Project #12004

Build dreams! Send Cambodian Students to College!

by Kasumisou Foundation
Kasumisou Scholars - Hun
Kasumisou Scholars - Hun

Old Proverb: Give  a hungry man a fish  and you  feed  him today. Teach   him to fish and he can  feed himself  for a lifetime.

Important info

  •  USAID website shows only 21% of  students even enroll in high school in Cambodia.
  •  Lacking education, low skilled, migrant day laborers  often earn just $ 3.00 per day in Phnom Penh,  Cambodia’s capital city.

The Magic Moment – Update on Kasumisou Scholars

We love our college program, Kasumisou Scholars because of what we  call the “magic moment”.  This is the moment  when the years of hard work and study , hope, despair, encouragement and  sacrifice all  come together to produce a new college graduate.  Our college students, at every turn, have  faced incalculable odds against their success. Yet, here they are, one by one, reaching  that “ magic moment”,  where success has arrived, breaking the cycle of inherited poverty.  Their accomplishments are truly  cause for celebration!

Meet Hun: our  newest candidate for college  graduation .

Hun entered our college program in 2012 at age 19 and came to us from  rural Prev Veng Province, Ba Phnom Province.

Hun was one of four students in our college program to come from Ba Phnom High School  arts program’s first class. Like the other students, a combination of dogged determination, courage to try new things and hard study propelled Hun forward to college and our Kasumisou Scholars program.

Hun’s family are subsistence farmers of very modest means. None the less, Hun proved to be a determined student and not only completed high school  but distinguished himself by actively  participating in what would become an  award winning student arts program that we sponsored at Ba Phnom High School. In 2011, Ba Phnom’s art program took first place from over 100 groups and was awarded Best Youth Khmer Arts program in Cambodia in 2011 by Prime Minister Hun Sen.  Hun was one of about 40 students in the high school who participated and studied   traditional Cambodian dance and music

Hun and other students, through the arts program, were also encouraged by us to engage with their community and  Hun joined a green initiative organized by Kasumisou Foundation called Green Champions. Several of the arts students helped plant thousands of tree seedlings along a one-kilometer stretch of barren, but regularly trafficked road connecting Ba Phnom town to more rural areas. Months later, hundreds of the tree seedlings  had survived because of our students’ diligence and hard work and today the trees are tall and green, providing needed bio mass to enrich the soil and offering a gift of cooling shade to travelers along the road.

As a participant in the Kasumisou Scholars program, Hun entered Norton University, a private university in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to study Business Management in 2012.   Once enrolled, Hun lived at our Champey Academy arts school, sleeping  in a classroom with another student because he was unable to afford to rent a room  and he earned a stipend of about $100 per month  doing odd jobs for the school  to cover all of his personal  costs including  food, clothing and transportation.

Now, nearly 4 years later at age 23, Hun is waiting for the  results of his exams. Hun  hopes to utilize his business degree, having set his sights on a job at a microfinance firm where he expects a starting salary of $ 150 to $200 per month.  Hun will continue to stay at Champey  for a year or so in order to save the $50 per month a rented room would cost and establish some financial stability.  He hopes to join another Kasumisou Scholar graduate, Lean Yu, who having already graduated from college, works at the same firm.

Our deepest  concern

We just hate the idea that the fate of our  students, like Hun,  rests entirely upon our fundraising ability and timing of receipt of donations. Donors and supporters are an ever changing group, influenced by personal and global events.  Like many small non-profits,  we  are challenged by the need to continuously raise funds  and we operate month to month. Before September 15, we will  need to pay about  $2,500 in  tuition bills and others later in the fall.  Basic tuition costs  per student varies, based upon type of program and institution, currently ranging from about $ 400 to $ 800  per year.  Over the years, there have been many times where we have  come right to the very edge of having to cut some of our programs because we cannot spend funds we do not have.

The best solution is to encourage  broader support that can help us  create better funding  stability and ensure that  our student’s can continue to move forward to achieve their dream of a college degree.  Clearly, our program is achieving results. Hun will become our 5 th college graduate from Kasumisou Foundation program's  students. Your support  can help our other  college students   to move   toward  that “ magic moment” and encourage others to begin their journey.

