Building dreams: The challenge of trying to make dreams come true.
Matching Grant Opportunity: Please consider supercharging your donation, by making a donation on June 12, 2013 from 9:00am Eastern Daylight time during the GlobalGiving Match day. Global Giving will give " Super Star" projects such as ours a 50% match on donations up to $1,000.
We have not given up on our goal to help rural Cambodian students fulfill their dreams of attending college, although over the past 6 months we have only raised $ 160 in total for this project.
None the less, we have taken the plunge to help these students . Had we not done so, more than likely our four students would have drifted to meaningless work for rock bottom wages and lost their opportunity to realize their dreams of attending college and building a successful middle class life.
Here is a brief update on our students:
All four of these students came from our Rural Assistance Program in Bapnom Province, Prey Veng, Cambodia and all four were active members of the student dance program sponsored by Kasumisou Foundation at Babnom High School. The student dance program provided instruction in traditional Cambodian dance free of charge to any student who wanted to participate.
Additionally, these four students participated in Kasumisou Foundation’s “ Green Champions Project ” a student- led program to reforest local areas. Students created nurseries for tree seedlings, transplanted the seedlings along a long treeless dusty road ( about a mile long) commonly used as a main pedestrian and bicycle thoroughfare. Our students tended the young trees, watering them and protecting them from destruction by foraging live stock. The Green Champions project objective is to provide trees for shade by reintroducing pioneer native tree species . These trees will also create improved biomass to help to enrich depleted soil and will encourage birds and other animals to re-establish a presence . These factors will combine and lead to the long term improvement of an area that had been subjected to decades of land degradation and mismanagement.
As a result of their academic achievement and their participation in these two rigorous programs , our four students had been selected as those most likely to succeed by the teacher overseeing these programs at Bapnom High School. These four students not only graduated from high school, but showed their skill, talent , self-discipline and leadership through their continuing participation in these two programs.
Born Laiy ~ Female, Age 19
Nhes Sor Sdoeurn ~ Female – age 19
Chhoun Lean You ~ Male – age 22
Hun Serey ~ Male – age 19
If any of these four students wish to return home to visit their families, the flat bed trucks that serve as shared “ taxi” will take 4 to 6 hours each way and cost $ 14 round trip. The students ride bicycles to school and they are responsible for all of their personal expenses including clothing.
We hope that once you have a chance to learn more about our students, that you too, will want to become a part of their amazing success story.
Thank you for your generous support of our efforts to help these students!
Barbara & Mark Rosasco
A work in progress !
Champey Academy of Arts ( CAA) started dance classes at our new location in Phnom Penh in January. Champey is the Cambodia name for the tropical plumeria flower. Our new location is centrally located and is just a short walk of one block to the Royal Palace, the National Museum and Royal University of Fine Arts.
Our inaugural class included a group of approximately 20 young girls age 9 to 16 from a shelter for abused and formerly trafficked children in Phnom Penh. Now just three months later our Champey Academy of Arts ( CAA) l continues to take shape.
From a just a handful of children, our classes have now expanded to include morning and afternoon sessions with attendance of about 20 to 30 students per class. Instruction is presented 6 days per week. Not only does the program of dance and music at Champey teach children about their rich cultural heritage, it keeps children off the streets during their free time. Cambodian children attend school for a morning session or an afternoon session, and this alternates each month, so non-school hours are filled with a rigorous curriculum of classic Cambodian dance. The classes are filled with children from NPOs as well as neighborhood kids whose parents recognize that Champey provides opportunity while helping to assist the challenge of idle children who are often left unattended while parents work.
As school holidays in late summer approach, we will be working to develop additional activities, including drawing, to enrich and occupy these children.
Classes are offered free of charge.
Mark is in Cambodia this week to evaluate progress to date and plan for the coming months.
Again, all of this is possible because of your generous support.
Stay tuned for more news!
Inside the FSP: The Important Role of Reviews and Assessments
Mark arrived home from his recent quarterly trip to Cambodia on March 13, where he had spent a week reviewing our programs, including the AIDS Patient Family Support Program ( FSP) , which helps indigent families impacted by extreme poverty and HIV/AIDS.
From the beginning of our FSP in 2000, we have taken a long term approach to keep families together , to prevent trafficking and to keep kids in school to help to break the cycle of inherited poverty. Over the past 18 months, we have conducted an extensive and careful review of each family’s current status, stability and potential for financial independence outside our program. During that time we identified 8 families who over the past 6 to 12 months are gradually being phased out of our care.
Several families are headed by single mothers with AIDS who are now be in a position to resume independent living. These are mothers who have benefited from our support for as long 10 years and who now have raised, educated and proudly launched their children into a stable lower middle class life. Their children, now grown, are in a position to care for and support their mothers. For a few others, we felt that they should be gently moved out of our programs assistance arena over time for specific reasons. For example, one family was asked to leave due to a serious violation of our rules, by seeking support from two organizations at the same time without permission from either , or put differently, “ double dipping” . Another is a mother who was removed from our program because she ran away after stealing money from her neighbors.
We view these periodic long term assessments as a vital and natural part of the FSP. They free up scarce resources and it honors our commitment to our donors that we will carefully monitor all expenditures to be certain that funds are used, to the best of our abilities, optimally and ethically.
One of our mothers recently passed away quite unexpectedly, leaving a 12 year old daughter who was temporarily cared for by other members of the FSP while our home care coordinator worked extremely hard to find a placement in a reliable institution. We will continue to monitor her situation . One of our great successes is that our Home Care Team has worked hard from the very beginning to foster a community attitude among our families sharing scarce resources, emotional support as well as help and friendship.
Mark reviews the status of each family every quarter and any decisions that are made are implemented carefully so as not to undo what may be years of slow progress. Structure and discipline are applied with large amounts of understanding, accommodation and compassion.
We hope that this progress report has given you some insights into the operation and challenges that we face. We are grateful for your support and it is our honor to have our efforts supported by you. We could not do this without you!