Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for Their Kids

by Kasumisou Foundation
Vetted
Ena and her mother
Ena and her mother

A reason to celebrate !

Over the years there are hundreds of times where we have stepped in to provide the modest housing and social support for families that are hanging on by a thread. Our goal is  to create a stable family lifestyle . We have rescued mothers and their children who are living rough on the streets , we have provided transitional housing to mothers snatched from death and returned to fragile but better health and we have stepped in to prevent a family from becoming homeless. Although most of the families in our program are impacted in some way by HIV/ AIDS, we have had a few situations over the years where we have also helped families with other, equally serious health conditions.

But far beyond these essential services that we provide to our families, key to our mission is to help the children in our program to stay in school and to help them see that there is a different life beyond the slums where they live and to give them the tools to move forward toward that new life.

Ena- Age 12

We are very proud of all of the young people in our FSP because of the challenges which they have had to overcome in their lives but there are times when some of our kids make us especially proud. This report features one of those exceptional young people , Ena - age 12, grade 6 .

Ena (below in the purple shirt) and her mother both suffer from life threatening, congenital heart problems for which they receive continuous treatment at Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh.

Despite her medical problems, Ena is currently ranked #1 in her class of 20 students at a local, private English language school and she is #20 in her class of 47 students in her Khmer language classes at the government run middle school.

We enroll and sponsor many of the children in our FSP in English language programs because proficiency in English is the single skill which will most help them to get good jobs when they finish their formal education. Most of our children will, unfortunately, not be able to attend university and many will not even complete high school , despite our efforts. However, if these children can speak, read and write English well when they become young adults, they will be qualified for a wide variety of jobs with good incomes and upward potential.

Your support helps us to keep these fragile families together and helps our children to keep moving forward to break the cycle of inherited poverty.

We hope that you will share our delight in Ena’s great accomplishments and continue onward with us in our journey to support her and other children in our program.   Without you, we would not be able to provide housing and other support to Ena and others like her.

Thank you for your generous support

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

Ena, Age 12, Grade 6
Ena, Age 12, Grade 6

Update 2015

Yes, your support makes a difference !

Since its beginning in 2000, Kasumisou Foundation’s AIDS Patient Family Support Program ( FSP) has been a vital support system for fragile families impacted by extreme poverty and HIV/AIDS in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The FSP is the formal name of the program that helps destitute women with AIDS care for their children. Our families are typically single parent families.

2014 saw the completion of a transition of families from the FSP whom we felt were able to function either independently or with the aid of their family. The families who remain are those which are unable to make the transaction to a more independent lifestyle outside of our program.

One of the challenging aspects of maintaining a program like the FSP is the challenge of trying to address to two diverging needs. Our project provides  caretaker support to keep these fragile families together, in safe housing with enough food.  Candidly speaking, it is essentially too late to do  very much more for the mothers in these families other providing  a structure of compassionate support, to actively  monitor and address the needs of the families. Our project at the same time, recognizes the urgent need to provide more active support for the children, providing  social oversight and  promoting a strong emphasis on education. Only through education , will the children in this program be able to break the chain of inherited poverty.

We are proud,  that in a nation where educational  access is uneven at best, and where  few children finish high school, this program, due to its long years of  consistent efforts, now has recently seen  4 of  our program’s students enter college.

Progress on a long term program such as this sometimes seems to be so slow as to be nearly invisible: there are few “headline “ items. But despite the seemingly slow pace, we remind ourselves that slow and steady effort  is the key to helping the children in these families reach a point in their lives where they can step out of the underclass into a brighter future.

None of this is possible without the generous support of you, our donors . Please accept our heartfelt thanks for all that you do to help us in our efforts. Your support changes the lives of these families and provides  life changing opportunities for the chilren.

With best wishes to you all for a successful 2015.

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

>>>October 15 is Bonus Match Day at GlobalGiving !<<<

GlobalGiving will hold its Fall Partner Bonus Match Day on October15, offering a 30% match on donations. If you are considering making a donation to this project, your donation could receive 30%  in matching funds while funds are available.  

What's new at the FSP?  Two FSP students step toward future opportunity!

