Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A New Year

Dear Friends,

As we reflect upon the past year and move forward to the new year we want to wish you all the best for 2016. This past year together we have changed many lives for the better, some in small meaningful ways such as providing a bike, flip flops or a small solar light to study by. We have also supported communities by bringing medicine, education and clean drinking water. We thank you all for being a part of these positive changes.

As the sun sets on this year, we look forward to continuing to work together for a more equatable and compassionate world where children and families can live with dignity and basic human rights.

We hope the road, river or path ahead brings good health, happiness, purpose and love to everyone.

As they say here........ Soksabia Now Tam Plough (Good luck on the road in 2016).

Adrianne and Rick

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Family Created

Dear Friends and Family.

At this time, as many families gather together to celebrate the season, our thoughts turn to home, friends and family. The closest sense of home and family we have here is when we are with the girls at the Girl's home we started in 2007.

The first girls of Samnang House, 2007
We have known some of the girls since they were rescued off the street and lived at a street children's centre 14 years ago. When the street children's shelter was closed down, the Director, You Vath, generously opened up her small home to six girls and we decided we would raise funds to support them.

Since that time, some of those girls are still with us and others have come to join them. We expanded the house and continued to take in more girls who have faced tragic and difficult situations or who were orphaned. Now 18 girls live there, ranging from ages 3 to 22. These girls have come together from various locations and situations and have found a safe and loving place to form their own family.

Samnang House today
Recently we had friends from home visit and we took them to meet You Vath and the girls. This is Trudy and Ian's description of their experience, which we feel describes aptly the wonderful place that these children and young adults have created out of  very difficult life circumstances.

"Last night we went for dinner at the girls home that K.I.D.S. started and fully supports. We bounced along "a dancing road" (aka a dirt road full of potholes) along a dark alley. However, we came to a veritable oasis of hope for about 18 girls that live in the house. These children were either orphans or from the poorest of poo families. Some lived on the street and were surely doomed to prostitution or worse. 

Now they live in a bright house with a caring "mother", go to school and even university, take English and dancing lessons, and have bicycles for transport. One could not find a happier, more respectful group of children. After dinner the music was connected to a speaker and we all danced and laughed."

Thanks to your generosity throughout the years these girls have been given not only a safe haven and a place to live, they have been given the opportunity to create a loving family that most had been denied.

Relaxing on a Sunday afternoon  

Wishing you and yours a happy and peaceful holiday season.

With much gratitude,

Adrianne, Rick
and the Girls at Samnang House


Friday, December 18, 2015

The Lake Clinic

Dear Friends,
We hope all is well with you and yours. This past week we spent a couple of days with The Lake Clinic team down on the Stung Sen River. K.I.D.S. is pleased to be able to support this life-changing program on an ongoing basis. This year, due to the additional fundraising efforts of Doctor Suzanne Montemuro and the Scotia McLeod team in Victoria, we are also able to support the salary for one of their incredible doctors for a year.

Visiting these more isolated areas always holds a mixture of sights and feelings. The beauty of the rice fields, lotus flowers and temples is juxtaposed with the undernourished children, lack of electricity, sanitation and poor living conditions.

The Lake Clinic team travel long distances every week to stay on the clinic that K.I.D.S. and the Compassionate Eye Foundation built, to provide healthcare, education and free medications.

Villagers travel to the floating clinic weekly with a variety of problems. It is remarkable to watch the team in action as they document each patient, provide examinations, dental care, pre and post-natal care and visit local schools to track the children's health. They also do home visits for the more critical cases.

Through the challenging conditions of heat, rain and dealing with hoards of insects, these dedicated people alleviate suffering and improve lives. Thanks for supporting us in supporting them.

So long for now, we will be in touch again soon.

The best,
Adrianne and Rick

Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Legacy of Opportunity

Hi All,

We have now arrived in Siem Reap and have settled into our small apartment and life in Cambodia. We are getting used to the 34 degree weather and learning to stay out of the noon day sun. We have been connecting with our friends, contacts, kids and as always it is great to see everyone.

Yesterday, we went to meet Saopoan, she is the young woman that recently received a scholarship through K.I.D.S. to go to University to study accounting here in Siem Reap. A group of family and friends of the late Ian Seal in Nanaimo decided to raise funds to support a young person to study accounting in memory if Ian, who volunteered as K.I.D.S. accountant for many years.

