Hope you all had a good Christmas. We were up in the north east where KIDS is involved with the Stung Treng Women's Development Center (SWDC). They produce high quality silk scarves and fabric. At SWDC the weavers make a good living wage in pleasant working conditions and can also bring their children to the onsite daycare/preschool that KIDS provides funding for.
We also built and fully fund a pre school for 2 to 5 year olds in the village behind SWDC. We built the school 7 years ago. It is a wooden building and has served its purpose well. In the compound of SWDC the Allen Foundation, from the UK, recently completed an addition to the original small onsite daycare. It is a much larger and brighter building with two classrooms and a large open area in between the classrooms as well as a covered playground out front. As we support the two teachers at the SWDC school and three at Srey Poh, we have decided to close Srey Poh School and move all the children, teachers and resources into the SWDC on site school. The village school is only a five-minute walk from SWDC so it is not a far distance for the children to attend the new building.
When we built Srey Poh School we had the piece of land donated by a family and in exchange KIDS built them a new wooden house, as they all lived in a small shack covered with rice sacks and tarps. We also built five wells for the community. Some of their land was given to Srey Poh School on the condition that it would be used for the benefit of the community. So we have donated the land and building back to the community and it will have several possible uses including: a library, community education and training center and a venue for weddings, funerals and community events. The assistant Governor of the area thanked KIDS for our donation and all the parents are happy to see their children attend the new school, which is much more secure. The teachers will be able to share resources and work together as a team. They are all doing a terrific job and when the children go on to primary school they are both well behaved and very well prepared for learning and are often the top of their class. The teachers work hard to teach a holistic curriculum including: social skills, cultural awareness, hygiene, creative play, and of course reading, writing and math. KIDS provides the children with a great meal every day with all the food groups and one healthy snack so they are thriving. As well SWDC now runs a health clinic funded by Kindred Hearts Canada and so all the children receive free healthcare. Children that came to the school with health, nutritional and failure to thrive issues are now singing, dancing and are healthy...it is wonderful to witness the difference.
As this New Year begins, the children have a new school, the community has a new community centre and each child has a new and improved opportunity for a healthier and happier future.
Rick and Adrianne