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.
Jun 13, 2016

The price of garlic...

Nhieng and her family
Nhieng and her family

GlobalGiving Annual Bonus Match Day is June 15 !

  • Bonus Match Day  ( 9:00-23:59  EDTon June 15, 2016 
  • There are $110,000 in matching funds available.
  • Max donation  of $1,000 per donor per organization ( not per project!)

 

The “big story" and the price of garlic....

Project updates are sometimes hard to write because much of the work that we do is quiet and not very exciting to read about. A large part of what  we do is to function as “ family” for our families, helping them to help themselves. While we always like to tell a story that has a shows a concrete example of the benefits  of our efforts,  such as getting and keeping children in school, sometimes the “big story” is simply about being there to offer the  support that allows a family to function instead of breaking apart.

Introducing Nhieng

Nhieng’s family has been a part of our program for a number of years. Nhieng has AIDS. She is  about 40 years old and  she works hard to  support to her three children. We met Nhieng some years ago  in the mid  2000s  before the ready availability of antiviral AIDS medications and we expected that she, like so many mothers in our program, would survive just a year or two. Like other families in her situation, life changed radically when  new antiretroviral AIDS medicines became available  and her stable living situation supported by our program, qualified her to access these life prolonging drugs and  medical treatment.  Now, several years later, she is still with us.  Her health, despite AIDS, remains good  enough to allow her to try to  support her family which consists of a son from a first marriage and two other young children from a subsequent relationship. The son is now turning 18. He completed grade 8, but dropped out of school in grade nine. Suffering from severe depression, he stays at home.   Her other children are a daughter  age 6 and a son age 3. To the best of our knowledge, the children are not HIV positive.

Despite her HIV status and difficult  life,  Nhieng is not a quitter. She works hard to try to support her family by  peeling  garlic in a produce market near to her home.  She receives Cambodian  Riel 3,000 (about $0.75) per kilo ( 2.2 pounds) .  Nhieng  works all day, 7 days per week, doing this work.  She can complete up to about 3 kg per day earning about  $2.25 per day or about $68 per month , less if she is unwell and unable to work. Obviously, this is not enough to support a family of four but Nhieng continues to work hard to help her family and the support from our program of about $ 140 per month makes life bearable by providing shelter, additional money for  food  , access to  social support and continuing access to medical care. Beyond this, her younger children are safe from trafficking and they will  have an opportunity to  access the education so needed by children  to break free of this cycle of poverty.

Our program to help moms with HIV/AIDS to support their children is not a headline making, quick fix program, but a program that recognizes that it is too late for these moms to build a successful life for themselves. Instead , we focus on providing humanitarian support to keep these fragile families together, keep children safe and give us time to help the children in the families to build a brighter future through education.

Your support helps us to help our families. We continue to support a family for an average of about $ 140 per month. We are deeply grateful to you all for your generosity  and we encourage you to consider making a donation during the upcoming GlobalGiving Annual Bonus Match Day on June 15 where your donation can receive a bonus match of 50% on a donation of up to $1000 per organization.

Thank you again for your generous support of our families.

 

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

Links:

Jun 10, 2016

Setting the stage....

Several members of our youthful team at Champey
Several members of our youthful team at Champey

 GlobalGiving Annual Bonus Match Day is June 15  from 9:00 am New York time !

  • Bonus Match Day  ( 9:00-23:59  EDTon June 15, 2016 
  • There are $110,000 in matching funds available.
  • Max donation  of $1,000 per donor per organization ( not per project!)

About Champey Academy

For more than 15 years, Kasumisou Foundation has offered classes to disadvantaged children and teens impacted by HIV/AIDS and poverty. Our  Champey Academy of Arts, which opened in January 2013, teaches students about their rich cultural heritage and builds individual and  team skills,  developing and utilizing  the many wonderful talents of our students.

A long journey to today

When you watch our videos that show the stage at Champey and you see the beautifully painted back drop and well costumed dancers, it is  hard to remember back to January 2013 when we opened Champey. There was no stage, just a courtyard and small classrooms.

When we talk about building and utilizing the skills of our young team, we are talking serious business. The stage that you see, our new patio  canopy covering, the canvas stage backdrop  are all the results of our student’s efforts.Several of our college students, who work part time at Champey, grew up on farms in Prey Veng province and have practical experience in small building projects.

There is a saying that help comes to those who help themselves and our student’s hard work is tangible proof of that sentiment. Now, after three years, our students have a stage, scenery and the ability to practice and stage performances and allows indoor classrooms to be used for painting and drawing classes.

