Friday, December 30, 2016

A Happy New Year

Dear Friends,

We spent a few days in Phnom Penh where we visited a K.I.D.S. education sponsorship program for young people from very poor families. There are 9 students presently in this program studying from grade seven through to university and technical training programs. Their career dreams vary from working as: accountants, teachers, a doctor, in agriculture, air conditioning and being an esthetician. These students would have very little hope of achieving their dreams without K.I.D.S. assistance and the support of Sinath, a wonderful man we work with, who has dedicated his life to helping poor and abandoned children.

9 students currently in the K.I.D.S. Education Sponsorship Program
Over the years, many young people have been supported through this program. In fact, 100% of the students we have supported have gone on to find work and live self-supporting lives.

Sen with son
We touched base with a few graduates. One is a young woman named Sen. Sen had the most difficult of childhoods. She was born in a refugee camp in Thailand after the Khmer Rouge genocide and was orphaned there at a very young age. She was in the first group of children repatriated to Cambodia after the regime was overthrown and the country was safe enough to return. She spent the rest of her childhood in an orphanage, where she worked hard and learned traditional Apsara dance. The one bright spot in her life was Sinath, who was the director of the orphanage. K.I.D.S. sponsored Sen through university and English classes. After graduating, with her newly acquired business and
Adrianne & Rick with Sen & Benoit
accounting, she opened her own dance school a few years ago which continues to thrive. She met Benoit, a charming and kind French man working in Cambodia, they married and have a beautiful six month old son. Sen is incredibly happy and is forever grateful for the opportunity that K.I.D.S. donors and Sinath has given her.

Thida is another amazing story of resilience and determination. Thida was born to a very poor farming family and reached out to Sinath as she wanted to improve her life. K.I.D.S. sponsored her education in high school and university and she graduated last year. She found a part time job at a wine shop and at present, she is a full-time supervisor and will soon be promoted to a "super supervisor" as her boss told us when were there visiting her. She earns a good salary and is well on her way to becoming a sommelier. Wine is huge here in Phnom Penh and her list of clients also includes the Royal Family who call on her to ask her advice on wine pairings.

Theses two young women are ever grateful for the opportunities that were given to them to build a better future for themselves and their families. Thida's smile in this photo says it all.

Thida is a full-time supervisor in a wine shop
For 2017, we would like to wish all of you good luck, good health and a long life, as they say here in Cambodia.

Thank you all,
Rick and Adrianne

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Solstice and Seasonal Celebration

Hello Everyone,

Another solstice is here and we in the northern hemisphere once again emerge from the darkness and into the seasons of light.

We would like to extend our warmest thanks to all our family, friends, donors and volunteers who have so kindly shared their resources and time with the children and families helped and supported by K.I.D.S.

In Cambodia, the lotus flower is used for food, ornamentation and many ceremonies. It also carries great cultural and spiritual significance. The lotus flower emerges from the mud and the darkness towards the light to be a thing of beauty.

Your contributions and compassion have given many the ability, like the lotus, to rise from the darkness, bloom and radiate out into the world.

Many thanks for changing lives and all the best to you and yours over the holiday season.

Rick and Adrianne

The Lotus Flower - emerges from the mud and darkness to be a thing of beauty

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Hope and Beauty

Hello Everyone,

We hope all is well and imagine many of you are getting ready for the holiday season.

We recently returned from a trip to N.E. Cambodia where K.I.D.S. funds a daycare-kindergarten at the Stung Treng Women's Development Centre (SWDC). This inspiring program teaches women the art of silk weaving and their scarves and other silk products are sold around the world. Many of you know this program and many of you have purchased their beautiful scarves!

Although the weaving program program is sustainable there is a great need for young women to be able to bring their children to work with them otherwise they cannot work and provide for their families. The daycare/kindergarten is a very happy place. The 60 children play, sing, do exercises, learn to read and write and receive a nutritious lunch thanks to K.I.D.S. supporters. Entering the school we are greeted with smiles, hugs, hellos and a colourful and a creative environment. The children receive a head start with their education while their mother's earn a descent living wage.

We are happy to say that this year the weaving centre is very busy and we are able to support ten more women to be trained and get full time employment. Thanks to the Compassionate Eye Foundation for partnering with us to assist more women.

Meeting these women and hearing their stories is often heartbreaking; like the young woman whose father died when she was 9 and she married young and had two small children only to have her husband killed in a motor vehicle accident leaving her penniless. Thanks to SWDC she can have her children at the daycare, learn a skill and support her kids. Many of the women are able to live in on site housing if they do not have place to live. Now they have a home, work, a daily lunch program and they are part of a caring, safe and supportive community, while working only steps away from their children.

Thank you for your support, compassion and helping these women and children to live with decency and hope.

To receive a hello from the kids click the ​ youtube video

All the best to you and yours,
Adrianne and Rick

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Saving a School

Dear Friends,

We hope all is well with you and yours. We have now arrived in Siem Reap and after a few days of R&R are back working away in Cambodia. We have been seeing many of the wonderful kids that we all assist and it is great to see them again and see how well they are doing thanks to your support and generosity.

Yesterday we went out to visit a small, isolated floating school in a village on the Tonle Sap Lake. We were asked last year if we could help this school as it is sinking and has very little resources. So after an hour and a half road trip and a two and a half hour boat trip (one way on a small fibreglass boat with a long tail motor) we arrived at the school. As we stepped onto the school we could immediately see the problem. The water started to come over the wooden floor boards.
As we entered the school we could also see how little the teacher and the children had to work with however the children are all so very eager to learn and without this school they would never learn to read and write. The wife of the village chief teaches these children with no monetary compensation, she does it because she believes every child has the right to an education.

Even though we raised funds from our great partners Compassionate Eye Foundation for new bamboo to float the school we also could not leave without offering to bring a new black board, chalk, books, school supplies and also fix the ceiling which is falling down as well as some other structural work. The blackboard was not a black board anymore it is a brown board and worn paper, thin from so much use and most of the kids had only slates to to write on.

As we said farewell to the kids and they left on their boats and we left on ours our hearts were heavy with seeing how little these children have in their lives and also full to think that together we can keep this haven of learning and respite floating and benefiting children.

Here is a little video of the children heading home.

With thanks, respect and appreciation,
Rick and Adrianne