Monday, September 25, 2017

From Bricks to Books and Beyond

Hi Everyone,

Hope you are all settling into fall. We wanted to update you on the Smart Kids rural education program we started six years ago with eight children who were in grade 6. The students we started with grew up in a very tough environment with substandard housing, no running water, no bathrooms, no electricity, poor nutrition and facing a lifetime of hard labour in brick factories starting at young a young age. Families working together struggle to make enough money to just feed themselves and live in deplorable shacks, built by the brick factory owners. In some cases they live in a corner of the factory floor. Making low wages the families and children could only dream of getting an education, as public schools are not free in Cambodia, not to mention post secondary, vocational training or university.

Six of the 8 students
In 2011 we asked the student's parents if KIDS would provide the funding for books, backpacks, bicycles and tuition would they agree to support one child in each of the 8 families to be educated. The parents were very excited at the opportunity but sadly the decision would not be an easy one due to the fact that the margin of financial solvency was so thin. Taking the labour of one of their their children out of the family income would make survival difficult. However they somehow found the means.

Thanks to the support of our donors we are pleased to say that this month the first 8 students have moved on from grade 12 and are now attending a one year hospitality training program at a well respected Tourism School in Siem Reap. There they will study, hotel management, cooking or other aspects of the hotel and tourism industry. They should not have a problem finding employment as graduates from this program are highly sought after and the program is recognized in all South East Asian countries.

We now have 33 young people in our Smart Kids sponsorship program and together we are changing their lives and futures. Their world of possibilities to help themselves with further education and helping their families financially has improved dramatically.

We made a short video of one boys life in the brick factory (some of you may have seen this) it is only 7 minutes long but shows you the beginning of Pisu's story.

Here is the Link 

Pisu then and now...One Happy Guy!!!!

Thank you for your support it does change lives.

Till next time,
Rick and Adrianne