent living in the capital city and maintain their desired course of studies. One additional candidate withdrew from consideration as her parents were able to secure a place for her at Christian mission college.
Classes for the students have started in October and November.
In addition to the students from our Rural Assistance Program, we had identified 2 students from our Aids Patient Family Support Program ( FSP) , who have now successfully begun classes . Of the four students coming from the FSP, two are AIDS orphans, and two themselves have AIDS.
This brings our 2013 student roster up to a total of 12 students currently enrolled in colleges in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city.
For all of these students, your support is vital to help these young students to achieve their dreams of completing a college education.
Thank you for your continued support.