Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids

by Kasumisou Foundation
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids
Vichet with  his cousin
Vichet with his cousin

Tuesday,  November 28 is Giving Tuesday match day  at GlobalGiving.

 

A Real Cause for Celebration ! 

Early in 2017 we wrote about a family who has been in our program since 2002. This family, despite crushing adversity still managed to be a family, held together by the strength of a grandmother in her 60s when we first met her in 2002  and who is now nearing 80.

Vichet, the younger of two grandsons, has , from the beginning, remained devoted to his ailing grandmother, stayed at home to help  and continued to study hard in school.  In his spare time he studied English to prepare himself to pursue his dream of becoming a tour guide in Phnom Penh. 

In 2015, at the age of 21, Vichet  finally completed grade 12 and prepared to take the very difficult national examination that  would earn him a high school graduation diploma. Despite his years of hard study, our Vichet,  failed his exam  in 2015 due to the poor quality of his rural education. Students who do not pass the high school  exam are allowed to wait a year and retake  the exam but, without the benefit of a rigorous tutoring program,  chances of success only diminish with time. Having completed  grade 12 and but  failing to receive a diploma, Vichet went to work in a warehouse loading trucks in Phnom Penh.  He  now works  six days per week for $120 per month. 

Despite formidable odds  and despite  working full time, self study and nearly 2 years since leaving high school, we are thrilled to announce that Vichet has passed his exam and earned his High School Diploma!    It is estimated that only 40% of Cambodian students even attend high school.Our Vichet has succeeded because of his hard work and determination.

Vichet still helps his family and will now have to evaluate what opportunities might be next for him in his long journey.

Our joyful congratulations to Vichet for his hard earned success. Your support of this fragile family and others make  this possible and we are deeply grateful to you for your support !

 Barbara & Mark Rosasco

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 AIDS Patient Family Support  1998~ 2017

A simple goal :  A normal life with dignity

Thanks to the effectiveness of the antiretroviral medicines which are now widely available to nearly all AIDS patients in Phnom Penh,  our  program has continued to grow smaller.  Beginning in late 2013 we were able to begin scaling down our AIDS patients support efforts. 

In comparison with the average of 70 to 75 women and nearly 125 children whom we routinely supported through those first 14 years of our Family Support Program, we are now supporting 18 women and a similar number of their children.  These are the patients whom we have  concluded would still not be able to survive on their own without our support.  Many of them may never be able to live independently but our hope is that,for those of them who have children, their kids will eventually  be able to take over the responsibility of supporting their mothers.

As we have often said, for these, our core  families, our goal is simple:  to enable them to aspire to a   “ normal” life, to live with dignity  and without fear.  While for most people, these simple goals in life pass without even casual consideration, this accomplishment ,  of providing  the ebb and flow  a “ normal life”  is one of  singular value to our  18 families.

Since its beginning, our AIDS Patient Family Support Program has provided basic shelter, food assistance,utilities and access to medical care as well as focusing on education to help the  children in the program break the cycle of inherited poverty. None of this would be possible without the generous support of you, our donors, and for this we are deeply grateful.

 

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

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Self sufficiency is an important goal
Self sufficiency is an important goal

50% GlobalGiving Donor Match Day fromm 9:00 am July 12

We often talk about the families in our program, so the purpose of today's update is  personalize our stories and put faces to some of the personal stories that we have told you about in the past.

Each one of our fragile familes has taken a journey through life that most of us would find unimaginable.  However, instead of a  living a desperate existance  of life on the street in extreme poverty, our goal has always been to create  safe " normal" living conditions for  these families.  We provide basic housing and food support, social support to help families access medical care as needed  and educational support to help the children in our families to stay in school and work torward the lifelong goal of breaking the cycle of inherited poverty. We actively encourage members of our programs to work as they are able,  as a purpose filled life and one of even partial self sufficiency provides them with  a sense of  some personal control and dignity in a life hijacked by illness and adversity. For several  of our familes, the breadwinner passed away from illness , leaving families in dire straights. Without our program's support that initial tragedy of losing a husband or wife, father or mother ,   would have been followed by other suffering. Instead, our program can provide  these families have a stable living condition and help them to try to move forward despite formidable challenges.  

Thanks to you, our thoughtful donors, we have accomplished many of these  goals for our families and as we move foward, we have not lost sight our challenge  to help the children in these familes gain the life skills needed  to help propel them forward toward a better life. 

GlobalGivings 50% donor match day can help your donation dollars to work even harder. We hope that you will join us and help us to continue our efforts.

Barbara & Mark Rosasco 

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In 2001 we welcomed a new family of four  into our AIDS Patient Family Support Program  (FSP)  . The father had AIDS  and  died  in 2002, shortly after the family joined the program, leaving behind  the mother then about age 30 and two young daughters  age 3 and   age 5.  All were HIV positive. And although not symptomatic  with  AIDS,  everyone has been in and out of periods of very  poor health. Over the years,  the mother developed AIDS and was at times quite ill.   Thankfully due to access to medical care and  availability of  appropriate medications, all three members of this family  are still  together today despite facing many serious health challenges due to their HIV status.

Cambodia is a country, where until quite recently, it was thought to be that only about 40% of all elementary school students even entered high school, and fewer still  graduated.  Currently  the youngest daughter , an average student,  is about to graduate from High School and  she has  hopes finding an office  job. The older daughter ,  just now  20,  has managed to get a  job doing part time office work.

The family still lives in their original modest home and over the years, the mother  has worked, health permitting,   in a  market stall,  in the Central Market . She  now  earns  about $ 150 per month.

The FSP still  continues to support this family by paying  school uniform, supply and other  fees for the high school student ( about $10 to $ 15  per month)   and by providing a  modest food allowance to the family  of $ 40 per month. 

