As we have often said, a large part of the success of each of project is its ability to have sustained funding.
You are receiving this project update because you may have, in the past, been a supporter of out program to help indigent mothers impacted by HIV/AIDs to support their chidlren, and we hope that you will again consider supporting this effort as we move toward Giving Tuesday, on December 1.
During the month of December, recurring donations, which can be as small as just $10.00 per month, can receive a one month match from Global Giving. Donations may be made directly to the FSP program here or to our Educate Cambodian Kids Impacted by AIDS micro project , also posted on GlobalGiving.
Since 2000, our AIDS Patient Family Support Program has continued a 15 year effort to protect fragile children impacted by extreme poverty and HIV/AIDS. Beyond the social support that we provide for our current roster of 37 families and approximately 70 children, we provide access to education for the children in the FSP. Social support includes helping with tasks of daily living, such as connecting family with resources, making and attending doctors appointments and a large variety of other ways to help these families more safe and secure. Key to our long term strategy to lift the children out of poverty is our focus on education.
We are proud to say that our strategy works ! In Cambodia where it is estimated that only 40% of Cambodian students graduate from high school and the average educational grade proficiency is 6th grade, we take great pride that our FSP program has children graduating from high school in spite of the giant challenges of extreme poverty and families impacted by HIV/AIDs. We even have a few who have made it to college.
The children all returned to school in October to start their new year. These children benefit from our education program because they can start each year with a new school uniform, a new book bag and proper school supplies and avoid the stigma of being immediately identified as the “ poor kids” at the start of the term. We pay the extra weekly " teacher fees" that are a part of the reality of underfunded public education in Cambodia, as teacher salaries are grossly inadequate. Consequently , teachers assess each student additional " fees" these fees , and depending upon the grade level, the fees can add up to as much as $30 per month for students to receive proper instruction in the public schools. Without the fees, students are not given proper lesson instruction, teachers ignore questions in class and will not provide key information to enable middle and high school students to pass proficiency exams.
Our FSP home care team , visits each family at least once per week, and quite often more than once per week. Our Team in addition to monitoring the general condition of the family, is also tasked with trying to keep kids on track at grade level. In the event that remedial or supplemental tutoring is required or indicated , our program will provide the funds to access these services and monitor progress. . Our strong focus on education has created results over the years, with the large majority of our students passing each year on to the next grade . Many of our students have graduated from middle and high school and we currently have 2 in our college program.
These accomplishments, while ordinary in the developed world, are often " firsts". The child may be the first in the family to achieve any literacy, or the first family member to achieve graduation from elementary school, and for the great majority of our FSP families, the children who graduate from middle school and high school are truly " firsts". All of this requires a slow, consistent and focused effort to help these kids overcome the challenges of living in extreme poverty, illiterate parents and social stigma.
We are proud to say that our efforts over these many years does move these kids forward toward the day when they will step forward and step out of their current situation of inherited poverty. We are deeply grateful to our generous supporters for their long time support and hope that you will again join us in our efforts to help these children.
Barbara & Mark Rosasco