Our sincere thanks to our donors who have helped Hun and our other students to strive toward and achieve their dreams of a college education. Truly, your support is changing lives. We hope that you will continue with us in our efforts and encourage your friends and families to join you in support of our efforts.

Thank you,


Barbara & Mark

Archive Photos - Kasumisou Scholars Application
Archive Photos - Kasumisou Scholars Application
Green Champions Tree Planting Project 12-2015
Green Champions Tree Planting Project 12-2015

Sometimes opportunity can be a matter of luck and sometimes seizing an opportunity is the culmination of years of quiet hard work and persistant  effort. This persistance and quiet hard work has now paid off for one young man.

Yu, age 22 , is one of our college students. He  graduated in 2012  from Baphnom District High School in rural Prey Veng Province. He is currently studying for a degree in business at Human Resources University in Phnom Penh and until recently,  he had been working part time as an instructor in traditional dance at our Champey Academy of Arts.  To save on his living expenses, Yu has also , for  the past 3 years,  been sleeping at night in the classroom at our arts school , as do several other of our scholars from Prey Veng.

Now in   his 4th  year in college, Yu has landed an accounting job at a small microfinance company  in Phnom Penh, putting him a step closer to pursuing his dream of becoming a banker. His new salary ,  $ 150 per month,  allows him to be able to afford to live more independently and have modest housing outside of the dance school while he completes his degree.

Most importantly, Yu's  college courses have provided him with a set of  marketable skills, enabling him to complete the  big step from a life of rural poverty into the professional life of the middle class.

 Your support of our Kasumisou Scholars, allowed Yu to access a college education and this opportunity   has helped Yu to help himself to break free of the cycle of inherited poverty.

Our congratulations to Yu on his success and our thanks to you, our donors, for making this all possible.

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

Getting accepted into college is a great accomplishment , but paying  college tuition  is only a part of the challenge for our students. Our  college students come from extremely poor families and some   are also impacted by the dual challenge of extreme poverty and the impact of HIV/AIDS in their immediate families. Within this context, it is amazing to consider that our  college students have for years  , despite formidable challenges,  set and achieved   annual goals  such as  completeing a year of school,  passing exams to move upward to the next class, graduating  from grade schoool, middle school and then high school . Keep in mind that it is estimated that only 40% of all Cambodian students finish high school and the national educational average is thought to be 6th grade.  

However, regardless of the breathtaking accomplishments of our college age  students to become "college ready" , the simple fact is that they come from families  who are just too poor to help  them with any  aspect of paying for a college education.

Tuition , books, supplies and transportation  can run from $ 400 to $800 per semester in Cambodia.  Beyond those costs,  our students also need assistance with housing, food ,and   small personal expenses which can average  $ 100  or more per month per student.

.As a small non profit, we are closely involved with our program participants and sometimes we are able to harness the power of  one  project to benefit more than just the  group initially intended. Pairing our College program with Jobs for Youth is a great example of this.For some years we have run our Our Jobs for Cambodian Youth program  side by side our program to help our  college students to access the college education they have strived to reach.   

Our Jobs for Cambodian Youth program has become a key " success link" for these students,  providing  vital employment income to several of our college students  who are employed in various capacities at our Champey Academy of Arts project.

A central theme to all our programs is a focus on the power of  education.Indeed, education and mentoring  are key to helping children  mired in the hand to mouth  lifeftyle of poverty,   see that  bettering their lives is possible. The benefits of employing these college students goes far beyond the income that the jobs provide as their accomplishments also position them as peer mentors for  the disadvantaged children who participate in our Champey Academy's art, dance and music programs.  It is staggering to consider the impact that some of these kids must feel when they can see that  their  peer  mentors are actually  in college  and to realize that one day, that could also be them !

Your support has allowed us to pay for tuition and books for our students and  create one more " success link" in a chain of actions needed  to  enable these young people to continue to move forward in achieving  our main goal for them of helping them to break the cycle of inherited poverty.

