Sep 15, 2021

Helping Families Towards Financial Independence

“I see so much change in my children’s lives and in mine through (the help of) CIF. My two children have become healthier now that they have visited the doctors and received treatment regularly. CIF supported the transportation, accommodation and food for us go to the hospital, something that I had not been able to afford.  We fell in debt due to medical expenses for both my children and for me. With better health, my children can focus more on education. They also help me with some housework and with my small business. Also, my health condition is better now that my burden has been released. We have started having a more hopeful life since we have known CIF especially the efforts of CIF staff to encourage us, guide us and support us.” 

These comments were made by the mother of one of our FOR-1 (Family of Origin as 1st Priority) families. Seventeen-year-old Sophy* and fourteen-year-old Sopha* (* names changed to protect confidentiality) live with their widowed mother and another older sister. District officials referred these two girls to CIF to assess their eligibility for family preservation services. A joint assessment between CIF and local and district officers revealed that the girls were very much at risk of family separation. Both of the girls have hyperthyroidism which had been diagnosed previously but had gone untreated for some time due to the family’s challenges. The medical center was far and they could not afford to continue to go for regular follow up.

CIF provided financial support to help meet the family’s immediate needs while also providing regular case management. The field worker visits them at home on a monthly basis, providing training on such topics as positive parenting, child rights and protection, body hygiene, sanitation and Covid-19 self-protection. Monitoring the quality of care and child protection that Sophy and Sopha receive, as well as their education, are also a part of each visit. CIF field workers have encouraged them to stay focused on their education, even during school closures due to Covid-19. Both girls have been studying via distance learning and are doing well, with Sophy studying in grade 11 and Sopha in grade 8. They know that a good education is important for their futures.

CIF’s disability support project, ABLE, has provided additional support with following up on the girls’ health, including providing coordination and support (transportation, accommodation and food) for the mother to take the two children to Kuntha Bopha hospital in Phnom Penh every two months. ABLE staff also ensure that the girls are taking their prescribed medication regularly, Both Sophy and Sopha have improved health as a result. 

Early on, CIF field staff began to discuss with the family how they could improve their livelihood to achieve long term financial security. As a result, CIF shared the cost of purchasing a grinding machine to support the mother’s small business of making soy milk and desserts. She had identified that as a way that she could increase her profits. Because she no longer has to pay to have the soybeans ground for her, she has been able to nearly double her profits. It also saves her valuable time and effort, as she previously had to travel and wait in line to have the soybeans ground.

“CIF staff always guide me for better parenting so I can protect and support my children as well as monitor their health condition. I realize that I can raise them and support them better than before. I am happy with my increased income since we have the grinding machine supported by CIF. I am trying to save for my family especially to support my children to pursue their dream of being a teacher and a health staff. Thanks CIF!”

It is easy to see the positive effects of CIF’s intervention for this one family. Additionally, there is a ripple effect which extends out to their community. Not only does strengthening this family enable them to have more to contribute to their community for years into the future, CIF’s involvement of local government officials helps to develop their capacity in child protection and family strengthening efforts which can produce positive effects for other families in need. Multiply this by the 392 active cases that CIF is currently supporting and you can see that your support is paying off in big dividends! So, a big thank you to all of you who are helping CIF to be able to continue to do the work that we do. We couldn’t do it without you!

Aug 6, 2021

Help Educate/Learn about Ethical Volunteering

Hello, and welcome to August Report for Helping Educate and Learn about Ethical Volunteering, Rok Kern Project. 

Rok Kern Learning Academy: 

Rok Kern Learning Academy is designed to help schools, short-termers, and donors to reflect on the current form of care for vulnerable children and why does it matter? In these courses will also help us to learn how to critique the model of aid and development, charity and justice differently. And we are pleased to announce that the registration page is now open and the courses are available online for free at the movement. 

We are so delighted to share these resources with you all. If you want to access the resources and do not know how, please reach out to our team, we are available in Australia, Canada, and Cambodia. 

Again, we, the Rok Kern team, would like to thank you for all your support, and we are really looking forward to share this resource, support and advocate and walk you through our online learning materials at www.rokkernacademy.com.

This work is impossible without all of you! 

Forever grateful, 

The Rok Kern Team

Jun 6, 2021

Special Times Call for Special Measures

Community rehabilitation staff ready for action
Community rehabilitation staff ready for action

That's our current take on the phrase "deperate times call for desperate measures." We wouldn't say that things are desperate right now, but they certainly are still quite different from before Covid-19, and the situation can change a lot from day to day. Here in Cambodia the spread of the Covid-19 virus has, unfortunately, become more prevalent. While we had been fortunate to have minimal community spread throughout the first year of the pandemic, things took a dramatic turn in February of this year. We had been using precautions like the rest of the world, even when the virus wasn't doing its worst, but once the virus really started taking off, the Cambodian government took some strong actions to try to reign it in. This took the form of temporary lockdowns where travel was extremely limited within the capital city of Phnom Penh and a few other hot spots, and from one part of the county to another. 

This was a problem for us in several ways. For one thing, there are children in the ABLE Project who live in the provinces but travel into Phnom Penh periodically for reassessment of their conditions and to have their medicines refilled. Children with epilepsy are one of the primary groups to whom this applies. It is essential that those children receive their medications and the lockdowns came without much notice, so we had to do some quick coordination to ensure that they were covered. Fortunately, we were able to work out a plan with the hospital where they receive their assessments and medications. The children received virtual assessments facilitated by our province staff where the doctors at the hospital were able to interview the families and view the children via video calls from our staff. Then we were able to find a transport service which was authorized to travel through the checkpoints so that the medicines could be sent from the hospital to where the children lived. Yay! Problem solved. 

Another challenge was supporting our province staff in using a new assessment tool. We had just transitioned to using this tool prior to the pandemic and, under normal circumstances, our physiotherapists from Phnom Penh would have been doing in person training and coaching to help our provincial community rehabilitation staff become more familiar and proficient with the tool. Since we've been able to do very little traveling between the provinces and Phnom Penh, we adopted the same strategy as we used for our children who needed virtual visits with the hospital. We've begun to use video calls to coach our staff through the assessments. It is not the same as being there in person, but we are making it work and it's helping us to stay on top of things despite the current limitations. In the provinces, where there has not been as much transmission, our staff are still able to make face-to-face visits with appropriate protective gear. For our clients in Phnom Penh we still have to do visits virtually until the number of new Covid-19 cases flattens out. 

Thank you so much for hanging with us through the challenges of Covid-19. We know that the pandemic has been hard on many people, including financially, and we really appreciate those who have continued to financially support this work. Understandably, some donors have not been able to continue their support, so, if you have not given recently and are able to help make up the difference, we would be so very grateful!

 
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