P)lease join us April 3 -7 for GlobalGiving's "Little by Little" Campaign where donations up to $50 per donor per organization will receive a 50% match.
Since 1999, Kasumisou Foundation has provided care and support to the AIDS afflicted poor with a particular emphasis on supporting single homeless women in and around Phnom Penh,Cambodia's capital city.
The AIDS Patients Family Support Program (FSP), has long been posted on GlobalGiving as"Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids" , a functional name for the program's goals. This program is a formalized effort to provide homeless and destitute women afflicted by mid-to-late stages of AIDS with basic housing,monthly food support and sponsorship for the school expenses for their primary and secondary school age dependent children.
In the earliest years of our program, Kasumisou Foundation provided antiretroviral medicines (ARVs, often referred to as the
"AIDS cocktail" ) to some of our AIDS afflicted patients. Due to the eventual availability in Cambodia of free medicines from the UN’s Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, we no longer needed to provide ARVs. We did, however, continue to provide destitute AIDS afflicted women and children with modest housing,food support, school expenses, basic medicines, transportation to and from medical appointments and consistent counseling and encouragement.
As we approach the end of Q1 2023, we are supporting 17 households. Within these households there are 25 adults comprised of 17 women and two husbands, one of whom is physically disabled, three elderly women who are the mothers of
three of our women, three young adult children, two of whom who have very significant developmental disabilities. In addition to the 25 adults there are 11 minor children.
Program expenses for March of $2,645 are representative of our typical monthly expenses and break down as follows:
** Seven of our families are housed with relatives and do not, therefore, require rent support from our program. As some of you may recall, years ago, our program was much larger – operating for many years with as many as 70 to 75 households under our care. However, over the nearly quarter century that we have been doing this work, we have always tried to emphasize the need to move toward self-sufficiency.
Consequently, over the years, improved economic conditions in Cambodia provided more jobs for some of our family members .As their children became educated, grew up and became able to contribute to the family’s support, we continued to narrow our support to only those families who had few or no other resources on which they could rely. In the past 3 years we have admitted only two families to the program.
Your generous support over these many years has helped us to provide dignified living conditions to fragile individuals and
families who otherwise might be homeless and living on the streets.
We hope that you will join us April 3 -7 for GlobalGiving's "Little by Little" Campaign where donations up to $50 per donor per organization will receive a 50% match.
We sincerely appreciate your loyal and generous support.
Barbara & Mark
Update on our Aids Patient Family Support Program
For more than 20 years Kasumisou Foundation has provided social, educational, medical and housing support to families who are impacted by extreme poverty and HIV status within their family circle.
This family entered our FSP approximately 20 years ago when both children were very young and their mother was suffering from AIDS. The mother eventually passed away, leaving her children in the care of their grandmother. The son, now in his late twenties, has serious developmental disability and relies entirely on his grandmother and his sister to help him navigate life. He is not mentally capable of working to support himself. The grandmother, now in her early eighties, and her granddaughter who is about 23 years old, sell vegetables every day in a sort of ad hoc market on the side of a road in their neighborhood of Phnom Penh. The money which they earn from selling those vegetables supplements the support ($135 per month for food and $50 per month for rent) which they receive from our AIDS Patients Family Support Program (FSP). The grandmother suffers from severe osteo-arthritis and undiagnosed vision problems - but seems otherwise to be in reasonably good health. We worry, though, about what will become of this boy when his grandmother passes away because the task of working full time while also supervising her brother is likely to be too challenging for his sister to handle alone. We know of no programs in Phnom Penh which could care for a young adult male with such severe developmental disabilities and our program has provided stability for the family and by doing so, has shielded this young man from exploitation. We will continue to support the family and it is the great kindness and generosity of our supporters who make this possile.
We hope that you will join us on Giving Tuesday, November 29 when GlobalGiving will offer $1.2 million in matching funds, providing a proportional match to donations. In short, the more we raise, the greater percentage and amount that we can earn.
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we are profoundly grateful to you all and so proud that you have chosen to join us on this journey to help some of the ' least amoung us'.
Our sincere thanks for your support!
Wishing you all a joyful Thanksgiving,
Barbara & Mark
Largely due to the stabilization of the AIDS crisis in Cambodia in recent years, we have, for the past several years, operated this program in what could be described as a “maintenance” mode, keeping our list of patients stable and not accepting any new women in the program. However, this year we felt compelled to add two new women to the program. Neither woman is suffering from AIDS but both are mothers of students in our Champey Academy of Arts school of traditional arts for young people and both families are extremely poor which can make the children vulnerable.
In the first years of our program – 1998 and 1999 – and for several years after that, the AIDS crisis in Cambodia was so uncontrolled and the numbers of homeless, sick and dying AIDS afflicted women were so great ,that we felt it was necessary that we concentrate all of our resources only on women who met those two primary criteria – homeless and destitute and suffering from medium to late stages of AIDS. Beginning from about 2002, with the introduction and growing availability of anti-retroviral drug therapy for AIDS patients in Cambodia, AIDS very slowly and gradually became less of a ‘death sentence’ and more like an extremely serious but often manageable health issue for many of our women. After operating the program with an average of about 75 women and about 125 dependent children for more than a decade, in around 2011 and 2012 we started culling the list of patients, as we identified some of our women whose health had recovered sufficiently for them to work to support themselves. By 2013 we had reduced the number of women in the program to about 35 but among those were many whom we felt certain could not survive either physically or financially on their own without at least some support from our program.