Saopoan attended a high school in rural Cambodia, north of Siem Reap, where we have installed a clean drinking water system and a computer lab. The teachers picked a student who was from a poor family and has worked hard to pass grade twelve without any outside help. Saopoan is 21, she started school later due to poverty and she has two younger sisters. Her parents are both subsistence rice farmers.

Saopoan recipient of accounting scholarship - in Memory of Ian Seal

Through the funds donated, Saopoan is provided with tuition, books, a bicycle and room and board. We met Saopoan at her one room apartment that she shares with another girl from her village. It is very small, they have to cook outside and share a communal bathroom, however, for Saopoan and her family, this is a dream come true. We brought some second hand donated computers from home and were able to pass one of these computers on the her for her studies.

Saopoan in her shared one room apartment, receives second hand laptop for her accounting studies

Saopoan told us she loves accounting and will work very hard to take advantage of this chance for a better life. She wanted us to thank everyone involved wit helping her and her family.

It is heartwarming to see how through the generosity of others, opportunity can touch another's life and give hope for future generations.

We have other projects underway and will write more later.

All the best to you and yours,
Adrianne and Rick

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

We Are On Our Way

Hi All,

Well it is that time of year again! We are at the Vancouver Airport and will soon head out for our 16th trip to S.E. Asia. We are greatly looking forward to going and sharing all your good will with children and families in need in Cambodia.

This year we will be bringing more clean drinking water, education, bikes, solar lights, computer labs, classrooms, educational materials, safe housing, medicine, food programs and medical assistance to children, families and communities.

We see the difference these needed resources and programs make in children's lives. It is humbling to watch people work so hard to break the cycle of poverty and we feel privileged to assist them in that process, thanks to your support.

 We will keep you posted and look forward to keeping in touch.

All the best to you and yours,
Happy Trails,
Adrianne and Rick

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone,

As many of us come together to appreciate friends and family on this weekend, it is good to take time to appreciate what we have in our lives. Also, to notice how we care about others.

Recently K.I.D.S. was able to provide a high school graduate, in rural Cambodia, with funds to go to university through a Legacy Scholarship that was created by friends and family of the late Ian Seal. Ian volunteered his time and talents as a K.I.D.S. accountant and gave his time generously to many other organizations in our community as well.

A high school student recently was chosen to receive this scholarship. This young woman comes from a very poor family and has worked very hard to achieve good grades. She will now be able to realize her dream of becoming an Accountant; which would otherwise have been impossible. She, her mother and family are very grateful for this opportunity. We are also grateful to be able to help make this happen, thanks to the generosity of others.

Wishing you and yours all the best,

Adrianne and Rick

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Bikes for Better Futures

Hi All,

Hope you had a great summer.

It is now time for kids to head back to school. In Cambodia the school year also kicks off soon. KIDS works with 5 rural elementary schools. In addition to installing clean drinking water systems, libraries and implementing food programs KIDS supplies children graduating from these schools with bicycles so they can continue their education and go on to high school. Cambodian kids have to travel long distances to go to school and for many, if they do not have a bike, it is the end of their education.

Thanks to donations we have been able to provide 50 students with bicycles and they were thrilled to get the bikes and continue on to high school. One of our dedicated Cambodian contacts, Kim Thol, purchased the bikes and recently delivered them to the kids. Here are some pictures of the children receiving their bikes. The bicycles are one speed, one size fits all work horses...but they do the trick. Throughout the year KIDS repairs and replaces many bicycles to support student's education. 

Thanks so much for assisting these students and for your continued support!

All the best to you and yours,
Adrianne & Rick

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Cambodia Update

Hi Everyone,

We hope you and yours are having a great summer. Here is a bit of an update about how life continues in Cambodia.


Samnang - 9 years old
We first met Samnang when he was living at a Street Children's Shelter that we were assisting in Cambodia in 2002, he was 9 years old and had been orphaned at the age of 5. Samnang spent the next few years in different orphanages and sometimes fending for himself on the street. Several years ago he came to You Vath, the wonderful woman who runs KIDS Girl's Home and also runs a home for boys. Samnang asked to live in her caring and safe environment. Since that time K.I.D.S. has helped fund Samnang with his living expenses and his education at the Boys Centre.
Samnang - 21 years old
He is a thoughtful, hardworking and very kind young man and always helps the other children living at the Centre, he is now 21 years old. Last year after he finished high school he headed into a one year hospitality training program that KIDS funded. He just graduated from that program with excellent marks and has been given a chef's job at a very nice French restaurant in Siem Reap. He will make a decent living wage ....Samnang is now on his way! Education and your support has taken him from living a difficult life on the streets to living a successful life with a positive future! He asked us to extend his gratitude.

