Currently, there is not a lot that we can write about to update our Rural Assistance Program.
Our reports in April and August detailed how the COVID 19 virus created severe travel restrictions making it impossible to run this program without the assurances and safeguards of our personal supervision and close staff support. This type of monitoring has always been a critical element of our program and we feel that it has been key to our success in our ability to achieve so many of our goals over the past 20 years. Unlike our programs in Phnom Penh , we do not have locally placed staff in the countryside that are of the caliber needed to oversee the operations of the entire program. Although this has always been a challenge,Mark’s frequent on-site visits to review our projects were essential to monitor and maintain efficient use of our limited resources.
Cambodia still has very strict travel restrictions. At the end of April Cambodia was closed to entry by Americans and Europeans. Although now it may be possible to visit, a combination of testing,and required 14 day quarantine continue to make a visit unfeasible. Consequently, for the time being, we reluctantly continue the current operation of our Rural Assistance Program. Now ,based on recent developments with COVID 19, it is our assumption that this suspension may last through mid year 2021.
Our decisions have been based on the following factors:
1) Donor funds could not then, nor now, provide funding adequate to maintain the program at its necessary levels.
2) In the US and Japan ,where most of our donor base lives, the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis had combined with weather extremes - ranging from typhoons, hurricanes and most recently , wildfires in California to create urgently competing needs for donor funds. Now renewed shut down of businesses due to surging COVID cases in the US and the continued impact of COVID in Japan, this further impacts our fundraising abilities.
In light of these conditions, we feel that we must continue the suspension of our program’s operations as we wait to see how things develop. We are disappointed that this is where we find ourselves, but we feel that we have no choice, We will keep you posted on any updates as they occur.
We are deeply grateful to you, our donors , for your generous and long time support of this program. It is our sincere hope that we will be able to move forward at some point in 2021.
With heartfelt thanks for your understanding,
Barbara & Mark Rosasco