Friday, December 8, 2017

Change in the Making

Hello Everyone,

Hope all is well? Over the years together we have influenced many children's lives here in Cambodia and surrounding countries. After 17 years KIDS and donors have assisted a generation of young students and adults. This past fall we had 10 students graduate from high school, which without KIDS assistance would have never happened. Their futures have been changed immensely. We know how difficult the direction of their lives would have been compared to the life course they are now on.

Last October we enrolled 10 students into Paul Dubrule, which is one of the best hospitality and tourism training schools in the country. The students have to pass a tough entry exam in general knowledge and English which they did as they all worked so hard for many years, to get this chance.

The other day we had the pleasure to go and visit some of them at their school. It does not seem that long ago that they were in grade six, the age where due to poverty most children drop out of school and go to work full time. Back then we visited them at their meager thatched homes and asked their parents to let KIDS support their education to help them avoid a life of toiling in brick factories, where many of them were already employed part time.

These young people are so excited and appreciative to have this opportunity. After the one-year program they are pretty well guaranteed a job in the hospitality/tourism industry. Their transformation is quite outstanding.

It was with joy that we witnessed them working at the school training restaurant as they prepared and served an exceptional meal while chatting with us in English.

They look and act so professional and their smiles say it all. We know education changes lives and thanks to everyone that has changed these young people's futures...we also know for certain that they will ease their families' situations.

A huge thank you from all of them.

Till next time,
Adrianne and Rick

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Partners in Change

Hello Everyone,

Hope all is well with you. We now have several projects underway but in this email we will focus on the construction of toilet/bathing rooms that we are building for rural children and their families in our Smart Kids Education Sponsorship Program.

The Smart Kids Program started out with 8 students in grade 6 in 2011, there are now 33 students in the program. We became acquainted with these students through Hak, who worked with schools, in the brick factory and subsistence fishing area where these students live. Hak now helps us manage the Smart Kids program. The students and their families live in very difficult situations, facing poor housing conditions with either very rudimentary or no toilet/ bathing facilities. It is hard to conceive that families living with elderly parents and several children would not have a toilet or place to bathe.

Last week we went out and toured the homes and villages of the student's families to decide which families' situations were the most critical. Trying to make a decision is difficult, as virtually none of the families have any form of decent facilities however we made our choices. Last year in partnership with Lush Charity Pot we built 6 bathroom facilities and our hope is to eventually assist all 33 families.

As K.I.D.S. projects and programs have evolved over the years so have the partnerships we have formed in order to implement them. In the case of this project the team involves Hak and Sokha, the principal of the school, who helps us choose the families who are most in need and Pov and his team of local Cambodian builders. This project is made possible thanks to K.I.D.S. donors and this year we once again partnered with Sarah Gilks and the Healthy Role Models Program in Nanaimo, who generously raised funds for ten bathrooms. Together we are going to bring sanitation, hygiene and dignity to 17 or 18 more families over the course of this the next few months.
It is always uplifting seeing the gratitude and relief that the chosen families feel, which takes away some of the sting of witnessing the struggles these families and children face. The hard part is walking away from others outside of the budget, for now we promise them, we will be back.

So on behalf of these children and families and ourselves we send a most sincere thank you...our partnership is making a difference and lightening the burden of many.

We will continue to update you as things progress.

Till next time,
Rick and Adrianne

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Back to the Countryside

Hello Everyone,
Hope all is well with you and yours. We are now in Cambodia and after a few days of R&R we are back visiting KIDS programs and starting new projects. Going out to the countryside we are always struck by the contrasts of beauty and poverty. The green rice fields and red roads are beautiful and people use many modes of transportation to travel to and from their destinations.

As we visit different communities we see the children coming and going to school, often walking or riding their bikes. Many have to travel long distances and support each other along their way.

We visit very poor families living in incredibly difficult situations,working hard to

make ends meet however they always greet us with hospitality and smiles.

The rainy season is coming to an end, flood waters are starting to recede and both people and pets await dry ground.

So now we can begin to build toilets, houses, school water systems and much more to improve the lives of these hardworking people. Thanks so much to everyone for helping make these changes possible. We will keep you updated.

Until next time,

Adrianne and Rick

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Farewell for Now

Hi Everyone,

Hope this finds you all well? Hard to believe another complete set of seasons has come and gone and we are off on our 18th trip.Though we will miss family and friends we are keen to get to work in Cambodia.