The Lake Clinic:
Getting to the lake boat launch
The Lake Clinic continues to serve isolated communities on the Tonle Sap Lake and the Stung Sen River all year round. Through the dry and rainy seasons the medical team travels long distances to bring healthcare to those that have little or no access to medical services or medicine. They are an amazing team of dedicated people who overcome their own discomforts to care for others. The first part of the trip is getting to the boat by van, once they get off the road they have to travel by boat to the villages. 

Big boat is high & dry - have to take small boat
Sometimes there is so much water that the van gets stuck in the mud and sometimes there is so little water that the big boat gets stuck and then they have to take a small boat, which takes twice as long. Having experienced a few of these challenging trips we have great admiration for the TLC team. K.I.D.S. continues to support this life saving and life changing program which endures through rain, heat, dust, mud and wind. 

Mission Accomplished
Loading the river boat

The Lake Clinic's Doctor Sopeak

Thanks, as always for your support and assistance in improving the lives of so many children and families.

All the best,
Adrianne and Rick
K.I.D.S. Co-founders

Monday, March 30, 2015

Ending with Water

Hi Everyone,

We want to let you know about another project. We have talked about Feeding Dreams Cambodia (FDC) in the past and previous posts this trip. Just a quick recap about FDC, they do amazing work serving children living in slum areas around a certain section of Siem Reap. They serve meals to over 800 children each day and teach English and computer classes for free. They are currently working on a vocational training center but that is another story; which we hope to be a part of in the future.

FDC tried their best to purchase clean drinking water in 20-liter jugs but the demand was very difficult to keep up with.  We decided the children really needed access to "a lot" of clean water. We are happy to say that, once again, we have been fortunate to partner with Lush Charity Pot to bring clean water to the 800 plus children who attend FDC.

Lush Charity Pot is committed to supporting grassroots projects around the world and advocates for human rights, environment, animals and people in need.They do terrific work and we greatly appreciate their support in providing clean water for children here in Cambodia.

We have been very busy wrapping up our work here in the last couple of weeks and we just had time to complete this last water project. Once again we have had the pleasure of watching these children, who have so little in their lives, have an abundance of clean, fresh drinking water. Like the previous water projects they not only benefit the children who attend school but the children can also take water home to their siblings and parents. One little guy is taking two liters home daily to his mom who just had a baby and is a single parent.
We leave for home in a few hours and have said goodbye to our many friends and children living here, we are sad to leave and a little tired, but also happy to soon see friends and family back home.

We have so many people who contribute to KIDS in many different ways; individual donors, local school children, Vancouver Island University Social Justice Club, young children who forgo their birthday gifts, The Compassionate Eye Foundation, West Jet and Lush Charity Pot.  It is difficult to find words to express to all of you how much your kindness has impacted so many.

Your combined contributions now continue all year round to support, educate, clothe, feed, provide healthcare and profoundly impact large numbers of children and their families. Your generosity transforms sadness into joy and smiles for so many.

In the past two years we have partnered and combined our resources to bring clean drinking water to over 3,000 children and their families, and that is something we can all smile about.

With great appreciation to all of you who support us and KIDS,
Rick and Adrianne

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Short Stories

Hi All,

Hope all is well with you and yours. We thought we would send you a few stories of some of the people we encounter and are able to assist.


While visiting the Smart Kids program we noticed there was one new girl, when we asked about her, Hak, the program coordinator, said she had asked to come to English tutoring on Sundays, even though she was not part of the Smart Kids program. When we went to visit her house, we realized she did not have a house as it had fallen down in a wind storm. Her mother died and herfather had left she and her two older brothers to fed for themselves. Sarah and her brothers were living on a platform on a piece of land that belonged to their aunt, who had no room for them in her poor, tiny house. We decided we needed to help Sarah's situation and so directed funds for the brothers and Sarah to build a small tiny house (as we did not have the funds to build much more). So they did! Thanks to K.I.D.S., Sarah is now fully funded for both English and Khmer school, she has a bicycle and she and her brothers have a place to live, protected from the extreme elements of sun and rain.