Since its beginning in 2000, Kasumisou Foundation  has provided educational assistance for the children in the Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for their Kids and  ( a part of our AIDS Patient Family Support Program).In a nation where educational  access is uneven at best,  few children finish high school. One of our most important goals for all of our programs,  has been to keep kids in school, to help them to break the cycle of inherited poverty.

Education is a long slow road. Progress may be uneven and sometimes the progress is so slow as to be nearly invisible. But sometimes , something wonderful happens. We have two kids who have just completed high school and wait, now as I write this report, for their national High School examination results, the last hurdle to cross in order to qualify to enter college! Both of these kids have been with our AIDS Patient Family Support program for 10 years or more. And both are now taking a step away from inherited poverty and  a big step toward future opportunity.

Inflation continues to creep up in Phnom Penh, with increases in rents and food costs. We have had to increase food allowances significantly, with increases ranging from 10%  to 25% depending upon the household and the need. As children grow up, so do their appetites , this combines with inflation and  makes our  food budget a moving target for us.

We are just starting the new school year with more thn 30 students. We are proud to say that 17 of our kids are high school students.

None of this  would not be possible without your patient and loyal support. Without you, our many  generous  supporters, now scattered far and wide over the years, none of these kids would have had a home, enough to eat, access to medical  and the opportunity to attend school and build a real future.

Our sincere thanks to you all for joining us in this effort. We hope that you feel as proud of the accomplishments of our kids as do we and that you will continue to join with us to help the kids in our AIDS Patient Family Support Program step forward into a brighter future.

Thank you,

Barbara and Mark Rosasco

In Memory of Channa....
In Memory of Channa....

Channa, 17, a member of our program, passed away July 11,2014 in Phnom Penh.  

Channa and her family have received  support via our “ Help Destitute Moms with AIDS Care for their Children” program which is posted on GlobalGiving.  Our first encounter with Channa came when  her family began participation in Kasumisou Foundation's  AIDS Patient Family Support Program ( FSP)  in  2002.   

Channa was HIV positive from birth. She was about 4 when she and her mom joined our program . In 2000,when Kasumisou Foundation's AIDS Patient Family Support Program began,  about 40% of  our parent program members with HIV/AIDS died within 12 months of joining our program.  Although it often took longer  for children to become symptomatic,  without treatment options, these children’s lifetimes were often  brief once they fell ill.  In mid 2002,we began to be able to provide the new life prolonging anti-retroviral drugs to moms and kids as funding and the drugs  became more widely available.

Channa and her mother were both   able to receive drug support once the drugs became available. For years we provided housing and food support for the family and Channa and her family lived a hard but reasonably stable life. We supported Channa's school attendance and as a youngster, she attended various activities and outings sponsored by our program.

Her mother also worked very hard, when her  health permitted , to try to provide for the family, but even with the assistance of our program, Channa’s family remained mired in   poverty. As Channa grew older and became a teenager, she became quite despondent about her life. Channa decided to stop going to school. Although HIV positive, she also decided to stop taking the drugs that had suppressed   her illness. Despite our home care team’s urgent efforts to engage Channa and persuade her to change her mind and restart her treatment , she remained depressed. For a while, as a teenager, we were able to persuade Channa  to work as a youth volunteer with children residing at the National Orphanage. The children who reside at the National Orphanage are generally those who are categorized as “ unadoptable” due to health issues such as serious physical and mental impairment and/or their HIV status. Channa seemed to enjoy her work there and we were told that she had a wonderful way with the resident children. But after several months , Channa decided to stop her volunteer work and her health continued to decline.

Kasumisou Foundation has for years, provided the required "stable lifestyle" for  hundreds of  homeless patients, moms and kids, providing housing, food, social support and guidance to help patients like Channa and her mom. The  stable lifestyle, our program’s social support   and access to  medical care kept this fragile  family, Channa, her younger brother and her mom,  together.  Her mother remains in the program, caring for Channa's younger brother, who is  now in middle school.

The assistance provided by our program changed Channa's story and those of many others over the years  from a nameless short life and early death on the streets attributed to  poverty and HIV/AIDS to lives, however brief,  that were respected and  that had meaning.

