Monday, July 9, 2018

Kids Supporting K.I.D.S.

Dear Friends,

Well, summer is here and school is out!! In the month of June we visited a few schools and social justice programs as well as connected with kids that are raising funds for other kids. We are always so impressed and moved by the students and children we meet who are committed to making the world a better place for other children, youth and communities both here and afar. It warms the heart!!!

Two schools were not only interested in how children live in developing countries they wanted to do something to improve families lives. A huge thank you goes out to McGirr Elementary School's Social Justice Club students and teachers/Child and Family Worker for raising $550 to bring a family a bathroom. The bake sale brought the school together and now they have changed one families life for the better. Giving a family dignity, hygiene and safety.


Thanks also goes out to Departure Bay Elementary Social Justice Club students and staff for having a bake sale and raising another $500.00 for bicyles....now another 10 kids can go to school. It was so great to meet these aspiring young activists and give them a high five.


Other children were also working away to improve lives. Sumalee Martinflatt turned her birthday into a fundraiser and raised $595 to bring a family a bathroom...while her little brother, Jachi Martinflatt, had bake sales at his daycare raising $134 to bring kids bicycles. Both these young people are true humanitarians and huge supporters of K.I.D.S.


Another wonderful young girl MJ decided to help sell Cambodia silk scarves with her grandmother Suzanne Longpre in Victoria. They sold $1500.00 worth of beautiful scarves, the sales help keep women weavers working and provide a good living for their families, and K.I.D.S. provides the onsite daycare for their terrific kids.




"The level of our success is limited only by our imagination and no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted." -Aesop

Until next time,
Adrianne and Rick

Friday, May 11, 2018

Yashoda's Story

Hello Eveyone,

On our way back to Cambodia from Nepal, our friends at WELNepal referred us to Yashoda, a young woman who was facing difficulties. Her story is a difficult one so we will only use her first name, which is common in Nepal.

Yashoda moved to Kathmandu to find work so she could try to pay for her education and eventually help her family escape the clutches of poverty. She and her family live in one of the hardest hit areas of the disastrous earthquake that struck Nepal in April​ ​ 2015. Her family home was totally destroyed and due to their impoverished state, Yashoda, her parents and siblings have been living under tarps for three years.

Our experience in Nepal was interesting and inspiring but uncomfortable due to the cold and foggy conditions in late January and early February and we were not in the mountains but in the lowlands where the climate is more moderate; we can only imagine how difficult her life was in the mountains under much colder conditions.

Yashoda moved in with relatives in Kathmandu. But one of those relatives, a person with mental health problems started persecuting and physically assaulting her. Under those horrific conditions Yashoda could no longer live there. On our last day in Kathmandu we arranged to meet her. Yashoda sat at a table with her cousin, she was very timid and withdrawn; she had a black eye, swollen hands, was covered in bruises and her hair was cut very short so they could treat the wounds in her scalp.

Yashoda is now safe and living with her cousin and his wife who are also quite poor. Too poor to be able to afford Yashoda's school fees, even too poor to be able to keep her well fed and clothed. After speaking with Yashoda we were very moved by her courage. K.I.D.S. is now providing her with a monthly stipend to assist her with living expenses and sponsoring her tuition towards a bachelor's degree in business. Our friends Raj and Harimaya, who coordinate projects for K.I.D.S. and WELNepal, are keeping in touch with her and monitoring her education and safety.

Sometimes people come across your path that you cannot walk away from. Thanks to K.I.D.S. supporters and donors we are able to assist this young woman to create a better path for herself and her family.

Your contributions continue to change lives and reshape futures. Thank You!

All the best,
Rick and Adrianne

Monday, April 23, 2018

World Reading Day

Dear Friends,

We are happy to celebrate World Reading Day by recently providing library books for WELNepal (Women's Education and Literacy program in Nepal). We are partnering with WELNepal to bring women interesting and readable books that relate to women's issues and other important topics. It is great to learn to read however if you don't have books it is not very fulfilling.


"Literacy rates continue to rise from one generation to the next. Yet according to new data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, there are still 750 million illiterate adults, two-thirds of whom are women."
 

We visited these great literacy programs in Nepal and thanks to your support we can be part of the solution in bringing literacy to women.

K.I.D.S. also continues to support schools with books and story books for students living in isolated areas of Cambodia. Reading opens minds and changes lives and the lives of future generations.


