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.
Nov 25, 2012

Why we are working so hard?

Your support DOES make a difference!

We are often asked how we know can tell if our programs really make a difference. Sometimes it seems that the changes are so slow as to be almost invisible.

Bit by bit, week by week, child by child, we  help  fragile families in our AIDS Patient Family Support Program stay together, insure that  they  have enough to eat, have access to medical care, and that  the children are safe to survive and thrive. And, we keep the kids in school. The progress is agonizingly slow, but the wait is worth it!   The combined  success of these efforts goes far beyond simple survival.   

This year, 2012 , we saw 5 students  in our Aids Patient Family Support Program graduate from High School and enter college .We were fortunate to find sponsors for that  first year's tuition.  In 2013 we have 6 more students on track to graduate from High School. We have  another 13 now in grades 9 through 11.  This is an amazing result from a group of  just   90 school age in the FSP program. We have another 4 students in a rural project in Prey Veng Province who have also just graduated from High School.

Let's put it in context: Many of the moms in our FSP program  are illiterate and they do not understand the importance of education. This is where we come in.  We get it! We know that just 27% of kids in Cambodia graduate from high school and  only 40% of students finish middle school,  so getting through grade 12 is a big accomplishment ! We have emphasized education from the beginning and now it is really beginning to show results.  Yes! We are so proud of our kids! From " throw away, homeless slum  kid" to high school graduate! Now onward to college student!

The academic success of our FSP students has all been made possible by the generous contributions  of you, our supporters.

Now, we face  a  new challenge ahead:  funding college .  Truthfully, we never planned for it. It was not on our horizon. Yes, we thought that perhaps one or two kids might make it, but 15??

We will need to find 2013  funding for our 5  current college students , plus college funding for 6 more new  high school graduates in 2013 . We also have 4 students from our Rural Assistance  program ( wish serves the rural poor)  who are also dreaming of attending college. From modest rural families, two new High School graduates  are  working  construction for $ 3.00 a day to support themselves. College dreams will be lost unless we can raise funding for these and our other high school graduates.

Though costs are low - about $ 500-$800  per year for tuition and books per student and room and board for some,  it adds up   to a total of 15 college students in all in 2013!

We have just posted a new  project # 12004 , Build Dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College which will become an ongoing program to help our high school graduates and  students realize their dreams and go on to college.

What a journey: from homeless and  poor in an FSP family to college student. Together, we can accomplish such  amazing things and this is a wonderful example!

Thank you  for making this possible for our kids! They are your kids too. Your support has gotten them this far. Let's take them the rest of the way!

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

PS. Please check with your company to see if they will match any or part of your 2012 donations.

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Nov 23, 2012

The challenge:Work for $ 3 a day or go to college?

This is a brand new project  which has been a long time in the making.  From the beginning, Kasumisou Foundation has emphasized education ( This is a vast understatement !) We have urged the  children in our programs to work hard in school and work toward the ultimate goal: a high school diploma and a  possibility of college.

Now, for a few of the students, the moment  has come. They have managed , against great odds, to graduate from highschool and they dream of college. The challenge: no money. The reality: even with a High School diploma a student from the countryside with few resources has few challenges. Two of our students have taken work ta $ 3.00 per day - hoping to be  manage to live and still able to save something for college!

Let's help these kids.

Do they resign themselves to working for $ 3.00 per day or can we help them go to college and have a real chance at breaking free of the poverty cycle?

We have a unique opportunity to make a difference and build futures. These kids have already done the hardest part- let's help them to succeed!

 

Thank you,

 

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

Oct 28, 2012

I would like to ask one question.....

Last week  we received  this email from an 8th grade student  attending an international school in Asia

"I am  writing a report on responses to the challenges of HIV/AIDS in Cambodia. I would like to ask one question, Of all the HIV/AIDS project  how do you determine if your projects are successful and do you think that you have achieved what you set out to achieve?"

The text below is taken from our reply the student:


1) When we first started our AIDS Patients Family Support Program in 2000,

  • there was very little care available for poor and homeless AIDS patients in Phnom Penh
  • the life saving antiretroviral medicines which were in use in developed nations were not  available in Cambodia. 
  • many of the patients who entered our program  died within weeks or months of joining us.
  •  our primary goal was to help these women to live as comfortably as possible  and  
  • to die with some dignity inside of their own homes and  not lying on a sidewalk somewhere in Phnom Penh. 


I feel confident in saying that we fully met that goal as we were able to provide adequate food support and modest housing for all of our women - most of whom had been homeless when they first entered our program.  


2) After housing and food support, our "original" next most important goal for the program was

  • to enroll the children of our AIDS afflicted women (some of those children were also suffering from AIDS) in school and
  • require that they attend school rather than begging on the streets. 


I can definitely confirm that we have met that goal as nearly all of the children in our program did enroll in school and most of them surpassed the grade level (approximately grade 6 or 7) at which poor children in Phnom Penh typically drop out of school. 


Last year, for the first time, some of our students completed grade 12 and passed the rigorous examination required to receive a high school graduation certificate in Cambodia.  This is a remarkable achievement for children who had formerly been homeless and destitute.  Three of our FSP  students  are currently attending universities in Phnom Penh with sponsorship provided by our program. 

This is a remarkable achievement for Cambodian children from such disadvantaged backgrounds.


3) About ten years ago the  free antiretroviral medicines,provided by the U.N.'s Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria dramatically  came to Camboia and increased the life expectancies of our patients.

 Now, instead of fighting to keep mom's  alive, our  energy is to  help  their children  succeed in school.  This is a constant challenge because many of our children, having spent part of their young lives homeless and living on the streets,  lack an understanding of the role which education can play in their lives.  Their mothers - with some exceptions - are largely uneducated women, many of whom cannot even write their own names.Instilling in our children an appreciation for the importance of education is a constant challenge. 

 Despite our best efforts, we do not and cannot succeed with every child.  However, most of our children are attending school and a many of them have excelled, often reaching a class ranking in the top five students in classes which typically include 40 to 50 students.  

 Here again, the results speak for themselves and I am confident to say that most of our kids have achieved education milestones which would have been unthinkable without the intervention of our program.


.... the work which we do brings many frustrations and disappointments but we never doubt the overall success of our efforts and the impact which those efforts continue to have toward improving the lives and future prospects of some of Cambodia's poorest and most disenfranchised people suffering from AIDS.


If you have any other questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact us.


Mark Rosasco
President, Kasumisou Foundation
Menlo Park, Ca., U.S.A. 

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