Build dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College!

by Kasumisou Foundation
Build dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College!
Build dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College!
Build dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College!
Build dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College!
Build dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College!
Build dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College!
Build dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College!
Build dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College!
Build dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College!
Build dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College!
Build dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College!
Build dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College!
Build dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College!
Build dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College!
Build dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College!
Build dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College!

Trying to keep dreams on track....

As parents and friends, we   sometimes see the goals and dreams of others sidetracked because of unexpected challenges like a medical event. In the developed world, these challenges may simply represent a delay and through the efforts of friends and family, things get back on track. In the developing world, the likelihood is that once a dream is “ sidetracked” , that dream or opportunity is lost forever.

We currently have 12 students in our Build Dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College “ program who are attending college classes and who are heading into semester final exams now. Each one of these students has overcome challenges that most of us would consider nearly impossible, yet here they are, moving forward to achieve their dreams of a college education.

Our program currently has a student who is faced with a grave challenge. Ms. P , age 20 came into our college program from our AIDS Patient Family Support Program ( FSP) . Ms. P’s family has been with the FSP for more than 10 years . Her entire family is impacted by HIV/AIDS. Her father passed away some years ago from AIDS , her mother and sister ( age 15) both have AIDs and have at times been quite ill. Ms P also AIDS and has been taking AIDS medications since 2005 but fortunately, she has never been symptomatic.

Ms P graduated from High School 2 years ago, where she had consistently ranked in the top 3 in her class .  Her graduation was quite an accomplishment as only about 40% of all Cambodian students ever graduate from high school , let alone students  who have faced and overcome challenges like the ones in Ms. P’s young life. Since her High School graduation , Ms. P has entered college where she is studying business.

The current challenge!

A few months ago Ms. P developed some numbness in her right hand. This progressed over several weeks to where Ms. P lost all use of her right hand. This means she cannot drive a motor scooter to attend college classes, but must rely on others. She cannot comb her own hair or hold a pencil to write. She is teaching herself to write left handed as a result of this. During Mark’s last visit to Cambodia, Mark , as is his usual custom, met with Ms. P and her family. After arranging for  local medical testing ,Mark  was strongly advised by two doctors to have Ms P taken Bangkok immediately to consult with an Orthopedic hand surgeon , something not available in Cambodia. Initial tests indicated nerve damage of unknown origin, which if left untreated could likely result in a permanent loss of use for the entire right arm.

Ms. P traveled to Bangkok with her aunt and uncle, who can speak some English and through our network of contacts and trusted friends, we arranged for Ms. P to undergo extensive medical testing.Because Ms P is  HIV positive, we also needed to determine whether this condition might in some way be  a medical complication of her current medication.  

The tests in Bankgok  indicate a condition called “ Brachial Plexitis” which is an irritation/inflammation of a nerve network   that serves to transmit “ messages” from the upper spinal column to the shoulder and arm. If left untreated, it can result in paralysis of that arm.

Ms. P returned to Phnom Penh because her final exams are at hand and she did not want to lose a semester of work.

Ms. P needs to return to Bangkok for an MRI and a series of 5 treatments with IV administered medicine once her exams are over on July 15.

Ms. P is determined to complete her studies, but for now, this “ challenge” is multifaceted: health, time and money may converge to derail Ms. P from her goal of completing a college education. But, even more important is that without proper treatment, Ms. P , at age 20, may lose full use of her right arm.

Our goal

Obviously this is not an expenditure that we planned for in our college program. In the developed world, there would health insurance and family resources to cover costs. But this is not the case here.

The trip to Bangkok for diagnosis and initial treatment came to $ 1500, the return trip for the MRI and additional treatment Is estimated at another $ 1500 to $ 2000. While modest in cost compared to the US, this is literally a fortune of money for Ms. P and her family.

Kasumisou Foundation programs have often acted as “family” during times like this. We are hopeful that you, our generous donors, will be willing to  help and  to fund some of Ms. P’s medical costs so that she can get back on track to achieve her dream of completing a college education. It would be a shame for her to have come so far only to be derailed by the challenge she currently faces.

Our sincere thanks to all of you for your kind support for all of  the students in our program .

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

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Today is Global Giving Match Day!


Today,  May 13th, GlobalGiving is matching EVERY eligible donation on our Bonus Day! In the first-ever Pro-Rated Bonus Day, the matching percentage will be decided at the end of the day based on this formula: ($75,000/Total Amount Raised) x 100 = Matching Percentage

Another benefit of this structure is that donors don't have to give early on Bonus Day to get matched! 

When we speak about program progress, it is easy to overlook that key to the success of each of   project is its ability to have sustained funding.  Our college program came upon us unexpectedly. Suddenly,the past couple of years, we had students from other programs who had graduated from high school. We always said, stay in school, but candidly speaking , in Cambodia where only about 40% of highschool students graduate, we were amazed that OUR kids , who come from extremely poor backgrounds, were suddenly graduating and ready to take the next step to college !  Stable funding needed to continue this venture and your support through GlobalGiving has provided this wonderful opportunity to our students.

Your efforts make it possible for us to help to fulfill the dreams of these hardworking students.

We are always grateful to you, our donors, for your continued support.

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

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Slow and steady wins the race.....

Mark has been in Cambodia the past couple of weeks where he has had an opportunity to visit with most  of our “ Kasumisou Scholars”, the name that we will be using to rebrand this, our newest educational effort.

Ideally, education is a slow and steady process, punctuated by positive events such as  successful exams, achievement milestone and eventually graduation. This effort is precisely that…a slow and steady effort. Our main goal in this program  is to create a stable environment for our students, all of whom , at least in our western world, would qualify as “ at risk” due to their family’s modest resources, therefore causing our students to fall into the category of financially vulnerable. This means that not only are we paying tuition and books, but we are assisting with housing, mentoring  and for several, providing part time employment at Champey Academy , which in turns supplies pocket money for personal needs.