Last year thanks to everyone's generosity we were able to bring hundreds more children and their families clean drinking water. Together we also were able to support our ongoing programs which include: the girls home, preschool/kindergarten and rural student sponsorship program. We bought hundreds of bikes so kids could go to school as well as books and other educational needs. We built houses, toilets and floated a sinking school, supported medical care in isolated areas as well as started new computer and English classes.

This year we are hoping to do it all again and are excited that KIDS will be able to build at least 2 new water projects, many toilets for rural families, hopefully a couple of houses for very poor families as well as other needed projects yet to be determined. If possible we are hoping to support more classrooms and continue to sponsor students so they do not have to live a life of hard labour working in brick factories.

On behalf of KIDS and ourselves we want to send you our sincere appreciation for your contributions of funds, support, volunteerism and well wishes.

We look forward to keeping you all up to date on the difference you are making in so many children and families lives.

Wishing you and yours all the very best,

Adrianne and Rick

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Community Computers

Hi Everyone,

Over the summer we have been working on bringing women and young people computer skills. In the N.E. of Cambodia we assist an amazing program called Stung Treng Women's Development Centre. K.I.D.S. has provided an onsite daycare kindergarten here for many years. Thanks to K.I.D.S. donors women can make a good living wage weaving beautiful silk products while their children are steps away receiving a good education at the K.I.D.S onsite daycare/preschool.

This year S.W.D.C. decided to expand it's education programs to assist women and young people to learn computer skills and they asked K.I.D.S. for our support. Learning computer skills enables women and students to improve and broaden their opportunities for employment and education and break the cycle of poverty. The poverty level is high in this area.

We are very happy to say that we have been able to open two computer classes recently. K.I.D.S. funded one and thanks to the Healthy Role Models program owned and founded by Sarah Gilks of Nanaimo, we were able to fund a second computer lab. Hundreds of people showed up to register for computer classes.

This is the first free computer program in the city and most likely the whole province so being able to support two computer labs will certainly change lives and improve futures.

Healthy Role Models is a women's fitness and health program. Women from all over Canada and around the world join this supportive and creative online program. The women also believe in giving back and creating a ripple effect of good.

Thank you to Sarah and all the women who helped raise funds to support other women in their pursuit to better their lives and thanks to all our donors for supporting this program. 

With Gratitude,
Rick and Adrianne

Monday, October 9, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone,

Hope that you are well on this Thanksgiving Day, sharing food and spending time with family and friends.

We received these photos recently of children in Cambodia who are thankful to K.I.D.S. and everyone who supports them to further their education. Together​,​ so far this year​,​ we have​ purchased over 120 bikes so children are able to travel the long distances to get to school.

A special thank you to children here who have baked, busked, sold lemonade and donated birthday funds to help improve the lives of children over there.

With Gratitude,
Rick and Adrianne

Monday, September 25, 2017

From Bricks to Books and Beyond

Hi Everyone,

Hope you are all settling into fall. We wanted to update you on the Smart Kids rural education program we started six years ago with eight children who were in grade 6. The students we started with grew up in a very tough environment with substandard housing, no running water, no bathrooms, no electricity, poor nutrition and facing a lifetime of hard labour in brick factories starting at young a young age. Families working together struggle to make enough money to just feed themselves and live in deplorable shacks, built by the brick factory owners. In some cases they live in a corner of the factory floor. Making low wages the families and children could only dream of getting an education, as public schools are not free in Cambodia, not to mention post secondary, vocational training or university.

Six of the 8 students
In 2011 we asked the student's parents if KIDS would provide the funding for books, backpacks, bicycles and tuition would they agree to support one child in each of the 8 families to be educated. The parents were very excited at the opportunity but sadly the decision would not be an easy one due to the fact that the margin of financial solvency was so thin. Taking the labour of one of their their children out of the family income would make survival difficult. However they somehow found the means.

Thanks to the support of our donors we are pleased to say that this month the first 8 students have moved on from grade 12 and are now attending a one year hospitality training program at a well respected Tourism School in Siem Reap. There they will study, hotel management, cooking or other aspects of the hotel and tourism industry. They should not have a problem finding employment as graduates from this program are highly sought after and the program is recognized in all South East Asian countries.

We now have 33 young people in our Smart Kids sponsorship program and together we are changing their lives and futures. Their world of possibilities to help themselves with further education and helping their families financially has improved dramatically.

We made a short video of one boys life in the brick factory (some of you may have seen this) it is only 7 minutes long but shows you the beginning of Pisu's story.

Here is the Link 

Pisu then and now...One Happy Guy!!!!

Thank you for your support it does change lives.

Till next time,
Rick and Adrianne