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.
Aug 2, 2016

Meet our newest candidate for college graduation !

Kasumisou Scholars - Hun
Kasumisou Scholars - Hun

Old Proverb: Give  a hungry man a fish  and you  feed  him today. Teach   him to fish and he can  feed himself  for a lifetime.

Important info

  •  USAID website shows only 21% of  students even enroll in high school in Cambodia.
  •  Lacking education, low skilled, migrant day laborers  often earn just $ 3.00 per day in Phnom Penh,  Cambodia’s capital city.

The Magic Moment – Update on Kasumisou Scholars

We love our college program, Kasumisou Scholars because of what we  call the “magic moment”.  This is the moment  when the years of hard work and study , hope, despair, encouragement and  sacrifice all  come together to produce a new college graduate.  Our college students, at every turn, have  faced incalculable odds against their success. Yet, here they are, one by one, reaching  that “ magic moment”,  where success has arrived, breaking the cycle of inherited poverty.  Their accomplishments are truly  cause for celebration!

Meet Hun: our  newest candidate for college  graduation .

Hun entered our college program in 2012 at age 19 and came to us from  rural Prev Veng Province, Ba Phnom Province.

Hun was one of four students in our college program to come from Ba Phnom High School  arts program’s first class. Like the other students, a combination of dogged determination, courage to try new things and hard study propelled Hun forward to college and our Kasumisou Scholars program.

Hun’s family are subsistence farmers of very modest means. None the less, Hun proved to be a determined student and not only completed high school  but distinguished himself by actively  participating in what would become an  award winning student arts program that we sponsored at Ba Phnom High School. In 2011, Ba Phnom’s art program took first place from over 100 groups and was awarded Best Youth Khmer Arts program in Cambodia in 2011 by Prime Minister Hun Sen.  Hun was one of about 40 students in the high school who participated and studied   traditional Cambodian dance and music

Hun and other students, through the arts program, were also encouraged by us to engage with their community and  Hun joined a green initiative organized by Kasumisou Foundation called Green Champions. Several of the arts students helped plant thousands of tree seedlings along a one-kilometer stretch of barren, but regularly trafficked road connecting Ba Phnom town to more rural areas. Months later, hundreds of the tree seedlings  had survived because of our students’ diligence and hard work and today the trees are tall and green, providing needed bio mass to enrich the soil and offering a gift of cooling shade to travelers along the road.

As a participant in the Kasumisou Scholars program, Hun entered Norton University, a private university in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to study Business Management in 2012.   Once enrolled, Hun lived at our Champey Academy arts school, sleeping  in a classroom with another student because he was unable to afford to rent a room  and he earned a stipend of about $100 per month  doing odd jobs for the school  to cover all of his personal  costs including  food, clothing and transportation.

Now, nearly 4 years later at age 23, Hun is waiting for the  results of his exams. Hun  hopes to utilize his business degree, having set his sights on a job at a microfinance firm where he expects a starting salary of $ 150 to $200 per month.  Hun will continue to stay at Champey  for a year or so in order to save the $50 per month a rented room would cost and establish some financial stability.  He hopes to join another Kasumisou Scholar graduate, Lean Yu, who having already graduated from college, works at the same firm.

Our deepest  concern

We just hate the idea that the fate of our  students, like Hun,  rests entirely upon our fundraising ability and timing of receipt of donations. Donors and supporters are an ever changing group, influenced by personal and global events.  Like many small non-profits,  we  are challenged by the need to continuously raise funds  and we operate month to month. Before September 15, we will  need to pay about  $2,500 in  tuition bills and others later in the fall.  Basic tuition costs  per student varies, based upon type of program and institution, currently ranging from about $ 400 to $ 800  per year.  Over the years, there have been many times where we have  come right to the very edge of having to cut some of our programs because we cannot spend funds we do not have.

The best solution is to encourage  broader support that can help us  create better funding  stability and ensure that  our student’s can continue to move forward to achieve their dream of a college degree.  Clearly, our program is achieving results. Hun will become our 5 th college graduate from Kasumisou Foundation program's  students. Your support  can help our other  college students   to move   toward  that “ magic moment” and encourage others to begin their journey.

Our sincere thanks to our donors who have helped Hun and our other students to strive toward and achieve their dreams of a college education. Truly, your support is changing lives. We hope that you will continue with us in our efforts and encourage your friends and families to join you in support of our efforts.

Thank you,

 

Barbara & Mark

Archive Photos - Kasumisou Scholars Application
Archive Photos - Kasumisou Scholars Application
Green Champions Tree Planting Project 12-2015
Green Champions Tree Planting Project 12-2015
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:

 
   

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