Setting the stage has been  a team effort

  • Our inside space is small, but we do have a courtyard, so our students built our stage   using  the traditional wooden sleeping platforms that most Cambodians still use today.  By cutting the legs off of the platforms, the strong platforms were then sanded smooth and joined together, these platforms give our students an ample stage at a cost of about $1000.
  • Other students from our drawing and art program painted the canvas backdrop.
  • Cambodia has a rainy season, which could limit use of the stage, so the next project was to build a secure canopy using heavy industrial plastic tarps and steel  cables to shield the stage from rain at a cost of about $600
  • Our students most recently to built a thatched canopy to provide cover for a seating area at a cost of  $425.

Our classes in traditional Cambodian dance, music and art are all  free of charge. Our goals are to help our students to foster pride of culture  and  to  build a sense of  individual empowerment.   Our program also offers safe and suitable jobs for high school and college  students  ranging in scope from apprentice teacher to guest relations , greeters, maintenance and   performing  administrative tasks.

Our staff utilizes many of our students as apprentice workers who receive small stipends to cover the costs of their transportation and to give them a small income for personal use. Some of our youthful team are students in our college program who earn money for basic necessities and a few of the college age boys live at the school. Despite the fact that the costs for every aspect of managing Champey is run at minimal cost, in aggregate it costs about $ 45,000 per year to run the school.

We hope that you will join us on the GlobalGiving Match day in continued support of Champey Academy. We are deeply grateful to you all for your generous support.

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

Building our stage
Building our stage
Trying out the stage for size
Trying out the stage for size
Our stage in use for classes
Our stage in use for classes
New thatch canopy to cover "guest" seating area
New thatch canopy to cover "guest" seating area
Under the canopy
Under the canopy
Our students & student painted stage backdrop
Our students & student painted stage backdrop

Links:

May 26, 2016

The Price of Rice

Since 1999, Kasumisou Foundation has provided care and support to fragile families and children impacted by extreme poverty and  HIV/ AIDS  in and around Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital city. In 2000 we  began  an attempt to create a formalized effort to provide homeless , destitute women  and mothers afflicted by mid-to-late stages of AIDS with basic housing, monthly food support and provide assistance  for the school expenses for school age dependent children.

Now, in 2016,  we continue to focus on providing the destitute women, mothers  and children in our program with modest housing, school expenses, basic medicines, transportation to and from medical appointments, counseling encouragement and food support.   We  have been supporting our families on just $140 per month on average.

The title of this project update is “ The Price of Rice” and we   would like to discuss  its impact on our program.

These days, in the US  we hear a lot about droughts in various parts of the US and the anticipation of El Nino rains to break the prolonged drought cycle . In the developed world, this drought  has been  a serious matter, with areas such as California imposing severe water rationing. For others, in the developing world  , such as SE Asia and parts of South America, the drought  situation may likely soon develop into a food emergency.

Impact of a “ super drought”

The flipside of the El Nino rains that recently came to the Western US has been  the impact of a "super"  La Nina in the southern hemisphere . It is causing a “super drought” in South East Asia,  and severe drought  conditions in Cambodia, such as have   not been  seen in nearly 10 years.  More importantly, the coming  rainy season is projected to have such a lack of rain as to be unable to irrigate the next rice just as global rice stocks stand a ultra low levels not seen in a decade.  According to a May 9,2016  article in Barron's "drought, floods ,and historically low global inventories have rice market experts worried" that the price of rice could double if rice harvests ( rains)  fail. World rice prices have already started to rise already beginning local impact.

Imagine how your own finances would be impacted if your food costs doubled over the course of a few weeks or months. Such stress is unthinkable for the families in our program and consequently, we anticipate that  our current funding costs  to support our families may rise significantly.

A failure of the rice crop creates dire conditions for the general population, including severe hunger, and even starvation  for families and children who,  already living on the edge of survival, will be unable to afford to buy nt adequate food .

Additionally,  a hunger driven  forced migration , could  bring thousands of desperate peasant farmers to the cities in search of work.  There is a likelihood that may there more children trafficked and other impacts  as  desperate families experience   the impact of sexually transmitted diseases (HIV/AIDS)  caused by  prostitution and trafficking  and creating an even greater need for the services of programs like ours and forcing our operating costs ever higher.   It is a dreadful cycle that we gone through before and one which takes families and communities year for recovery.

On average and at any given time, our program now serves approximately 35 to 40 AIDS afflicted women and their approximately 70 dependent children. We also continue to serve some AIDS orphans who are the children of women who died while in the care of our Family Support Program (FSP).  All of this is possibly only because of the kind  generosity of our donors.

Import Notice:  Make your donation even more effective on the  June 15 Bonus Match Day

June 15 is  a GlobalGiving Match Day, where your contribution can receive a match of 50%.  Your continued generosity can help us to continue to serve the fragile families in our programs  during the challenging months ahead.

Thank you,

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

 

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