We have some awesome news! Our Lotus Kids’ Club got a brand new playground–the first the kids have ever seen! Steve, our project consultant, talks about the amazing gift below:
LKC Wins the Lottery: Ok, the Lotus Kids Club has not actually won a lottery, but that’s what it felt like after Lisa and I met with Solera. Solera is a company based in Dallas, Texas who has taken an interest in Senhoa’s community program the Lotus Kids Club and wants to help in a big way. They have already provided the funding for a playground that we desperately needed for the children we serve. And the playground is built! It has truly enriched our program and provided hours of fun for all ages of the community of kids we serve. I should mention the proposal was submitted by Daniel, owner of Tangram Garden restaurant in Siem Reap, through Trails of Indochina, a unique tour company.
The playground came out of a proposal written explaining our need for a space so our young children could develop their gross motor skills and the older children could participate in active play promoting cooperation. Without seeing the LKC program Solera decided to fund the playground construction. We were thrilled because it was a dream come true for us. We had to start the ball rolling quickly because we were told they wanted to come and help with the construction, @ 20 folks. Of course I thought “sure they’re going to help in 99F/37C heat”?! No way. How wrong I was because when they arrived it was indeed HOT and HUMID but they got to work digging, hauling bricks, and doing whatever was needed. I was duly impressed.
And Tony the founder/CEO was right in the thick of it, though I think he enjoyed more his time playing with some of the kids. His assistant Katie was clearly having fun with the kids. After a few hours we met with Tony and Katie before they left and they expressed interest in continuing to help LKC. The meeting was short but it seemed a strong connection was made. They are very honest and down to earth folks. They said they would return in a couple of months and I put them in contact with Lisa.
The playground (sorry the picture is from a bad angle)
Fortunately they were returning when Lisa was planning a site visit to Senhoa in Siem Reap. I was thrilled that would be the case as I thought they really needed to meet Lisa. So in April we all got together and when Tony and Katie began talking about what they hoped to accomplish for LKC I felt like they were reading our minds. Much of their vision of how to best help us was in line with what we have always hoped to accomplish if we had the resources to do so. They want to provide us with those resources.
So now the work has begun. We are drafting and submitting plans for professional staff development, a focus on the children’s health and continuing education, a family development approach, vocational training, micro loans and finding ways to involve the community as a whole in helping themselves escape the cycle of poverty. We are realistic and realize the challenges we face yet optimistic because we have seen change and know it can happen. It will be a group effort from Senhoa HQ, the LKC staff, the youth, the families and the community we serve. I believe we are on a path to bring significant change that will continue to grow through generations. Wish us luck.