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.
- 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.
Barbara & Mark
Archive Photos - Kasumisou Scholars Application
Green Champions Tree Planting Project 12-2015