Jan 6, 2020

Exciting News !

2020 has started off with a bang !  

This week one of our Kasumisou Scholars has received the very exciting news that, on her second attempt, she passed the examination for admission to the only nursing school in Phnom Penh.  She will begin her study early in the new year and she  will  at last,   be on a track to realize her long held dream to have  a career in nursing.

This young lady, now 19 years old, has grown up together with her older sister, in our  Family Support Program (FSP) and she  has, since the middle of last year, been working part time at our Champey Academy of Arts. 

The girls’ mother died in our program in 2002 and left behind two daughters, then aged about 3 and 5, who have since then been in the care of their mother’s childhood friend and who, for many years, received support from our family support program Both sisters have, for many years, been sponsored for their education expenses by a generous family in the U.S. and that family has expressed an interest to help with the very considerable cost of the three year nursing program on which the younger sister is about to embark. 

This young scholar and her older sister who also works at our Champey Academy of Arts  also studies at a university with the support of a scholarship provided by Kasumisou Foundation.  Both  have come a long way from the days when they and their mother were homeless and their mother was critically ill and soon to pass away. 

We are very proud and  hopeful for this young woman who has overcome so much adversity in her life and who   is now about to pursue the nursing degree which will make her career dreams a reality and by doing so break the cycle of inherited poverty.

The pathway to success for the students in our program is only possible because of the generous support of our wonderful donors. This young lady, like all of our other students, have overcome staggering obstacles , working many years against incredible odds to  achieve  their dreams of completing a college education.

Our very best wishes  for a wonderful 2020    to all of our donors.  Truly your support of this young lady and our other students has changed lives . On behalf of our students and ourselves, please accept our heartfelt thanks for your generous supporr. 

  

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

Jan 3, 2020

Update on the Moringa Project

Mobil Rice Mill
Mobil Rice Mill

Update on the Moringa Project.

As you will recall, in Fall 2016, we wrote to you about Mark’s visit to Prey Veng Province in rural Cambodia in September of that year.  At that time, he had meetings with our long time local development partner to discuss how to  continue providing economic opportunities to our farmers in this somewhat remote area of Cambodia.

Once such possible  collaboration involved a small moringa processing and distribution company in Phnom Penh which was looking for a reliable supply of organically grown moringa leaves.  Moringa is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals and its antioxidant properties are believed to prevent or inhibit  cell damage, making it a popular dietary supplement in many regions of the world.


The agreed plan called for the moringa company to  contract with our farmers to purchase a minimum  quantity of moringa leaves each month. With that guaranteed market for their leaves and their ability to access water  with the wells which we provide to them, the farmers could have confidence to convert some of their fields to plant moringa.

Adding  moringa to the fruits and vegetables that we have historically encouraged our farmers  to plant on their homestead land ( the land that immediately surrounds their houses), we expected that the farmers could get a significant boost to their cash incomes while further diversifying away from dependence on the single annual crop of rice that is the mainstay of farming in Prey Veng. The program had and still has  the potential to be a real " game changer" for our farmers by boosting their incomes.

The agreement which we made with the moringa processor/markerter to buy  our farmer’s organically grown moringa leaves, would in the initial stage,  include about 50 farmers and create  an estimated increase in  annual cash income of roughly $750  per farmer.

In the early years, the program generated great excitement among our farmers and many joined a waiting list to be included in the program. However, the processor’s early projections of demands for his product  proved to be too optimistic as commitments that  he had received from a couple of large foreign buyers evaporated and the local market for moringa products became saturated due to the arrival of a number of new competitors.

Unfortunately, at the end of 2018 the processor was forced to cut back  on purchases from our farmers and in early 2019 it became clear to us and to our farmers that the processor would not be able to honor  the initial purchase commitments.  In mid-2019, we suspended the program pending finding a new and more reliable partner  or the ability of our initial partner to recommit to his purchase commitments.

