The breakfast lines are back!
Dear Helping Hands friends,
We hope this finds you well and hope that you and your loved ones are getting through this unprecedented time as best possible. We’d like to update you on what's been happening here, and we’re particularly excited to share some positive news with you!
Welcoming our Students Back
As you may know, schools across Cambodia were closed in early March, but we’re very excited to announce that last month we were able to re-open Helping Hands school, much to the delight of teachers and students! While schools were shut, the staff continued to check in on students and ran lessons for them in their homes. Visiting all the students and covering as much as possible in significantly reduced time was definitely a challenge, but both teachers and students appreciated their time together, and the students, as ever, amazed us with their enthusiasm and motivation to continue learning.
Home-school lessons focused on Health and Hygiene, English, Khmer and Sports, and although this worked well, there's no doubt that the reduction in lesson time had an impact on our students learning. It's now a priority to ensure they have understood all the material and are on track, and the last few weeks have largely focussed on reviewing the material covered in home-school. This month we are working towards providing our full educational programme again, including Maths, Arts and Crafts, and Music and Dance. The re-opening of school also means that daily breakfasts are back! Ensuring our students have the nutrition and energy to take on the day has long been a priority of ours, and we're happy to get back to filling them up with a balanced meal including freshly picked vegetables from our garden!
Bringing our Students Back and the Importance of Social Care
Unfortunately over the months of home-schooling, some of our older students became less and less available to meet with their teachers, and when school re-opened there were a number who didn't return. In an effort to support their families who are suffering from significantly reduced job opportunities, these students are spending much of their time foraging and looking for opportunities to make a little money. It’s clear that at times like this survival instincts kick in and education takes a back seat, however after all the work and commitment these students have put into learning, we’re determined to do all we can to encourage them to continue their education.
School Director Sopheap and Social Worker Kong have been working particularly hard to arrange meetings with these students and their families to discuss their situation and encourage the students to return to school. Much to our relief, we now have 90% of our students back in classes, and we’re continuing to work with the other families to help find solutions. Without our in-house Social Worker, this simply wouldn’t be possible.
Our holistic approach is what makes Helping Hands a success. Without proper nutrition, health, and social care, our students wouldn't be in a position to learn, and to enjoy having space and time where they can be themselves, be kids, play and have fun.
Our Ongoing Concerns and a Big Ask!
The last 6 months have been strange, unsettling and worrying times for the Helping Hands staff and community, as they have been for you and for many, many others around the world. Although the re-opening of school eliminates some concerns, much of the worry and uncertainty remains. The repercussions of this year have unfortunately left us struggling to fund and run our full programme. Without volunteers and with a few long-term supporters no longer being able to support us, the financing and future of Helping Hands is a concern for us all.
Our students need us more than ever. Our mission and goals remain the same, and we are doing out utmost to continue providing education, nutrition and health and social care for all our students. But we need your help to do this. We’re humbly making a big ask today. To ensure the future of Helping Hands we need an additional 20 people to commit to a monthly donation of US$25 (£20 or currency equivalent) a month to secure the future of Helping Hands. Can you help us?
We completely understand that you may not be able to make this commitment at this time, and if that’s the case we ask that you share our ask with friends, family or colleagues who you think may be able to support us. If you’re in a position to offer a donation of a different amount, whether a monthly donation, or a one-off donation, we would be immensely grateful to receive your support. No amount is too small.
Monthly donations gratefully received here: http://bit.ly/HH-M-GlobalGiving
One-off donations gratefully received here: http://bit.ly/HH-LittleByLittle
Thank you so much for all that you’ve done to support Helping hands. We hope to share more positive news with you soon.
Best wishes to you and your family
Jess, Sopheap and all at Helping Hands
Happy to be back in the classroom.
Enjoying play time with friends.
Sports classes back in the school yard!
Happy faces at the end of a full day of learning!