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