Saturday, January 31, 2015

Going Green

Hi Everyone,

As many of you know one of the projects we continue to admire and support is The Lake Clinic Cambodia (TLC). The Lake Clinic brings medical treatment to communities living in very isolated areas of the Tone Sap Lake and the Stung Sen River. Each week a team made up of a doctor, nurse, midwife, registrar and cook load up their equipment and medicine and travel on the TLC boats to the floating clinics which were funded by KIDS, Compassionate Eye Foundation and Impact Norway. The villagers travel by boat to the clinics to seek free medical attention and medicine. TLC also offers dental care. Without this amazing program the villagers would not be able to access health care as they cannot afford to travel the long distance to clinics on shore. The teams are comprised totally by Cambodian health care professionals. Sometimes foreign volunteer doctors and nurses travel with them.

The logistics of operating in these isolated villages can be very challenging. Due to the distances needed to travel to access remote villages fuel is a major expense for TLC and this very valuable healthcare program. As with many environments in the world the lake has issues with pollution. Not wanting TLC to be part of the any environmental damage Jon Morgan, the Director of TLC, has committed to using bio diesel fuel. The bio fuel is produced in an environmentally friendly manner by Naga Biofuels here in Siem Reap with recycled cooking oil from the tourist industry. To assist TLC KIDS is very pleased to be able to fund the biofuel for this entire year so the TLC can carry on an emission free mission. What good is a lake clinic team without transportation, so while the medical team provides the know KIDS provides the go.

So we headed out to the lake and called a meeting at 
the school where we showed them the video and discussed the building plan. We picked two team leaders, a boy and a girl and formed two teams of 17 or so students. One named themselves the rabbits and the other the lions. We then got into the fleet of paddle boats, that the children commute to school in and headed out to the closest hyacinth patch behind the school.

Savan the project manager
Here is the short version of the story; together we got the beds built, taught the children how to create a garden with locally sourced free material, eradicated/repurposed a couple of tons of invasive hyacinths and had the most incredibly fun filled, smile till your cheeks ached day that we will remember forever.

Please check out the link below to the video of the garden construction project filmed and produced by Patrick Firouzian from Global Roots.

Taking a break
After leaving the beds to compost for a couple of weeks the gardens are now planted, we are sure there will be issues...such is the farmers life. But we hope that this low tech and cheap source of food increases the nutrition and future health of the children and in the long run will result in more time in school and less time at the Lake Clinic.

As with children everywhere by educating them we are placing their future in their own hands.

Thank you to everyone involved.
We Will Keep You Posted
Rick and Adrianne

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bathrooms for Girls

Hi Everyone,

Hope this finds you well. We were recently out at Sarsasdam High School where we have been building a bathroom facility for girls and women teachers. The high school only had four toilets for about 800 students.

In Cambodia 67% of people don't have access to adequate sanitation and this especially affects girls and women. When a girl in Cambodia hits puberty she is faced with a lack of private, girls-only space to wash and so she stays home, missing many days of school. Her grades suffer, which may cause her to drop out of school altogether. It has been proven in developing counties that when a girl stays in school, everyone benefits. Educated girls turn into empowered women; they invest more in their families, children and communities, resulting in higher economic growth for the whole society.

When we found out how few toilets there were at the high school and how difficult this must be for the girls and female teachers, we decided to try and find funds for this project. Thankfully the Compassionate Eye Foundation agreed to fund the washrooms. Now girls not only have more bathrooms, they have a private sink, toilet and water reservoir in each stall. We also installed mirrors so they can comb their hair. The girls and teachers are thrilled to have this private area.

Together this project has not only given girls their dignity it has improved their education and their health. Thanks to Compassionate Eye for their support and to all of you for your support of KIDS.

All the best to you and yours,

Adrianne and Rick 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Water Works

Hello All,

K.I.D.S recently completed another water project north of Siem Reap for a rural primary school. Last year when we first visited the school we were surrounded by hundreds of small children. It was not hard to tell from looking at them that many would be under the national standard for weight and height.

K.I.D.S assists several schools in this area, called Pouk District. Each year we try and increase the capacity of a school by providing clean drinking water, educational materials and a library if possible. We are always looking further down the road to the next school; a little more isolated and with many children in need.

Looking into this school's existing well we could see what is always a contributing factor to the health and well being of these children; murky, dirty water that has proven time and again to keep the children ill with chronic, stomach and digestive issues. This past year we partnered with Lush and their "Charity Pot Giving Program". Thanks to Lush we have been able to install a clean drinking water system for hundreds of children. The Cambodians call it tuk sa'at or "beautiful water".

We arrived at the school in the morning to see the completed water project and to deliver school supplies and school uniforms. We distributed the school supplies and left the teachers with the job of giving out the uniforms as they could do it on child-by-child basis identifying the poorest children.

Once the children received their books etc. they went and had their fill of drinking water from the water project. Of all the improvements to children's lives that K.I.D.S. provides, thanks to your collective generosity, one that stands out and fills our hearts is to see children drinking to their hearts content. Watching them chatter and jostle at the taps, as happy kids should, is always a very touching and gratifying experience.  

Here, as with all the other water projects, the children will be able to satiate their thirst with no limits and take some clean drinking water home at the end of the day to share with their families.

As we well know, being ill from drinking dirty water is both exhausting and depleting. It is good to know that now at this school children have a much better chance to learn and be healthier thanks to the gift of clean water. When it comes to improving the lives and the ability for children to thrive clean drinking water works.

All the best to you and yours,

Rick and Adrianne