A little girl of just 4 years old when she joined our program, Channa was able to live with her mother and her brother, as a family, for 12 years. Although her life’s journey was extremely difficult, in her younger years  we know that she had some happy times and in her teen years  she still managed to bring some comfort to the children she helped at the National Orphanage. Despite her hardships, she made a difference to others. Although there are limits to what our program can change,   our program's help  gave  Channa  and her family 12  years together. In the end,  although our efforts could not save Channa’s life, her life was not without respect or  meaning and she did not die alone and unattended.

The kind generosity of our donors makes it possible for us to try to bring comfort, support and meaning to the lives of fragile families facing  the twin challenges of HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty and  who are  struggling  at a level that is unthinkable for us. Each one of you, our donors, is the  lifeline that makes this possible. And so we ask you to join us and to remember Channa.

Please accept our heartfelt thanks for your kindness.

 

Barbara & Mark

Aspiring student
Aspiring student

Our title  starts with "On the edge" . Our report will give three examples of young people who are at a crossroads  and who are  " on the edge" of change.

Since 2000  our project has helped destitute moms with AIDS ( in Phnom Penh, Cambodia ) care for their kids through our AIDS Patient Family Support Program ( FSP).   We have stepped in hundreds of times  to provide modest housing and the social support that is essential to create a stable family lifestyle . We have rescued mothers and their children who are living rough on the streets , we have provided transitional housing to mothers snatched from death and returned to fragile but better health by the care of Sisters at a local AIDS hospice and we have stepped in to prevent  families  from becoming homeless.

But far beyond these essential services, our goal  is to help children to stay in school and to help them see that there is a different life beyond the mean streets of the slums where they live. We want  to give these kids the opportunity to break the cycle of inherited poverty. Key to that effort is the  family support that we provide by actively monitoring the condition of each  of our patient families through weekly or more frequent visits and  providing  additional support when needed.

We are so pleased that we have two students who are just finishing their high school studies and who will sit for the national high school examination in August. Both students have a dream of passing the exam and qualifying for entry in to college in the fall. Both have been in our FSP program  and under our care for more than 10 years. Ravin, age 18, dreams of studying Chemistry and food science. Vichet, age 20,  comes from Anlung Kgang settlement  and wants  initially to study English. If they pass their  high school exams,  both will become  candidates for our college tuition program and Jobs for Cambodian Youth program.

Another young person in our program, age 14 , is facing an extremely serious and complex struggle. This young lady lives in a deteriorating family situation that may be on the edge of complete breakdown. Already quite fragile, the mother in this family has  become extremely unstable mentally . It is not unusual for HIV/AIDS to cause  dementia.  We are unsure as to the precise cause of this mental illness, but it is taking a toll on  14 year Srey Maol. Never a strong student, she has fallen so far behind that  she has dropped out of school and may likely not be able to return.  A further concern is that she is exposed to a steady and frequent stream of new boyfriends by her mother’s sister. Srey Mao and her mother live with this aunt.  Neither mother nor aunt  value education and so we are gravely concerned.  We trying to find effective measures to help  stabilize the situation including the serious challenge presented by the mother's deteriorating mental health of   finding an  alternative to the current  housing situation.

One temporary solution is to find activities to occupy Srey Mao  during daytime hours. We have decided that a possible temporary replacement to school could be full day class participation at our Champey Academy of Arts. This would provide structure 6 days a week and  help her build self esteem. It will also  keep Srey Mao out of the house and give her a break from the constant stress of her mother’s illness and keep  her away from her aunt’s boyfriends who are hanging around.

We are not sure we can “ win” this one, but we are trying hard to find solutions with the hope that bit by bit we can turn this situation around, or perhaps place this young girl on a different track of art, music or dance and exposure to stable adults.

Without your support, we would not have two newly graduating highschool students, and our young friend would be a just a tiny step away from a wasted life. Instead, we have two students with hopes of college, and young girl for whom we will try our best to keep moving forward to a better life.

Our heartfelt thanks to you all for your continued support of our efforts!

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

Aspiring Student
Aspiring Student
 

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Organization Information

Kasumisou Foundation

Location: Menlo Park, California - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.kasumisou.org
Project Leader:
Barbara Rosasco
Secretary/Treasurer
Menlo Park, Ca. United States
$82,648 raised of $99,999 goal
 
458 donations
$17,351 to go
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