Project #14223

Feed our children, give them Wings to fly!

by Riverkids Foundation
Your help with meals and school makes them smile
Your help with meals and school makes them smile

Last year, we set a goal to raise US$64,000 for our Riverkids Wings program to help families in Cambodia overcome a temporary crisis.

We’ve reached the goal, a huge thanks to your generosity and Global Giving’s three remarkable bonus matching days to raise hope for all our kids!

Your donations have helped so many of our families with rental, meals, medical and counselling support when they are temporarily knocked down by a crisis. Because you love our kids, our families could escape a medical debt, poverty and trafficking.

Trafficking is a major problem in South-East Asia. In Cambodia, we see the way poverty, gender inequalities and erratic income interact to exacerbate the problem. Malnourished, barely literate and struggling for work, children in Cambodia also face a rise in rape. While child brothels have gone underground, children from the slums can still expect either a family member or neighbour to molest or rape them, with two-thirds of hugely underreported rape cases against minors. Trafficking convictions are slowly increasing, but for the estimated one-third of Cambodian sex workers who are children or teenagers, that’s small comfort.

Our project on Global Giving’s site is now closed, but our Wings program continues to serve our families in crisis every month. Do keep in touch with us here on facebook or visit our website. It’d be awesome if you can continue to donate to keep our doors open to all 600 children so they can have a safe, bright and happy future.

Immensely grateful,

Elaine Woon


Children having meals at Riverkids Weekly Boarding
Children having meals at Riverkids Weekly Boarding

When one of our clients told us last month that she heard of a job available outside Cambodia from an unknown source, we raised the red flag immediately.

We helped her to identify the validity of the job and concluded that it was unclear who the recruiter was and that the job was genuine. Although she seemed caring because she requested Riverkids to enroll her younger siblings in our Weekly Boarding while she might be away from work, she bit them without apparent reasons when they were at home. The younger ones were terrified.

She was happy to let them have training and education, but stopped her younger sister from going to school. She is suffering from borderline disorder and has multi-personality, and this made our counselling extremely difficult, but after rounds of negotiation, we’re able to keep the family within our sight and safe – for now.

In another long-standing case, a loving grandpa threw in the towel, saying that he was no longer capable of looking after his five-year-old grandson due to deteriorating health. For two years, he had been taking care of him because the boy’s mother had been working at night and is HIV+. Our social workers provided monthly visits and allowance to support the grandpa and boy living far away from our centres.

The boy’s mother is now pregnant and near term, so we promised her that we would take care of the boy if no one else could. However, the mother neither wanted her son back nor had him in our Weekly Boarding. None of her friends and neighbours could help. For a month, we were in a deadlock, but broke through recently after going back and forth with her many times until she finally agreed. We met up with the local authority to sign the agreement to enroll the boy in our Weekly Boarding. He was also tested negative for HIV, which was a great relief to all of us, and you.

While all our families have some serious issue, a small minority of the families with multiple severe issues requires more staff time, funding and assistance than the rest of the majority of the families. We work on the Pareto principle (20% of our families take up 80% of our focus) and together with surveys and research, we become very good in what we do.

All these help had been possible because of your funding on May 7th GlobalGiving’s Bonus Day. You raised US$29,379 inclusive of matching bonus of US$6,549 and the US$1,000 award for the highest amount raised among over 3000 charities worldwide who participated. For 550 children we’re serving in Cambodia – that’s enormous help.

As of June 2nd, 2014, the remaining goal stands at US$9,431. The next Bonus Day is coming up on July 16th, 2014 and it’s even more rewarding. Because you have helped us to maintain our Superstar status, we’ll be getting 50% bonus matching funds for the donation anyone is going to make on that day. See you again on July 16th, 9PM Singapore time and for the rest of the world, the time to donate for 50% matching funds is here. Thank you.

A loving sister babysits her brother in the slums
A loving sister babysits her brother in the slums

We are now forty-five days away from Global Giving’s BIG bonus day, saluted by charities as one of the most generous giving day by all donors worldwide. 

This year, Bonus Day falls on May 7th, Wednesday and that’s the same week many of us celebrate Mothers’ Day.


Give Mothers hope this May

Can you give something special and big to appreciate all the mothers Riverkids serves in Cambodia?


Impact of your donations to Wings

Over the last nine months, you've helped us raised an astounding US$28,974 which has given 347 families hope for a better future. It kept children out of dangerous street work and in class, so they have a chance in education. It provided temporary shelter to our families whose houses were flooded during the monsoon season in October 2013. Extra blankets, noodles, fish sauce, rice and mosquitoe nets were distributed.

It stopped a debt from spiraling because a mother borrowed $50 from a neighbour to deliver her baby in the hospital. Social workers visited families to work out solutions, our nurse carried out health checks on children, and made sure babies have enough formula milk until they are healthy again. This was the huge difference your donation made to our families who could not find help anywhere near them. Thank you very much.


How much can US$100 do in Cambodia?