You Vath, director of the girl's home that K.I.D.S. funds, told us about an elderly woman living on her own in the countryside. We went to visit her and found her working around her small plot of land and her house which is really just a shack. She warmly welcomed us. Om has children but they live a ways away and are very poor so she fends for herself without electricity, a toilet or any real comforts; she takes care of what little she has and even grows a small garden. Om is 85, very frail but incredibly flexible. You Vath takes her out rice and other essentials once and a while. When we asked her what she needed she
told us all she really wanted was a clock with big numbers so she could know what time it was. Om has a small battery operated radio and likes to listen to a certain radio program, however, she does not know the time it is on. We brought her out a mattress and pillow, mats for the floor, some pots and pans, a solar light, clock and other essentials... she was very thankful. We also brought a couple tarps for her roof for the rainy season. An amazing woman who has survived the genocied, starvation and years of poverty. Her wonderful smile shows her strength and her spirit.


Reaksmay is one of the girls in the Smart Kids Program.We heard she was in a very difficult situation. Her mother died and her father is paralyzed and they lost their home and land due to medical costs. They were forced to live in a small community hall in Kompong Kleang, the fishing port and brick making area where we work. Her housing situation is only temporary. Reaksmay has two younger sisters and is the sole caretaker of them all and yet she still manages to work very hard in school and English... she is only 15. We were hoping to find a little piece of property and build them a small house, however, so far this has been difficult. We had not been able to find a solution to this issue, but we are still pursuing possibilities. For the time being we will provide a small stipend for rice and food to assist the family. We also went out and bought the children and father some clothes as they did not have hardly any. The village commune council will allow them to stay for a few more months. If you met Reaksmay, you would never dream she faces such challenges in her young life. She cares for her family is hardworking and has a beautiful nature. Although we have witnessed her tears, what she demonstrates is a will to go on and make a better life for herself and her family.

These are a few short stories of how K.I.D.S. addresses some situations that are placed on our path. Although our focus is often education, healthcare, computer training and clean water for large communities of children and families, it is hard to walk past those that we meet who are facing very challenging individual situations. Your support makes it possible to also change one child, one family or one desperate situation in a significant way.

All the best,
Adrianne and Rick

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Compassionate Eye

Hi All,

One of the things we truly value in our work with K.I.D.S. is our partnership in compassion with our many donors and supporters. We greatly appreciate all contributions large and small. We would like to write about one of K.I.D.S. partners in particular; the one we have with the Compassionate Eye Foundation (CEF) from Vancouver. http://www.compassionateeye.org

Earlier in the year we had four volunteer board members from CEF and one of their volunteer photographers join us to visit projects that we have implemented together here in Cambodia. Over the past few years we have teamed up and completed two water projects, a floating clinic, solar power for a floating school, a girl's only bathroom at a large high school and just recently added 11 new children to our Smart K.I.D.S. program, in a rural area outside Siem Reap.

A couple of weeks ago we completed another water project at Wat Selai Primary School supported by CEF. Wat Selai School, up until now, did not have a clean and healthy source of drinking water for the 550 plus children who attend school daily. The school is also where the Smart Kids program is held on the weekends. We have happily written about several other K.I.D.S. water projects before and as always it is just amazing to see the children drinking their fill and knowing that they will not become ill when they quench their thirst or feel fatigue from dehydration. It is a sight we will never tire of.

 FDC also offers youth and young adults free computer classes.  Previously they had some used laptops and a couple of older PC's. They were lacking some computers and a laptop for the very qualified IT teacher, to allow full classes four times a day. With the support of CEF we were able to fully stock the lab with the rest of the equipment needed to allow the class to be as effective as possible.

The Compassionate Eye Foundation works in many places around the world, bringing education, health and sustainability to children and their families. Thank you Sue, Leah, Michael, Dan and Steven for coming to Cambodia and connecting so positively with the children and everyone you came in contact with. You and the other CEF board members back home truly represent the "compassion" in the Compassionate Eye Foundation. We admire the work you all do for so many.

 Until Next Time
Adrianne and Rick