Monday, November 2, 2020

Food and Floods

 Hello Everyone,

 We hope all is well with you and yours, and that you are all coping well with the challenges we all face during the pandemic that has brought so many changes to our lives. Life in Cambodia continues to be difficult. Thankfully, the actual Covid case count is very low, but to keep the Covid count low, the economy was completely shut down. For most families who exist in poverty to begin with, and are usually perched on the edge of solvency most of the time, the aftermath of the pandemic has pushed them over the fiscal cliff. 

Our inboxes constantly deliver us messages about peoples’ challenges, but also about hope and resilience from our students, friends and families as they struggle to make do in Cambodia. It is sometimes difficult to hear their stories! However, the good news is that, together, we have again provided much needed food, household supplies, medicine, hygiene supplies and baby formula.


 We have no doubt that together, we are easing the lives and struggles of many of the students, children and families, al of whom are extremely grateful

Another complication that families are facing is the rainy season! The rains have begun in Cambodia and the waters have been rising in the villages where many of our students and their families live.

Principal at Damnak Slan School

As with all the other challenges they currently face, they are doing the best they can and go about their business knee deep. You will no longer wonder why people build stilt houses!

 

 


The great people we work with gather everyone together and distribute the supplies and some financial support to those who have very little.

 
K.I.D.S. also continues education programs from Kindergarten through to university for many students. We would like to pass along their heartfelt thank yours and add ours as well.

 Until next time
Rick and Adrianne

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Back to School

 Dear Friends,

We hope you and yours are doing well. This week in BC, as in Cambodia, kids went back to school. For so many children who live in poverty, school is a safe haven, where instead of playing in the dirt or having to work in brick factories or in farm fields, or by fishing, to help their parents earn money, they can go to a place where they can learn, play and change their futures - and, in turn, the futures of their children. Thanks to K.I.D.S. donors, we continue to assist these young people to get an education and to improve their lives. 

In rural villages many people lack electricity and running water. Many large families live in small one-room houses, often without a bathroom, and have to cook outside.
Recently we reopened the ECE Centre funded by K.I.D.S, which provides a full-time preschool/kindergarten for 50 to 60 children at the Stung Treng Women's Development Weaving Centre. The children attend school from 7:00 am until 5:00 pm. For parents having their children be able to attend kindergarten is both a relief and a gift. The program offers a standard pre-school curriculum, as well as instruction in hygiene and nutrition, crafts and songs, creative free time and storytelling.
Children receive two healthy meals a day and have access to showers, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Some of the children's mothers work on site at the weaving centre. Other village children can attend the school if their families are struggling with poverty. The healthcare for the children and their families is provided free at the in-house clinic at the Centre. We cannot tell you how happy the kids and families are to have their kids in school.
Over 100 K.I.D.S. children who study English are currently back studying in extracurricular classes, now that the COVID school restrictions have been lifted.
Occasionally we have to update you on the girl named Sopeak! She took full advantage of the generous support of K.I.D.S. donors and pulled herself up from being a dirt poor and hearing-impaired village girl to graduate from both elementary and high schools, then university, eventually becoming a teacher in the same elementary school that she had attended as a child in her village. In the ten years that we have known her, she has pedaled her one-speed bike back and forth thousands of kilometers in the dusty hot season and rainy, muddy wet season. Having excelled in English, she graduated at the top of her class in university.

The determination and focus she put into her education are now being applied to her classroom, where she makes sure that the children have masks, remember to social distance, and wash and sanitize their hands in her classroom. She is also working at refinishing the school desktops, as you can see in the photo, so the desks are easier to sanitize and keep clean.


 We hope that all students both here and in Cambodia have a successful and safe school year and everyone's live return to more normal levels.

Thanks for your support and changing lives for the better!!
Until next time,

Adrianne and Rick

Monday, August 10, 2020

COVID Support Continues

 Dear Friends,

We hope all is well with you and yours as we all navigate these challenging times. We want to send out our appreciation for the support we have received to assist children and families facing extreme poverty following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Cambodia. For the third month, we have been able to assist the 81 families in our sponsorship programs. Some people are able to go back to work part-time at the brick factories; however they still have barely enough to feed their families.

By providing much needed food, formula and medicine to those that have lost most or all of their incomes and have no safety net, we are helping them to get the basics in order to maintain basic health. The families and kids are very appreciative and their smiles show their gratitude.

 

This little boy lost his mother after she gave birth to him last year (she taught for K.I.D.S. evening English/Food program). The family lost almost everything trying to save her life. We continue to support him to live with his grandparents and father. Thanks to K.I.D.S. supporters, he remains healthy and happy. 

It is inspiring to see kids doing bottle drives and yoga teachers donate yoga classes to help children. Thanks to everyone who has donated to assist these hard-working people, who are trying their very best to feed and care for their families.

