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.
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.
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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

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May 26, 2016

The Price of Rice

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.

Thank you,

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

May 23, 2016

Wells provide more than drinking water

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.

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

 
   

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