Monday, December 10, 2018

Human Rights Day

Dear Friends,

Hope all is well? Today it is World Human Rights Day and a holiday here in Cambodia. Rather ironic as a vast amount of the people here still live without many of these human rights.


We have been busy since getting our feet back on the ground and trying to level the human rights playing field for more children and families here. We are expanding our Smart Kids education sponsorship program and the other day we visited some new students and families living in and around the brick factories. These families eke out a subsistence living by working incredibly long days fishing, making bricks or bagging and carrying rice. The resilience of humanity and these particular children and families never fails to move us deeply.

We know that education changes lives! We also know that having a decent and hygienic living environment improves the health, hope and well being of children and families. We are working hard to be able to improve the living conditions of some of the poorest families with new or renovated houses and bathrooms. After the home visits we have to assess who is in the greatest need and make difficult heartwrenching choices, not an easy job.

The families are all so grateful to be given a helping hand. One young woman, who is 29, and has three children, lives in a very poor house with her husband and kids, as we chatted with her, her daughter (who will be joining our Smart Kids program) came back to the house...after having to go to a dirty pond to bathe. Although we cannot afford to build them a house this year we are able to tell them that we can build them a bathroom/bathing room...the mother's face lit up and she was very grateful.

Another boy named E, who is in our sponsorship program, is now living in the city attending a training program. E was going home every weekend to carry and haul rice bags to help his widowed mother and family. E weighs about 42 kilograms and he carries and loads trucks with 50 kg bags of rice....about 150 bags a day. He is 17 and every weekend he returned from his home tired and sore and was having trouble concentrating on his weekly studies and training.


We were able to help E's family with a stipend of $50.00 a month so he does not have to ruin his body while trying to help his family survive. When E finishes his training program he will be able to will find a good job and help his mother and family again.

Thank You!! for supporting KIDS and improving Human Rights and changing lives for the better.

Until next time,
Adrianne and Rick

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Getting Started

Hello Everyone,

We are now settled into our life in Cambodia. After a few days off we started visiting the different projects and people we all support as well as meeting with some of the people we will be working with on new projects. As always it is heartwarming to see everyone, especially the kids.

Going to the Girl's Home is like visiting our family. Each year the girls get older and it is great to see them thriving and doing so well. Some of the older girls now have jobs and others are attending some training programs while the younger ones continue their education at Cambodian and English schools. You Vath, housemother, and social worker, continues to provide them with a loving and supportive home and they really are a family. Thanks to everyone's support these girls are not living in dire situations and can move forward in life with confidence, skills and respect for themselves.


One of the projects we are working on this year is building four new classrooms for an overcrowded and run down school in the brick factory area. The principal and teachers are very committed to teaching and there is a long wait list of children who cannot attend this school. The new classrooms and more teachers will address this situation. So everyone is very excited to increase learning opportunities for more students.


We have worked in this area for several years and are really inspired by how hard the school staff work to improve the lives of these children who live in incredibly difficult situations. School is a safe haven where children can learn instead of making and hauling bricks.

Not only will this project improve the lives of more children it will also improve the lives of about 22 of the villagers and their families who will have steady work for four months. K.I.D.S. is committed to paying decent wages and treating workers with fairness and respect, which they greatly appreciate.


K.I.D.S. is off to a great start!!! We pass on our smiles of appreciation for your support! We look forward to sharing more stories of success and transformation soon.


Wishing you and yours the very best,
Adrianne and Rick

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Time To Go

Dear Friends,

Another period of being home has come and is almost gone as we get ready to depart on another trip to Cambodia and Nepal on November 12. This past year saw many students supported by K.I.D.S. graduating from various levels of schooling. Some moving on after post-secondary education or vocational training programs, finding employment, and improving their lives while already pitching in helping younger siblings and family.

K.I.D.S. home for girls and the preschool/kindergarten are both doing their intended purpose of sheltering, protecting and educating poor and vulnerable children. The coming months will be busy putting all of your donations, positive intentions and good will to work.

The resources you provide will bring housing, hygiene and mothers and children will be feeling better after seeing healthcare workers funded by your contributions.


Some 10,000 students arrive daily at school, thirsty after a long walk or bike ride and they will be able to quench their thirst at school water projects thanks to you. We are working and adding a couple more water projects this upcoming trip.

Wine & Wrap - Oct 26, 2018
We have been very busy this fall with our fundraiser which was held on the 26th of October. For those of you who were there, we are honoured and humbled by your continuous support and the amazing energy and feel you bring to the event.

Bicycles have already been purchased from the proceeds of the event and we are hoping to buy many more so children can attend school.

As well workers have broken ground for the four new classrooms at an overcrowded school in a very poor rural area.


As we hold our hands up to wave goodbye, the hand up you give to so many has, is and will continue to change lives.... THANK YOU!

Until next time,
Rick and Adrianne

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Bikes

Dear Friends,

In our part of the world, summer is over and fall is upon us, which for so many kids means back to school. We hope that the transition for your kids, grandkids or significant kids is going well.

In Cambodia children and youth are also getting ready to go back to school. It is the rainy season there and this makes getting to and from school more challenging, especially if you live in the countryside and have to cycle or walk long distances on dirt or mud roads to get an education.


Some families cannot afford to buy a bike, even though they only cost $50.00, the family may buy one bike for everyone to use to get to market and around the village and if they have four children some kids have to drop out of school or cannot attend. One bike can help carry siblings to school.


Each year, thanks to K.I.D.S. donors, we try to buy hundreds of bikes to improve the opportunity for education as well as assist families. Often schools and school children here in our community raise funds for bikes. This past week K.I.D.S. bought 55 bicycles and our project partner, Kim Thol, in Cambodia delivered them to kids who needed them. We will buy and supply more as the year goes on.