Thanks for your support and happy reading to you all,
Adrianne and Rick

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Opportunities for Learning

Dear Friends,

We are now back in Canada and as always it is good to see our family and friends and the beautiful coastline of BC, although we are home K.I.D.S. work and support continues over in Cambodia and Nepal. Just before we left we visited the high school where, through the generosity and support of others, we were able to provide computers for an inner city high school with over 4500 students. This school prides itself on being one of the top five schools for academic achievement in the country, thanks to a committed and dedicated staff. We started with 20 computers last year and then added another 20 at the beginning of this year.


Thanks to further donations we were able to add another 17 computers and desks for the class just before we left. The teachers and students were thrilled. The school knocked a wall out between two classrooms and made room to create a great computer lab. Learning computers can change the future of a young person by allowing them to have the skills to use computers for university as well as finding better paying employment. Computers also assist the teachers in the school to do their lesson plans.

The principal, teachers and students wanted us to thank everyone for your support and they look forward to creating one of the best computer programs in the country. Thanks everyone!!!


All the best to you and yours,
Adrianne and Rick

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Happy World Water Day Everyone!

We are pleased to let you know that we have just completed two more school water projects north of Siem Reap. As always we have chosen to place the water projects at schools, so children have direct access to healthy clean water after traveling on foot or bikes long distances to get to school.

For the two new water projects this year we have implemented new filtration systems previously unavailable in Cambodia. The new systems produce quality water which is equal to the best bottled water available. We have also upgraded three of our other older school systems to a higher standard.


Over the years we have seen the difference in children when they have access to safe drinking water. Quiet playgrounds with thirsty children become filled with laughter and play when water is freely available and there are fewer children absent from school due to illness from water related issues.

Thank You to all of K.I.D.S. Donors and the Compassionate Eye Foundation for your amazing generosity.


K.I.D.S. now has 14 water projects up and running, directly serving over 9,400 students and several hundred teachers daily. In addition the students can take water home in containers to their families giving several thousand more children and parents access to safe drinking water.

Today in honor of World Water Day, we would like to acknowledge everyone for their support and in addition we want to thank Sun Sang Hak who can build anything we ask for and Yoeun Thol (Kim) our terrific partner, translator and logistician.




The World Health Organization states that there are around 663 million people in the world that do not have access to safe drinking water, an unbelievable number... but today there are a few less.

Till next time 
Rick and Adrianne


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Batteries, Bilges and Bikes

Dear Friends,

We hope all is well with you. We recently went out to the Stung Sen River and the Tonle Sap Lake to make and install pumps that will assist The Lake Clinic, Cambodia. The new pumps are simple and effective and will increase the longevity of the hulls by pumping rain water out of the bilges in the rainy season. We also had new batteries installed at three of the five clinics. The batteries store the power from the solar systems and in turn allow the clinics to have electricity for lighting, medical equipment and fans; believe us in 35 degree weather fans are precious! Thanks to Compassionate Eye Foundation for supporting the infrastructure of this important program that brings healthcare to those living in very poor and isolated areas. Sometimes it is the things that are not necessarily noticed that are in fact important in easing the lives of others.


We also went out to the countryside to deliver more bikes that are supported by K.I.D.S. donors. The students and families were very appreciative. Buying bikes here in Cambodia improves lives in three ways. Since we buy bikes locally our purchase supports the families that sell and fix bicycles. Giving a student a bike allows them to get to school and often they can take one of their siblings, with them, as so many have to travel long distances. The third benefit is for the families themselves, they can use bikes to get to clinics, take their children to and from home and buy food at the local market. Together, this year, thanks to your generosity we provided close to 200 bikes to kids and families. A special thanks to Yoeun (Kim) Thol and Sok Hak who work with us and schools/villages to improve lives and opportunities for education and a big "Thank You" for your continued support.


Until Next time,
Adrianne and Rick

Thursday, March 8, 2018

International Women's Day

Hi Everyone,


Over the years K.I.D.S. has supported many girls and women. Today being​ ​International Women's Day we thought we would share a few of their stories.

Sopeak
Some of you may remember Sopeak, the girl with the hearing disability, who we met many years ago while visiting a poor rural village. Sopeak's mother pushed her forward from a crowd and told her to speak English and to our surprise she spoke very clearly. It turns out that she would ride her bike long distances to study at a small free English program, which had closed down. We were so impressed we offered to help her to continue her studies at a better school. That was 12 years ago. Since that time KIDS has supported Sopeak to study English and university in the city, she was often the top of her class and finished a degree in accounting and English. Coming to the city was very frightening for her however she faced her fears and worked hard and now she teaches English and Khmer at an Australian non-profit program for at risk girls.