Since we have a program and a mechanism for supporting poor and homeless women and their kids and because many of the students at our Champey Academy of Arts come from extremely poor families, we have decided to consider some of the mothers of those Champey Academy students for inclusion in our FSP regardless of whether they suffer from AIDS.
The two mothers mentioned above will be the first of what we expect might be several homeless and impoverished mothers of Champey Academy students whom we will add to the support roles of our AIDS Patients Family Support Program (FSP) in the near future.
With the addition of those first two mothers of Champey Academy students, the roles of our FSP now include the following.
One of the challenges in managing and reporting on a program like this is that there are few “big” markers that openly affirm success. Instead, the “ good news” is that the program runs as hoped for, that the needs of these fragile individuals are met and that even a casual observer can see that the humanitarian value, although small in scale, is significant, indeed, literally life changing, to each of our individual program participants. A key goal of our efforts is to enable these fragile families to life in dignity.
Without exception, our efforts, made possible by you, our kind donors , the lives of the members of our program are made dramatically better than if these folks were left to fend for themselves and try to survive on their own . To this day, whenever possible, we place great value on even the smallest bit of self sufficiency as we strongly encourage our participants to engage in whatever small scale, dignified employment that is available.
We are deeply grateful to you for your support.
Barbara & Mark Rosasco
CALENDAR REMINDER - GLOBALGIVING LITTLE BY LITTLE CAMPAIGN APRIL 4 ~ 8
DONATIONS UP TO $ 50 CAN RECEIVE A 50% MATCH ( $ 25)
These happy smiles seemed impossible a year ago when this family suddenly found that they had to leave their tiny home unexpectedly under the threat of domestic violence. The sudden shift meant that the family was homeless , living on the street, and their situation was dire. Our program has, for more than 20 years provided essential support for fragile families deeply impacted by extreme poverty or HIV status or both. In this case, extreme poverty, and an unstable living situation caused us to offer family support, providing extremely modest housing - a single room, a modest food allowance and of course support to keep this young lady in school.
Your support makes this possible . Our intervention in situations like this is the frontline defense against trafficking and other abuse. Your past and continued support really does make a difference and we are deeply grateful to you.
Barbara & Mark
Calendar Reminder: GlobalGivings Little by Little Campaign April 4 - April 8
No news really IS good news!
Since our last report in late November 2021, we are relieved to say that there has not been any “ excitement” in our program. The real news is that since the beginning of the year , life in Cambodia has begun to return to something resembling a pre-Covid normal. Schools, shops and business are for the most part now open and there has even been a return of some tourism, although it remains light compared to a typical pre-Covid high season ( December through March). As a part of this return to normal, children are back in classes and our folks are able, once again, to return to their jobs in markets or selling birdseed near the Palace or temples etc.
The big issue now on everyone’s mind is the impact of higher energy prices and inflation. Food inflation remains a problem , especially for our families, who are literally living on the very edge of survival. As we mentioned in our last report, we implemented a modest monthly increase to help cover these increases in living expenses and this is something that we will need to maintain a close watch on for the foreseeable future.
Although our FSP program has been winding down its family roster over the past several years ( please see our last report for more detail), during the past year we have taken on two new families . One family is a mother with 3 children: a daughter about age 13 and her two younger brothers , one a toddler. They joined our program due to a family crisis, where they had fled their home and gone into hiding due to threats from a family member. This situation is now stable, and we have found suitable shelter for the family. The mom has been able to return to her job selling bird seed to tourists and the daughter is back in school . She is also required, as a conditional aspect of our support, to stay in school and to attend classes daily after school at our art school as a way to provide safe activities outside of school hours and keep her way from gangs and other high risk behavior.
The second family is a mother with two sons age about 10 and 13. The elder son dropped out of school after completing grade 2, due to what we suspect may be a learning disability and for a variety of reasons, he is unable to attend public school. We have encouraged him to study at our art school, for the time being, replacing formal education in a public school with extensive class room time at our art school.. He attends classes full time where he studies dance and music. He has shown significant progress and he is well on the way to becoming a skillful dancer. These activities keep him occupied, build skills and self esteem and perhaps, eventually, a pathway to earning a living.
Each family in our program has a set of unique circumstances. We have seen over the many years, that an individualized approach can make a big difference in the pathway to a positive outcome. Please visit our project report “ Build Dreams" to see just how big a difference our combined focus on family structure and education has impacted three children from our FSP , who are now adults and who are each about to reach their dream of achieving a college education .
Over the years, this program has provided essential help and guidance to fragile families impacted by HIV and/or extreme poverty. Your generous donations make this possible and we can only express our sincere thanks and gratitude to you for your generous support.
Barbara & Mark Rosasco
Calendar Reminder !
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