Like many efforts in life, the moringa programs shows us that  there is not always an immediate straight line to success.  However, although the moringa project is currently on hold, we continue to support our farmers, as we have done for since our RAP program began in January 1999,  with education and training to improve their knowledge and skills and  by doing so,  help our farmers to  raise crop yields and promote the organic farming techniques have literally transformed this area and successfully contributed to the continued  increase in farming incomes over the past 20 years . Your support of this program has ,over these many years,  continues the transformation  this area to a new green belt supporting chemical free farming. 

One final note, the truck that you see in the pictures is a mobile rice mill which travels the country roads and hulls rice for small farmers. We thought you might find it interesting to learn more about some of the services that our farmers utilize.

Again, we appreciate your support of our efforts to bring self sufficiency and responsible land use to this rural area.

 

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

Mobil Rice mill   from another angle
Mobil Rice mill from another angle
Farming Family next to their home
Farming Family next to their home
Nov 26, 2019

Could you do this.....

Ms. K and  9 year old son
Ms. K and 9 year old son

December 3 is Giving Tuesday Match Day ! 

Mark is in Cambodia this week to look in on our programs there. As usual, he is meeting with each of the women in our AIDS Patient Family Support Program. Among those is a 39 year old mother who has AIDS. Ms. K  has an extremely low IQ .   Ms. K has been in our program for many years. During much of her adult life she has supported herself and later on, her son, age 9, by collecting recyclables on the streets of Phnom Penh.

Early this year and without first consulting our staff, Ms. K decided to leave Phnom Penh to go to live with her sister in a province in the northeastern part of Cambodia.  At that point and for several subsequent months she was not receiving our support or being monitored by our staff.

While visiting relatives during the Cambodian New Year holidays in April, Ms. K was raped by the husband of her aunt and Ms. K  is now eight months pregnant. The man does not deny his responsibility but he and his wife refused to provide any support for Ms. K or the baby,  so about five months ago, she returned to Phnom Penh Ms K, once again in the care of  our program.

Ms. K is due to deliver her baby in December and our field staff person has already connected her with an organization which provides free infant formula to mothers who work, as she does, in trash recycling.  This is a real blessing as the estimated cost of infant formula power is about $ 30 per month.

Even now, just one month before the expected delivery date of the baby, Ms. K works at pulling a cart around the streets of the city each day collecting recyclable materials such as bottles, cans, cardboard and scrap metal which she then  sells to supplement the support from our program that she receives for herself and her son.  High blood pressure limits the number of day when she can do such hard work but whenever she feels able, about an average of 3 days per week, she is out on the streets doing the only job that she knows and perhaps the only job that her limited mental capacity allows her to do.

When Mark asked her how she expects to do such work after the baby is born,  Ms. K explained that when her nine year old son was born, she stayed in the hospital for three or four days and then immediately resumed working on the streets, keeping her newborn infant son in the same cart in which she hauls her recyclables. Ms. K explained, that once again, she intends to return to working on the streets very soon after the birth of her new baby.

Of course, our program will now  assume responsibility for making sure that Ms. K and her new baby are safe and that they have what they need to insure that both mother and baby remain healthy.

 The photo that you see shows a house and neighborhood  that is typical of how many of our families live. It rents for $40 per month.  The cart is Ms. K’s recycling cart .

Your generous and kind support  really does make a difference.  It means that we can continue to support fragile families like Ms. K, her son and her new baby  and provide the  educational and living support that is needed  to break the cycle of inherited poverty.

Dec. 3 is GivingTuesday Match Day. GlobalGiving will match donations up to $1000 per donor per organization on  PROPORTIONAL  basis. This means the more we raise as a percentage of total donations, the larger our donations. GlobalGiving will have a pool of $ 500,000 in matching funds.

Please help us to continue our support of this product and to optimize donations with matching funds. 

We are deeply grateful for your support! 

Barbara  & Mark Rosasco

Ms. K, son age 9 and her recycling cart
Ms. K, son age 9 and her recycling cart
 
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