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.
Barbara & Mark Rosasco
Water- the staff of life....
Most farmers in Cambodia are dependent upon a single,annual , non-irrigated rice crop to provide both food and income for an entire year. Rural families depend upon annual collection of rain water during the rainy season to provide drinking water and to grow their rice crop. If the rains fail, it imposes great hardship upon families who will then engage every family member who is able, to walk to the nearest water source, sometimes miles away, to carry water back by hand, in jugs. Water is essential to life, lack of water means children may be taken from school to walk great distances carrying water. This hardship was one of the key factors that inspired our Rural Assistance Program.
A key component of our rural assistance program, from its start in 2000, has been well drilling to avoid such dire circumstances. Each year, when funds are available, we have drilled on average 30 wells, providing 30 more families and their neighbors access to a safe, reliable ser ource of water. Now, after more than 16 years, we have drilled approximately 500 water wells.
These days we hear a lot about droughts in various parts of the world, and the anticipation of El Nino rains to break the prolonged drought cycle in the western US . In the developed world,this has been a serious matter, with areas such as California imposing severe water rationing. The flipside of the El Nino rains that recently came to the Western US has been the impact of a "super" La Nina in South East Asia, causing a "super drought" and causing severe drought conditions in Cambodia, such as have not been seen in nearly 10 years. More importantly, the next rainy season is projected to have such a lack of rain as to be unable to irritgate the next rice crop.
A failure of the rice crop creates dire conditions, causing severe hunger, and even starvation for families and children who will have not income for the coming year and no food from a failed rice crop. This in turn, causes a forced migration to the cities in search of work. Children may be trafficked and families destroyed from the impact of sexually transmitted diseases (HIV/AIDS) through prostitution and trafficking . The drought creates a dreadful cycle and one which takes families and communities years for recovery, and some individuals will never recover.
For now, 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 fail. Global rice stocks stand at ultra low levels not seen since 2007. No only will families have not income and a rice cropfor food , but they will face potentially 100% price increases on the rice that they may hope to buy.
For families in the rural assistance program ( RAP) , they will continue to have access to water and can grow small plots of vegetables to both supplement income and provide food for families. These wells provide more than simple drinking water. This access to water provides an ability to keep families together, keep children safe and in school , to put food on the table and provide families with at least some income.
A well costs $ 270 .... its benefits are immeasurable. We are still trying to fund the wells that we drilled last year... until that debt is satisfied ( about $8000) we cannot fund more wells. We hope that you will join us in supporting this program.
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.