Our hearts go out to everyone around the world who is suffering and it is good to see that hope and kindness are alive and well!!!

Wishing you and yours all the best.
Until next time,
Adrianne and Rick

Friday, July 3, 2020

Girl Rising

Hello Everyone,
We hope that all is well with you and yours. We continue to provide help to 81 of our students, graduates and their families as they weather the COVID storm, we will update those efforts soon.

In the meantime, the students who are still studying English or vocational training continue their work online or together in smaller bubbles such as at Sohing's Farm School.


As well as our Smart Kids sponsorship program, both programs resemble families as they live or share meals together. Currently, the students and families are facing great difficulties due to COVID-19 work restrictions and food security. However, their challenges are taken in typical rural Cambodia style: keep calm and carry on.


On the topic of carrying on, we would like to tell you about a student whose name we will keep anonymous. We first became aware of her six years ago when Mr. Sokha a local village school principal/social worker, called attention to her. She and her two older brothers were homeless and living outside behind the houses of some local villagers. They literally did not have a roof over their heads.

In addition to experiencing extreme poverty and hardship throughout her young life, she lost her mother and the father left. We decided to take her into K.I.D.S. Smart Kids education program and helped her and her brothers build a small house with a toilet facility so that the three siblings could ease their difficult living situation.


She was always a bit withdrawn and somewhat struggled with her studies because of her late start in school and lack of parental guidance. Under our program manager Hak and principal Sokha, who both kept a close eye on her, she started to become more talkative and open. When her father came back in the picture more regularly, her demeanor became more quiet and withdrawn again so we moved her, at the beginning of grade 10, to Siem Reap to live with Hak, his family and the rest of the older Smart Kids, who were in the vocational training phase of their education.


In the two years since she has been living in the kind and loving cocoon of Hak's family and the Smart Kids, a new person has emerged. She is now confident, gregarious, has a beautiful singing voice, and is excelling in school. She will graduate from grade 12 in a few weeks in the top five in her class. This brave girl has climbed a mountain of adversity and we have no doubt that your support has changed and saved her life, allowing her to fly towards her post-secondary training and the next phase of her life.

Thank you for supporting her and many others like her.

Until next time,
Rick and Adrianne

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Resilience and Relief

Dear Friends,

Six weeks have gone by since our last Covid-19 Emergency Fund helped 81 families and students in our Smart Kids Education Sponsorship Program. Their situation remains the same: no work, not much food or funds to feed and care for their families due to lack of government support, and the closure of tourism and brick factories.

In the city, some of the people we know who used to drive tuk-tuks for tourists are now filling them with cans to recycle for money, and women have to travel long distances by bicycle to sell their cans in the towns so they can feed their babies.

This past weekend Hak, our Smart Kids Manager, Mr. Sokha the Principal of the local school and our Teacher/Program manager, Sohing, in another poor village, gave out more supplies and some financial support from K.I.D.S. We thank these amazing people for their compassion, hard work and dedication to making children and families lives better.


At the best of times, these families live on around $100.00 a month and do the best they can to feed and clothe their children, many of whom had to work in the brick factories.


K.I.D.S. has been breaking the cycle of child labour and poverty through our sponsorship program. Many young people who have gone through our program and graduated from high school have gone on to higher learning and training, and before this virus closed the world, they had good jobs and were helping their families.


Thanks to the generosity of K.I.D.S. supporters, we can assist them during these incredibly difficult times. After the families recently received our support we were flooded with appreciation from the kids in our program. We pass on their gratitude and love. Thank you for your support. Although they thank Canada we would like to extend their appreciation to all K.I.D.S. supporters around the world!

Through it all, there is resilience, love, compassion and young people's smiles to remind us that hope and kindness remain.

Wishing you and yours all the best.
Until next time,
Adrianne and Rick

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Water and Play

Dear Friends,


We hope you and yours are all doing well. Just before we left Cambodia, we were able to finish K.I.D.S. 19th clean drinking water system for another rural school. The good news is that 700 more kids can drink clean water, as well families can take drinking water home. The schools are closed right now; however, when the students return, they will be able to drink as much as they like and be healthier, have more energy and learn more easily. We want to thank K.I.D.S. donors and Nanaimo Rotary Club for bringing thousands of people clean, drinkable water. It is a true gift!!


The other project that K.I.D.S. completed recently was a primary school playground. The women from the Healthy Role Models Impact team raised funds from family and friends to support this project. Most rural primary schools do not have playgrounds and children do not have much to play with. K.I.D.S. continues to provide soccer balls and nets, skipping ropes and play areas, thanks to everyone's support.

Photo by Alec Watson
At this time, when the world faces many challenges, we thought that we would share this joyful video with you. We look forward to when these kids and all children can return to school and play freely

Video Link Below
Tons of Fun!! The Playground is Done!






May support and kindness walk with you.






Wishing you and yours all the best.
Until next time,
Adrianne and Rick