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
 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Support and Strength

Dear Friends,

This past weekend K.I.D.S. continued our emergency support for another 30 families that are connected to our Farm School English program. Sohing the terrific manager and teacher, runs the program. Every evening the kids gather at her family's simple wooden home to learn and to play. K.I.D.S. also provides school supplies and a nutritious dinner twice a week for all the students. These families live on very little and now, due to the Coronavirus, they are facing incredibly difficult situations. Thanks to your support, we were able to provide these families with food, formula for babies, and enough funds to get them through the next month. Each family is very grateful.



We also heard from another family we have known for many years. Vanna was a soldier during the war and lost both his hands when a landmine blew up while he was searching for food. Vanna sells books about Cambodia to tourists from his small bookstand in Siem Reap, and his wife washes other people's laundry by hand, while their two daughters help with laundry when they are not at school. K.I.D.S. assists with both their daughters' education.


Since there are now no tourists, Vanna and his family have had to move to another province where Vanna's sister lives so that their daughters can pick cashew nuts for a few dollars a day; however that is now over, and they have little to live on. K.I.D.S. is providing them with funds to buy ducks and chickens which they can raise and sell. They are also planting vegetables, some to feed their family and some to sell.


All these people work extremely hard to get by and have been through so much in their lives; however, they never give up. We are glad that together we can assist them and we admire their strength and courage to carry on.

We know these are challenging times for everyone and we greatly appreciate your support and caring about others both here and there.

"It is in the shelter of each other that people live."
Irish Proverb


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

Sunday, April 19, 2020

K.I.D.S. Cambodian Coronoa Virus Support

Dear Friends,


We hope you are staying safe and well and we are thinking of you at this difficult time. We wanted to update you on the situation in Cambodia and what K.I.D.S. is doing to alleviate suffering there. Cambodia has been locked down since the end of March, schools are closed and cross-province travel is not permitted. Although there are not many confirmed cases, it is hard to tell how many people are positive for Covid 19.

The majority of Cambodians survive on daily wages, working in tourism, or in garment and brick factories. What they make during the day they spend mostly on food for their family. With the closure of businesses across the country, people's livelihoods are now in peril. Many families are facing a lack of food. Cambodia does not have social safety nets such as employment assistance/insurance, social assistance, food banks or access to free medicine or healthcare. You can imagine how difficult it is when many families of 6 to 8 people are living in their one-room houses in 37-degree weather with no running water, trying to practice social distancing when the next family lives just steps away.


We continue to support all our ongoing programs. We are also providing emergency funding for families for food and medicine. In this area an average monthly wage is $25.00 to $50.00. Now most families have lost their jobs and income and they are facing dire situations. We will be supplying the families in all our education sponsorship programs with basics such as rice, soy sauce, fish sauce, soap and hygiene products. We are also providing income relief for other needs such as medicine and food.

This weekend we had representatives from 45 families (approximately 250 peoplele) come to the school we work with and collect their staples and stipends. Our terrific manager Hak and the excellent school principal Mr. Sokha organized a safe gathering, including a hand washing station.


The children, families and community expressed their sincere gratitude to K.I.D.S. We will continue to support these families and many others who are in our other programs as best we can. At this time, in addition to our ongoing development work, we are turning our attention to emergency aid and we thank you for being a part of K.I.D.S. and assisting those facing incredibly difficult situations. We will end with pictures of some of the families sending Thank You!!



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