From time to time there is unwanted excitement, such as now. One of our students had an  unfortunate accident, where she was hit by a motorcycle, breaking her wrist. This simple misfortune in our world would be inconvenient, but in her world it is quite  problematic. She now must pay for transportation for someone to drive her to class, with funds she does not really  have. She is forced to delay her “ practicum” , which is essential to her nursing degree and all of this may delay her eventual graduation. Our support during this trying time will be vital to her continued progress.

As with our own kids, it is no small matter to help these students to  get through college .  It requires a considerable  hands on approach  and individualized assistance to ensure that unexpected obstacles do not derail long term plans and dreams.

We are deeply grateful to you, our donors, for your support and belief that our individual efforts, combined, collectively become a powerful force for change and enables these students to achieve what just a short time ago to them seemed to be the wildest of dreams, to have a college education.

Many of you may work for companies that will provide matching grants for education or other charities. We would be deeply grateful if you could ask about this, and if so, let us know so that we can investigate the opportunity for  a possible match to your GlobalGiving donations.

More updates when Mark  returns home to California.

Our sincere thanks to all of our generous donors.


Barbara Rosasco

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Ravin with her mother
Ravin with her mother

Kasumisou Scholars is a YouthSpark eligible program for 100%  donor  match ( up to $ 500)  on December 2, Giving Tuesday!


November 2014 – Update on Kasumisou Scholars

Mark returned from Cambodia last week with bittersweet news.

The current census for the Kasumisou Scholars was at eleven students. All have come either from our AIDS Patient Family Support Program (FSP) or our RAP (Rural Assistance Program in Prey Veng province) . Currently  three of our ’scholars’ come from the FSP and the remaining eight come from the RAP.

This summer, two of our students, each  more than 10 years  under the care and guidance of our AIDS Patient Family Support Program were  ready to graduate from High School and they   sat for the national high school  exam in August.

One student. Ravin, age 18,   passed her exam  on the first try and she will enter our Build Dreams! Kasumisou Scholars program that helps Cambodian students  to attend college and get vitally needed employment from our Jobs for Cambodian Youth project. Ravin has been under our care since age 4 and she has  dreamed  of studying Chemistry and Food Science at University. Now, her dream is coming true, thanks to you, our donors!  Ravin  will enter Phnom Penh’s Royal University to study Agriculture and Rural Development , while maintaining her interest in Chemistry and Food Science.

Vichet, age 20, did not pass the exam on his first try,  but we are not giving up ! We have encountered this before . Vichet will repeat his 12th grade year with tutoring and re-take the exam next year.  Vichet has been under our care since 2002 and he comes from a  resettlement area and was orphaned ( by AIDS) and lives with his Grandmother and an orphaned 11 year old niece.We are so proud of the great progress he has made in the face of such personal challenges and we are confident that he will achieve his goal and reach his dream of entering college next year.

All cambodian  high school students must pass that national examination in order to be eligible for admission to most colleges in Cambodia.  So  our  congratulations go out to Ravin, our  12th student in the Kasumisoub Scholars program, and the 4th from our AIDS Patient Family Support Program.

All of this is possible because of the generous support of our donors and supporters. Thank you on behalf of our students for making " impossible"  dreams come true!

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

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Mark has just returned from Cambodia , so it is a great time to provide an update on our program.

Ms. Li Bopha, the director of our Aids Patient Family Support Program, has now taken on the  the additional responsibility of day to day contact and mentoring for our students. Bopha is a math teacher by training.

Like all things, programs that start as a “ good idea” evolve and become more formalized. This project was conceived as a way to send worthy low income students on to achieve their “ impossible dream”, a college education. In a country were only a minority of middle class students even finish high school, the idea of a college education for low income students really is , without a program like this, an impossible dream. Yet here we are, now in year two. We are informally calling our program “ Kasumisou Scholars” . With your help, we can continue to give these great kids the opportunity to take a giant step up and leave the subsistence lifestyle of the urban poor in an undeveloped country to achieving a middle class life. Together,right now,  we are giving  these students the opportunity to break the cycle of inherited poverty.

The current census for the Kasumisou Scholars are eleven students. All have come either from our AIDS Patient Family Support Program (FSP) or our RAP (Rural Assistance Program in Prey Veng province) . Currently  three of our ’scholars’ come from the FSP and the remaining eight come from the RAP. These students have all successfully completed the national high school graduation examination and have moved on to university studies in Phnom Penh with scholarship assistance provided by Kasumisou. In addition, this year we had two kids from our FSP who have completed their high school studies . These two students are now waiting to get their results on the high school graduation examination. They must pass that national examination in order to be eligible for admission to most colleges in Cambodia. If those two students do receive passing grades on the national exam, they will join our Kasumisou Scholars program and enter university in Phnom Penh in November, raising our count to 13.

We hope that you will continue to tell your friends about our program and encourage their support. Our funding for this project is moment by moment and it is a big challenge   to have the timing of donations match expenditures.

We cannot adequately express our appreciation to all of you, for it is your generosity that makes it possible for these students to have this amazing, life changing opportunity of attending university.

Your donations make it possible for us to continue to support these hard working students. It is one more example of how small individual acts of kindness can combine to create a nearly unimaginable force for positive change.

Thank you .

Barbara and Mark Rosasco

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Organization Information

Kasumisou Foundation

Location: Menlo Park, California - USA
Project Leader:
Barbara Rosasco
Menlo Park, Ca. United States
$49,027 raised of $99,000 goal
485 donations
$49,973 to go
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