In the  early years, this fragile family  could have not survived without the help given by our program. When the mother’s health was quite bad, our  program’s weekly home visits, assistance in providing access to medical care and medicines were  the lifeline that held this family together. Now, over these many years, this fragile family has  aspired , quite simply, to have  an ordinary life.

In our developed world, a goal of  achieving an ordinary life might be looked down upon. However, for families in our program,  aspiring to and having an " ordinary life"  is the stuff from which dreams are made.

Success stories like these are only possible due to the kindness of our supporters. We are deeply grateful to you all for your generous support. It truly does make a difference. 

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

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Rantha A 14  and her grandmother, nearing age 80
Rantha A 14 and her grandmother, nearing age 80

In the early 2000s crowded slums in Phnom Penh were frequently cleared by mysterious neighborhood fires that drove residents off of valuable land in the city center and into outlying areas on to the open rice fields of Anlung Kgang, about an hour’s ride from the city. That resettlement area was reached over a series nearly impassible dirt roads. There were no houses, no electricity, sewer or water lines. Most families built shelters from plastic tarps, bamboo sticks and cardboard scraps they scrounged from surrounding roads and ditches. In the rainy season the area became a sea of mud and wet misery for the residents.

 In 2002, in Anlung Kgang, we met a grandmother, then in her sixties, and her two AIDS orphaned grandchildren, two brothers, about 8 and 10 years of age. Although generously kind hearted, this grandmother was completely illiterate, not able event to write her own name. As AIDS orphans, the brothers qualified for assistance from our AIDS Patients Family Support Program (FSP). Over time, with the help of some generous friends, we helped the family build a modest wooden house on their tiny land plot. The government eventually built a primary school to serve the thousands of families in the settlement. Both brothers excelled in school, despite the fact that grandmother could not be of any help with their studies.

The older boy, Phiroum, became withdrawn as a teen, dropped out of high school and moved to the city to stay with friends and train as auto mechanic.

The younger boy, Vichet, who remained devoted to his ailing grandmother, stayed at home to help and continued to study hard in school. In his spare time he studied English to prepare himself to pursue his dream of becoming a tour guide in Phnom Penh.

 In 2010 Vichet’s aunt, also died of AIDS, leaving an orphaned six year old daughter. This little girl, Rantha, Vichet’s cousin, came to live with Vichet and his grandmother. Both children studied hard studied hard while also taking care of their grandmother who suffers from many health problems.

 In 2015, at the age of 21, Vichet finally completed grade 12 and prepared to take the very difficult national examination. If he passed, he would earn a high school graduation diploma. Despite his years of hard study, the poor quality of his education in a rural and poor  public school did not prepare him adequately for the exam.

 Unlike middle class children who often  take a series of rather expensive “extra classes” in order to prepare for the national exam, children of the poor or in rural areas inevitably fail and our Vichet failed his exam in 2015 and he would need to wait one year to try again. Students who do not pass the high school exam are allowed to wait a year and retake it but, without the benefit of a rigorous tutoring program, chances of success only diminish with time.

Having completed grade 12 and but failing to receive a diploma, Vichet now works in a warehouse loading trucks, working six days per week for $100 per month. Sadly, due to lack of study and practice, his once fine English language skills have declined markedly. He would like to prepare himself to retake the high school graduation exam next July but as the main support for his family, he is, very understandably, unwilling to give up his full time job and Vichet  is hoping to somehow tutor himself to success.

 Unless Vichet enrolls full time in high school (again) and retakes grade 12 along with a battery of outside “extra classes,” his chance of success is dim at best. Therefore, we are considering options for vocational training while also looking to re-enroll him in an English language program with the hope that he might one day gain the proficiency required to pursue his long ago dream of working as a tour guide. All of these options, of course, require funds: funds not only to replace his income for the family, but also funds for tutoring or vocational school. Indeed, changing Vichet's life’s current trajectory , from a low paid manual laborer to a more middle class life as a tour guide, will depend on this.

 Meanwhile, the Rantha is now fourteen years old and in grade eight and studying hard. Although she ranks  #1 her English language program in a class of thirty students, in her Khmer language and other core program classes, Rantha ranks in about the 30th percentile.  

 We are very proud of both of these orphaned young people for their determined efforts and their kind treatment of their ailing grandmother.

We are the family for our families!

A central theme of our Program, has been a long term approach to help the children in our program, cruelly impacted by extreme poverty and HIV/AIDS, to somehow break out of the cycle of inherited poverty and move into the middle class. As you can see with the history of this fragile family, sometimes the “ progress” in this goal is two steps forward and one step back and it is a very long and uncertain road to success.

We are very proud of both of these young people. In a society where young people are often focused only on their own gratification , this young man, Vichet, has been steadfast in his kindness and loyalty, taking care of his ailing grandmother and his young cousin, Rantha, while trying to continue to move himself forward despite formidable obstacles and odds against him. He is truly a kind and gentle soul.

Vichet is a member of our “ family” , so our goal is to try to help Vichet build a life of hope and progress, and help him move forward along that very long and difficult road out of extreme poverty.

Our donor support over the many years has empowered us to help many other fragile families, all of whom, without our “family” support,  would fall backward into a life of hopelessness. Instead, we try to see how we can try to help, by coming up with a different strategy, never giving up, for after all, we are the family for our families.

 We deeply appreciate the continued support of our generous donors for the families in our care. None of this would be possible without you.

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

Vichet and Rantha
Vichet and Rantha
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Organization Information

Kasumisou Foundation

Location: Menlo Park, California - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Barbara Rosasco
Secretary/Treasurer
Menlo Park, Ca. United States
$135,065 raised of $150,000 goal
 
1,253 donations
$14,935 to go
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