Oct 5, 2020

Back to school update

an aspiring young musician
an aspiring young musician


Due to COVID,  all government schools were closed from April until August. Champey was  also closed , with classes cancelled for three weeks in April, as our student numbers were greatly reduced as many Champey students were sent to the countryside to their families’ home villages. Government schools have now reopened and students are back in classes.

According to the US  CDC “COVID-19 risk in Cambodia is low. Over the last 28 days, new cases of COVID-19 in Cambodia decreased or stabilized. CDC recommends older adults, people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions, and others at increased risk for severe illness talk to their health care providers before traveling to Cambodia.”  The current " Level One"  status in Cambodia indicates that cases are stable or declining. By comparison, this is the lowest level, with Level Two being “ Alert” and Level Three “  indicating "Warning".  According to the WHO ( World Health Organization )  there have been just two COVID cases nationwide in Cambodia in recent weeks and  Cambodia continues to remain largely closed to tourist due to stringent health, financial and visa requirements.

Now that the government schools have reopened, our student attendance figures have continued to grow weekly. By the end of September, average attendance figures had reached approximately 70-75 students daily. Our students are clearly eager to get back to work.

Your continued support helps us to provide this oasis of learning and art to our students, showing them a new vison of the world and giving them new goals to which they can aspire.

We deeply appreciate your generous support!


Barbara & Mark Rosasco 

music class
music class
Sep 1, 2020

Update on Rural Assistance

It is a considerable challenge to write an update for our Rural Assistance Program.

Our April report detailed how the COVID 19 virus had created severe travel restrictions that made it difficult to run this program without the assurances of high levels of close supervision and staff support.  This has always  been a critical element of our program and one of the main reasons that we have been able to achieve so many of our goals over the past 20 years. At the present time, unlike our programs in  Phnom Penh , we do not have locally placed staff in the countryside  that are of the caliber needed  to oversee the operations of the entire program.    Although this has always been a  challenge, Mark’s frequent  on-site visits tonreview  our projects were essential to insure efficient use of our limited  resources.

Cambodia still has strict travel restrictions.   At the end of April  Cambodia was  closed to entry by Americans and Europeans, making it impossible for Mark to visit.   Consequently,   we reluctantly made the decision,   to suspend, for the time being,  further operation of our Rural Assistance Program.  Now , as then, it  is our assumption that this  suspension may   last  until  the end of calendar year 2020. 

Our decision was based on the following factors:

1) Donor funds could not then, nor now,  provide funding adequate to maintain the program at its necessary  levels. 

2) In the US and Japan ,where most of our donor base lives, the  economic impact of the coronavirus crisis  has  combined with weather extremes - ranging from typhoons, hurricanes and most recently , wildfires  in California to  create   urgently competing needs  for donor funds.

3) Consequently,  we feel that we have no choice but to continue  the suspension of our program’s operations   as we wait to see how things develop. 

We are disappointed that this is where we find ourselves, but we feel that  we have no  choice but  to  continue our suspension through year end as  we  evaluate what might be possible in the new year.   We will keep you posted on any updates as they occur.

We are deeply grateful to you,  our donors , for your  generous and long time support of this program. It is our sincere hope that we  will be able to move forward in 2021.

With heartfelt thanks for your understanding,  

Barbara & Mark Rosasco 

Aug 3, 2020

Covid 19: Impact on our students

In response to the Covid-19 threat, the Cambodian  government shut down nearly the entire economy for one month in April. This included all of  the schools and universities.  The COVID virus itself has, to date at least, not seriously impacted Cambodia and many  things are largely back to normal, but  the tourism industry and schools continue to be severely affected.  Recently the government has discussed a phased re-opening of private schools and the complete re-opening of all public schools by November.

Currently, the universities that are attended by our five Kasumisou Scholars students offer only on-line study and  they have not yet given any clear indication as to  when they will resume classroom learning. 

Ms. S  is 22 years old.  She is in the second year of her four year Bachelor’s degree program in International Relations.  All of her classes are conducted in English.  For the time being, all study is online on-line only.  After completing her Bachelor’s degree program she hopes to pursue a graduate degree with the ultimate goal of working in a government ministry.

Ms. S  is  24 years old. She is studying English language education with the ultimate goal of being an English language teacher.  She expects to complete her Bachelor’s degree program by the beginning of 2022.   Currently all of her study is being done on-line and her university has given no clear indication of when they expect to resume classroom teaching. 

Ms. C is 19 years old and she is studying in the first year of a Bachelor’s degree in business. Her school is currently only offering online instruction and like many students in Cambodia and indeed in the US,  she is finding  that  it is too difficult to manage, so she will pause and  take a gap time until in-classroom study resumes. 

Ms. O is 20 years old.  She is currently in the final month of her first year of study at a university specializing in business and government related courses.  She will start her second year of study in October. Currently, all classes at her university are offered only online.  All classes at her university are offered only in Khmer (the Cambodian language) and Ouksa does not speak any English.  Her family has received  support from our AIDS Patient Support program for many years. 

Vichet ( first name)   is 26 year old.  We have  followed the progress of Vichet for a long time. Orphaned by AIDS at a very young age, Vichet has lived with his grandmother and his high school age female cousin. This fragile family has received support from our AIDS Patient Family Support program for approximately 18 years. Vichet worked full time loading trucks ,to help support his family, while studying and  eventually, passing,  the national high school exam at age 24, a prerequisite for attending college. Vichet started college in fall of 2019, continuing to work full time as a delivery truck driver for a company distributing household cleaning and hygiene products in the Phnom Penh area. 

Currently, Vichet’s school offers only online instruction and Vichet  finds it extremely  difficult to keep up.  Under the format used by his school, students  cannot ask questions and students become lost  when there is something which requires further explanation. Vichet will temporarily stop his studies until his school resumes to its original format of in-class instruction.

Your support is important !

The COVID 19 virus  has caused significant challenges for students and  universities around the world,  interrupting the studies of dedicated,  purpose-filled students. Some students are more able  to adapt to the new world  of  on line instruction ,  while other, equally capable students find that online classes do not fully meet their needs. We are hopeful that each one of our students will be able to continue their courses of studies.

All of our students have faced and overcome remarkable challenges to get to this point. Your continued support , believing in their ability to succeed, is important as they continue to work through  today’s challenges, toward their goals.

We are deeply grateful.


Barbara  & Mark Rosasco

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