Kasumisou Foundation

To assist the poorest of the poor by providing essential living support to families and children impacted by extreme poverty and/or HIV-AIDS in Cambodia.
Apr 24, 2013

A new chapter begins...Progress report

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!

 

Barbara Rosasco   

Mar 29, 2013

Mark's recent trip to Cambodia

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!

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

 

 

Feb 25, 2013

Building Dreams....one student at a time

Building Dreams- One student at a time

Mark will arrive in Cambodia  next week and meet with this project  group of 4  prospective college students. A part of his discussion will focus on their own abilities to identify any possible source of tuition funding and also what possible resources they have identified to reduce housing costs , assuming that we can raise the funds for tuition.

When we first posted this project we had  high hopes of raising funds to help send these and other students like them  on to local college. In Cambodia, costs of education in Western terms are very low, with tuition running only in the hundreds of dollars per year per student. Nursing tends to the be highest tuition, running at about $ 800 per year. Although low by western standards, these are astronomical sums for students to raise, and there are few lending sources available.

Let’s look at some of the figures:  a day laborer earns about $ 3.00 per day in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city. Assuming annual tuition costs of $400 per year, this means that a “ typical” college student would need to work more than 130  man days over 21 weeks to earn the tuition amount.  However,  this  $ 3.00 per day, assuming a 6 day work week,  creates a monthly  income of $ 120  which must also pay for  food and rent. Even in poor countries, slum living can easily cost about $ 100 per month for food, rent, utilities and transportation to a job.   Consequently, even if a student worked full time and could manage to save  $ 20 per month, it would take  nearly  2 years to save basic tuition. The economics of the situation prevent even the most ambitious student from working to earn enough money to  pay tuition and room and board.

To date, we have received 2 donations for our 4 students. Regretably,   we can't commit to helping these students unless we are able to identify and/or raise sources of tuition funding.  We are not giving up, but we are delayed in being able to report actual " student" progress.

Receiving a college degree can help to  propel these students from a life of unstable day labor to a middle class stability.

We currently  have 4 students from our Family Support program , 2011 high school graduates,  in college. Fortunately, we have found sponsors for them.  We have another 6 students on track to graduate from High School  in 2013  as well as these 4 students from our Rural Assistance Program .  Our great hope is that having managed to graduate from High School, we can help facilitate these students achieve their dream of a college education.

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