Thanks to everyone who contributed to help make this happen. Here are Mateo and Bailey, a couple of local children who recently saved money to buy bikes. It is heartwarming to see kids helping kids and putting their kindness into action.


Until next time,
Adrianne and Rick

Friday, August 17, 2018

Grateful Grads

Dear Friends,

We hope you are all enjoying the summer. Although it is summer here, in Cambodia school has just recently finished. As you may recall this past year K.I.D.S. was able to support 10 young people to attend a very good post-secondary hospitality and tourism training program. Through generous donations we were able to send the kids to school as well as provide them with a safe place to stay with Hak, one of the great people we work with in Siem Reap, Cambodia. K.I.D.S. has sponsored these students since grade 6 in hope that one day they would be able to break the cycle of poverty and find employment outside of the brick factories, ending a life of hard labour.


Well, the good news is...All of the students passed their difficult final exams and the "REALLY" good news is that 9 out of 10 have found employment in the tourism industry. The tenth student is upgrading in English and we know he will be successful in finding employment as well.


When we met these students as small kids 8 years ago it was heartbreaking to see them in brick factories pulling heavy carts, stacking mountains of bricks and sometimes running dangerous machinery to help their families survive. When K.I.D.S. sponsorship freed them from hard labour and allowed them to focus their internal fires on education, there was no stopping them! Learning English, French, computers and hospitality skills like cooking, baking, housekeeping, reception and hotel management they took full advantage of the opportunities awarded to them. They have once again proved that education combined with persistence pays. Over the years watching these young people work so hard to change their futures has been inspiring and only by having your support has their success been possible.


Thanks to K.I.D.S donors these young people and many more students, who are at different levels of education in our sponsorship program, are not only changing their lives for the better they will also change the lives of their children and future generations. They asked us to pass along their gratitude.

With Utmost Thanks
Until next time,
Adrianne and Rick

Monday, July 9, 2018

Kids Supporting K.I.D.S.

Dear Friends,

Well, summer is here and school is out!! In the month of June we visited a few schools and social justice programs as well as connected with kids that are raising funds for other kids. We are always so impressed and moved by the students and children we meet who are committed to making the world a better place for other children, youth and communities both here and afar. It warms the heart!!!

Two schools were not only interested in how children live in developing countries they wanted to do something to improve families lives. A huge thank you goes out to McGirr Elementary School's Social Justice Club students and teachers/Child and Family Worker for raising $550 to bring a family a bathroom. The bake sale brought the school together and now they have changed one families life for the better. Giving a family dignity, hygiene and safety.


Thanks also goes out to Departure Bay Elementary Social Justice Club students and staff for having a bake sale and raising another $500.00 for bicyles....now another 10 kids can go to school. It was so great to meet these aspiring young activists and give them a high five.


Other children were also working away to improve lives. Sumalee Martinflatt turned her birthday into a fundraiser and raised $595 to bring a family a bathroom...while her little brother, Jachi Martinflatt, had bake sales at his daycare raising $134 to bring kids bicycles. Both these young people are true humanitarians and huge supporters of K.I.D.S.


Another wonderful young girl MJ decided to help sell Cambodia silk scarves with her grandmother Suzanne Longpre in Victoria. They sold $1500.00 worth of beautiful scarves, the sales help keep women weavers working and provide a good living for their families, and K.I.D.S. provides the onsite daycare for their terrific kids.




"The level of our success is limited only by our imagination and no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted." -Aesop

Until next time,
Adrianne and Rick

Friday, May 11, 2018

Yashoda's Story

Hello Eveyone,

On our way back to Cambodia from Nepal, our friends at WELNepal referred us to Yashoda, a young woman who was facing difficulties. Her story is a difficult one so we will only use her first name, which is common in Nepal.

Yashoda moved to Kathmandu to find work so she could try to pay for her education and eventually help her family escape the clutches of poverty. She and her family live in one of the hardest hit areas of the disastrous earthquake that struck Nepal in April​ ​ 2015. Her family home was totally destroyed and due to their impoverished state, Yashoda, her parents and siblings have been living under tarps for three years.

Our experience in Nepal was interesting and inspiring but uncomfortable due to the cold and foggy conditions in late January and early February and we were not in the mountains but in the lowlands where the climate is more moderate; we can only imagine how difficult her life was in the mountains under much colder conditions.

Yashoda moved in with relatives in Kathmandu. But one of those relatives, a person with mental health problems started persecuting and physically assaulting her. Under those horrific conditions Yashoda could no longer live there. On our last day in Kathmandu we arranged to meet her. Yashoda sat at a table with her cousin, she was very timid and withdrawn; she had a black eye, swollen hands, was covered in bruises and her hair was cut very short so they could treat the wounds in her scalp.

Yashoda is now safe and living with her cousin and his wife who are also quite poor. Too poor to be able to afford Yashoda's school fees, even too poor to be able to keep her well fed and clothed. After speaking with Yashoda we were very moved by her courage. K.I.D.S. is now providing her with a monthly stipend to assist her with living expenses and sponsoring her tuition towards a bachelor's degree in business. Our friends Raj and Harimaya, who coordinate projects for K.I.D.S. and WELNepal, are keeping in touch with her and monitoring her education and safety.

Sometimes people come across your path that you cannot walk away from. Thanks to K.I.D.S. supporters and donors we are able to assist this young woman to create a better path for herself and her family.

Your contributions continue to change lives and reshape futures. Thank You!

All the best,
Rick and Adrianne