The amount of Direct Cash Aid varies among families. For a destitute family with three Riverkids children below 18, one pregnant mother and a granny, they need a monthly stipend of $137, but for another family, $30 a month would adequately pull them through a difficult time and bring them back to stability in three months.

This May 7th, can you set aside $100 to help a family in crisis with meals, healthcare, school and safety? With Global Giving’s 30% bonus matching where its 15% administration deduction is covered by a very generous donor friend of ours, Lyn, 100% of your donation will be matched and bumped up to $130. Lyn has donated US$7,520 to cover the admin fee because she believes strongly in the work that Riverkids does and that her partnership with you will thrust your donation to provide an extra month of warm and loving meals to a Cambodian family in the slum at no extra charge.


A small amount that does incredible things 

What you can provide with $100 in Cambodia is far more than what the same amount can do in developed countries. Cramped in a two-by-two metres shack in the Cambodian slums, a family of five is able to share a simple meal of vegetable soup with a big pot of porridge and some meat and eggs added to their meal. It pays for the rental of a tiny space so they don’t have to be thrown out by the landlord at the time of crisis and pocket money to replace a teenage girl’s income while she goes through training. Most of all, you are giving the family assurance that things will be stable again soon.


See you in April

April’s coming with a chance to give big and Global Giving’s matching bonus will help Riverkids to give our families extra for free. Catch up real soon!


Exceedingly grateful,




Photo credit: Bernadette Vincent and Micky Wiswedel (child carrying younger brother)


Housemothers serving meals to Riverkids children
Housemothers serving meals to Riverkids children
Children collecting their bread before school
Children collecting their bread before school
Formula milk for a healthier toddler
Formula milk for a healthier toddler
Baby Chavy is now healthy and bubbly
Baby Chavy is now healthy and bubbly

This Christmas, we have many things to celebrate for – sales target achievements, bonuses, weddings, graduations and births. 

Close your eyes and imagine for while how a tiny seven months old baby could weigh only three kilograms, but here in Cambodia, we are celebrating triumphs over storms for a little baby, her sister and mother. 

This was the life of baby Chavy – she was fed wet rice with sugar and on her mother’s back in the Phnom Penh markets, watching her beg for their food daily. 

But, Chavy’s mother is our hero and ‘tiger mum’ this Christmas. She is a woman who has not let HIV, death, betrayal, rape and poverty push her down. 

Widowed and betrayed at her second marriage, she bravely packed her stuff to leave the house with her daughters when she discovered that her husband attempted to abuse her six-year old. 

She fought fiercely to protect them, found another place to stay, a school for her six-year old, got HIV medication for herself and her daughters tested repeatedly to ensure they were negative. 

Riverkids helped with formula milk, food, rent, healthcare and counselling. This came from the $46 a month you gave us through Global Giving, just $46 a month, and that changed their lives completely. 

We are crossing the half way mark in our funding for the Wings program on Global Giving. We need 66 wonderful supporters like you to each give $46 a month for the next twelve months to form a steady stream of aid that achieve the same impact for a family like Chavy’s. 

This Christmas, would you give a gift of $46 a month or forward this to a friend who could help? Thank you so much!


Please note that the photograph above is of another family with a similar aged child as Chavy. Under our child protection policy, we do not use identifying photographs of our children. We also used a different name for Chavy.  

Snacks before a field trip to Bophana Centre
Snacks before a field trip to Bophana Centre

A young woman turned up at our office last month, swollen in her left eye and bleeding as a result of getting beaten by her husband because an ex-client of hers came to her house.

The man went to her house because he had wanted to pass her some rental money and check if everything was fine after hearing that the husband had not been supporting the family and had flung the daughter to the wall when she was caught in mischief with a group of boys in the slum.

Kunthea is a sex worker, pregnant and the mother of her nine-year old daughter. She works hard to make ends meet, but was often blamed for many carelessness at home. Despite being beaten by her husband a few times, she did not wish to bring a charge against him, but is fine with our suggestion to introduce a counsellor to help.

The aid that you provided assisted the girls to get their wounds treated. It settled the outstanding rent incurred when Kunthea was unable to work due to her injuries and pregnancy. She also got her pre-natal checkups done at the hospital, thanks to you, both the mother and daughter have recovered and are safe.

There are numerous pockets of such families that Riverkids work with. One afternoon meal for a child means a safe day in school, learning instead of picking up trash on the streets to help with income. Health checks for a pregnant mother means increasing the chance of a safe delivery and a healthy mother. Abuse is rampant, but our social workers are able to intervene before a crisis happens because you decided that the children and families we serve deserve to have a better future.

The worst could have happened if we didn’t have your help. In no time, the family could have spiralled into debt snowballed by exorbitant interest rates, Kunthea could have had a miscarriage or thought about giving up her baby in the future to settle the debts, but you changed all that. Thank you for believing in Riverkids and our families in Cambodia. 

Kids at Weekly Boarding, Riverkids
Kids at Weekly Boarding, Riverkids' safe shelter.

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Organization Information

Riverkids Foundation

Location: Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia - Cambodia
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Riverkids Project
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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