Sometimes opportunity can be a matter of luck and sometimes seizing an opportunity is the culmination of years of quiet hard work and persistant effort. This persistance and quiet hard work has now paid off for one young man.
Yu, age 22 , is one of our college students. He graduated in 2012 from Baphnom District High School in rural Prey Veng Province. He is currently studying for a degree in business at Human Resources University in Phnom Penh and until recently, he had been working part time as an instructor in traditional dance at our Champey Academy of Arts. To save on his living expenses, Yu has also , for the past 3 years, been sleeping at night in the classroom at our arts school , as do several other of our scholars from Prey Veng.
Now in his 4th year in college, Yu has landed an accounting job at a small microfinance company in Phnom Penh, putting him a step closer to pursuing his dream of becoming a banker. His new salary , $ 150 per month, allows him to be able to afford to live more independently and have modest housing outside of the dance school while he completes his degree.
Most importantly, Yu's college courses have provided him with a set of marketable skills, enabling him to complete the big step from a life of rural poverty into the professional life of the middle class.
Your support of our Kasumisou Scholars, allowed Yu to access a college education and this opportunity has helped Yu to help himself to break free of the cycle of inherited poverty.
Our congratulations to Yu on his success and our thanks to you, our donors, for making this all possible.
Barbara & Mark Rosasco
Video of Champey Dancers & Students
Leap Forward for Art ! Please participate in our fundraising activities!
GlobalGiving Pro-rated Match Day on March 16 !
( May 2015 partner match was 25.9%)
Leap Forward for Art !
In this Leap Year, we are hosting a variety of activities to encourage our supporters to Leap Forward for Art!
Beginning on February 29, 2016, Kasumisou Foundation is concentrating on raising money for arts programs for disadvantaged children and teens in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Kasumisou Foundation is a California based US 501 c ( 3 ) non profit organization.
For more than 15 years, Kasumisou Foundation has offered classes to children and teens impacted by HIV/AIDS and poverty. We offer instruction in traditional Cambodian dance, music and art free of charge, helping our students to build pride of culture . Our Champey Academy of Arts teaches students about their rich cultural heritage, while building individual and team skills, discipline and developing the wonderful talents of our students. Our program also offers safe and suitable jobs for high school and college students ranging in scope from apprentice teacher to guest relations , greeters and performing administrative tasks. These student workers, many of whom are themselves from disadvantaged backgrounds, serve as peer role models to the children in our programs.
Please view the videos and see our kids in action ! In the second video you will also see a little girl who besides fidgeting with her skirt and belt, looks far too young for instruction. Yet, to our surprise, she suddenly shows us that she too, is learning , formally and informally.
The scenery you see was painted by some our art students.
Our complete payroll list has 25 names but a large number of those on the list are young girls who study dance with us but who are sufficiently knowledgeable to be able to act as part time assistant teachers a few hours a week, other do administrative tasks such as greet guests, prepare the stage, help young students learn to manage their costumes and so on. Some of these young people are orphans or they come from families of very modest means so we give them very small monthly payments of $20 to $50 to encourage them to continue their study of dance. As such, they are included on our staff list, and so they also are eligible to receive very basic accident (not health) insurance coverage under our group plan.
Our basic, bare bones operating budget for this project for 2016 is projected at $45,000. We are hoping in addition to raising those funds, we hope to raise money for more new costumes and masks to perform more traditional dances. Our students are increasingly invited to give performances but we need more costumes and masks. We also need additional musical instruments so that each student can spend a meaningful amount of practice time using an instrument.
But most importantly , we need to plan to replace our temporary outdoor wooden garden stage which was made by tightly tying together the legs of wooden sleeping pallets and replace it with a properly constructed and sturdy stage. Estimated cost is about $ 2500 to do this.
We are deeply grateful to all of our supporters for their generosity which continues to bring the arts to our students.
Barbara & Mark
A recurring theme in our updates for this program is how we function as the " family for the family" . In simple terms, it means that we are there to lend moral support and guidance for our families. Many of the mothers in our program are illiterate or have minimal literacy. These moms , while loving to their children , are not sophisticated and often not really capable of identifying or evaluating complex situations and resources.
One such family, has been with us for more than 10 years. Ms. S, now age 20 and her family came to us when Ms. S was just a yound child and her father was dying of AIDS. The entire family is HIV positive . Sadly, Ms. S's father passed away, but since that time S, her mother and her younger sister have all been in our program. Both mother and sister have been seriously ill at times over the years, although both are currently stable. S, has taken antiretroviral medications and tolerated them well over the years and has remained well, until about a year ago.
S completed highschool with high marks, in the top 3 of her class and dreamed of being a doctor. After much discussion, her mother felt that she probably could not manage the stresses and strains of such a long education and that in the end, in Cambodia, where there is still great prejudice against AIDs, felt that no one would want to be treated or see by a doctor who was HIV positive , so S set her sights on trying to attend local college and get a business degree.
After completeing 2 years of her program she fell ill, developing numbness in one arm which soon led to complete loss of use in her dominant hand and arm. Doctors in Cambodia were baffled and told us to take her to Bangkok for diagnosis and advised us that unless we did this, she could permanently loose use of her arm. We arranged for the 11 hour bus ride to Bangkok accompanied by an aunt and uncle who could speak some english. The bus ride was a small fraction of the cost of a plane ticket . We then made arrangements with one of our kind Thai friends to coordinate doctor and hospital appointments , accompany the family, arrange for inexpensive lodging and everything else.
Tests were performed but were inconclusive.Treatment was prescribed with an uncertain view as to outcome. S returned to Cambodia where her continued to deteriorate to where she was confined to bed at home in their tiny rooms ,with vomitting and extreme weekness, unable to stand without assistance. Although we feared she could die, she did not. S is a fighter and she held in . Some weeks later we again arranged for another 11 hour ( one way !) trip to Bangkok for more appointments for an MRI and meeting with a neurosurgeon made a tentative diagnosis that there was inflammation around a tumor but that without biopsy there could not be a firm diagnosis but the doctor felt that it looked like a type of central nervous system lymphoma and that a combination of chemotherapy and radiation might be the best treatment.There was no money for a biopsy and the family feared possible damage from such a procedure, so biopsy was ruled out and the doctor suggested a regime of other medications and a watch and wait position. And S returned to Cambodia.
The good news is that S has since improved but the future remains unclear. She is determined to return to try to finish her degree, and her strong will and positive attitude are something to marvel as we all hope for a miracle.
One thing is certain, without the support of Ms. S's " extended family" it is quite likely that we simply would have lost her. We are hopeful that Ms. S will return to full health and return to her studies.
You, our donors, are also a part of the " family for the family" .Over the many years we have had situations where on a wing and a prayer , with scarce resources, we have been able to pull together resources to help our families navigate complex resources and solutions. We are grateful for your continued support .