Our heartfelt thanks on behalf of all of our program's participants for your past and continued support.


Barbara & Mark Rosasco

Our college program currently serves 11 students. We are so proud that one of our students graduated this past  year. Sdoeurn,  graduated in October 2015 with a degree in accounting. Her ultimate dream is to become CPA .

Mark recently visited her familiy in Prey Veng. The family is of extremely modest means, even by local Cambodian rural standards, so much so, that the family relies on accessing basic amenities, such as a restroom,  with a neighboring family. Most adults in her neighborhood have little education and many are illiterate. Sdoeurn's family farms a small plot for rice.

Sdoeurn came to our attention as a result of our dance program at Baphnom District High School in rural Prey Veng province. Baphnom High School has a student population of about 2500 students who come from throughout the district of Prey Veng.  Kasumisou Foundation has, for the past several years sponsored a modest dance program in traditional Khmer ( Cambodian ) dance  for 30-35 students. It is worth noting that many students attending the district high school walk or ride bikes along dirt roads for several miles , some coming as many as 5 miles to attend school.

Sdoeurn was one of several graduating high school students in the dance program at Baphnom High School who had approached Kasumisou Foundation to see if there was any way that we could help them continue on to attend college. Graduation from high school in Cambodia is quite an accomplishment in and of itself, as it is estimated that only 40% of all students graduate from high school.

Determined to attend college, Sdoeurn and her family borrowed money against their small farm to help her  get a start in her college studies. She began attending classes in the autumn of 2012 and in January 2013 we started our college program, helping her and a few other determined new high school graduates to begin college.

During her college years , Sdoeurn worked as a junior dance teacher at our Champey Academy. Her modest earnings helped her to support herself . She shared a room with a roommate, with her share of of rent and utilities costing about $40 per month . Her staff job at Champey not only provided income but also helped to provide her with food: we provide rice and cooking facilities at Champey and each one of the staff chip in $0.50 per day (2000 riel) to buy some cooked food from a market stall which they then all share.

For the comning year Sdoeurn will work full time as a book keeper in our Jobs for Youth Program at our project, Champey Academy,  where she will be building a work resume in her field to move her forward professionally to a better position.

Sdoeurn continues in her efforts  to achieve her dream of becoming a CPA. Your support of this program has been vitally important in helping her and other students like her to move forward and break the cycle of inherited poverty.

We are deeply grateful to you all for your generous support and we are so very proud of our new college graduate, Sdoeurn.

Barbara & Mark Rosasco

The Fall marks the start of a  new  academic year for our 11 college students.  Our last update focused on introducing our students to  you, our supporters,  so that you can have a clear  idea of who your donations support and the accomplishments  our  students. Please keep in mind that all  Kasumisou Foundation programs  are completely donor funded.

It is now  time to pay  the Fall 2015 tuition for our students. The annual tuition for most of our students comes to about $ 450 per year, with one current exception for a student  of about $ 850 per year,  plus about another $100  to $ 150 for books and supplies. All of our students are from disadvantaged families and they  receive very little or in most cases, no  financial support for food, lodging and clothing. To cover this gap, we provide small monthly living stipends of $ 70 to $ 100 per month per student, which function as their sole support beyond free housing which we provide to 8 of our students.

In order for our students to continue  on in their studies we must now pay Fall semester  tuition  bills :

Fall Tuition fees  $2675   ( covers  11 unitersity students  )

Books etc $ $375

Student food allowance ( FALL)  $3080 ( covers 4 months x 11 students )

Total  Funding for Fall 2015 $ 6,130

Your support has made it possile for these students to start their studies. Your continued support will make it possible for them to continue.

Won't you join us in helping to fulfill the dreams of these 11 students to complete a college education?

We are deeply grateful to you for your continued support.

Thank you,


Barbara & Mark Rosasco


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Organization Information

Kasumisou Foundation

Location: Menlo Park, California - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Barbara Rosasco
Menlo Park, Ca. United States
$31,531 raised of $99,000 goal
127 donations
$67,469 to go
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