Sopeak is now a 25 year old woman with a vision and a good job, she is married to a great man who loves her dearly and they are expecting their first baby. Sopeak has helped her family by having her sisters live with her in the city and now they both have good jobs and finished school; she also helped her parents and they were able to move from their small thatched shack and build a bigger house. Sopeak and her husband managed to buy some land and are growing mangos and other fruits and will one-day move there to be closer to her family. Education changes girl's lives and the lives of their families and Sopeak is a great example of this truth.

Sohing's School 
A few years ago, at one of our favourite restaurants, we got to know Sohing, one of the servers. After many conversations we found out that she worked 6 days a week, 12 hours a day. Sohing comes from a small village which is very poor. We discovered that she paid a teacher to teach English to some of the poorer children in her village and as these kids were often hungry she would also go out once a week on her day off and cook them a nutritious meal.


We went to visit her little school which is under her small, wooden family home. We met 35 kids that were very happy to learn and doing well with their lessons. We asked her if we could help her; that was two years ago. Sohing now lives back in her home/village, works her land, and with K.I.D.S. support keeps her little school going. This amazing woman sacrificed her own meager wages to help these lovely kids. Recently we took them all on an outing, the students adore Sohing and their teacher and have dreams of finding good jobs and bettering their lives.



Stung Treng Women's Development Centre 
This incredible program was started by two inspiring people, Kim Dara Chan and Chantha Nguon, many years ago. The program trains poor, uneducated women in the art of silk weaving. We visited their program 14 years ago and were moved by how these women were able to make a decent living in a caring, respectful and supportive community. One issue for the women was daycare and so a small daycare/kindergarten was initiated. Thanks to K.I.D.S. donors we now provide 40 children with a creative, educational program. The women who teach there are incredibly committed and skilled; in fact, when these kids go on to the government schools they are often number 1 or 2 in their classes. Now these women do not have to live in poverty and their children are happy and healthy just steps away from where they work. The beautiul silk products they make are sold around the world. In addition this year K.I.D.S. has implemented a computer training program where girl's and women can learn computer skills as well.


We admire the strength, commitment and perseverance of these girls and women who have succeeded against incredible odds. They have worked hard to improve their lives, the lives of their children, families and communities. 
Thanks for your support! 

All the best to all of you,
Adrianne and Rick

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Lake Clinic

Hello Everyone,

Going out on the Tonle Sap Lake in central Cambodia never fails to be both an adventure and a challenge. This time of year it is very hot and humid out there and once the sun sets an onslaught of insects come out in full force to any light source so it is wise to be in bed and in your mosquito net just past sunset at around 6:30 pm. The locals, including children, mostly fish for a living and spend virtually their entire lives afloat either on their homes or boats.


The Lake Clinic Cambodia (TLC) was founded 10 years ago by Jon Morgan. The struggles of severe poverty is compounded by life on the water and prior to the founding of TLC there was a total lack of access to health care. Each week two TLC teams, comprised of a doctor, nurse, midwife, pharmacist, and registrar rotate through the four clinics on the lake and one on the Stung Sen River (that K.I.D.S. built 6 years ago). On our trips out to the lake we have witnessed the incredible difference that these medical teams make in easing the suffering of children and families. Without a doubt TLC and their amazing and dedicated teams save lives.

Jon was grateful when we told him that this year K.I.D.S. was able to help TLC by providing funding for two of the three midwives who work for TLC.


The environment on the lake is not only hard on people it is demanding on the infrastructure of TLC. This trip the solar powered battery banks, of two of the clinics, that provide electricity for lighting, computers and fans to keep patients and staff comfortable needed replacing. We also redesigned and replaced the pumping systems on the clinics with simple local technology to help keep water out of the hulls. Thank you Compassionate Eye Foundation for funding the batteries and pumps.

We recently went out to the lake and spent a couple of days doing repairs and improvements on the floating clinics. Adrianne and I and the TLC boat pilot spent our time replacing plugs and switches, repainting doors, installing wire to stop birds from coming into the clinics and building and installing the pumps.

K.I.D.S. also provided school supplies and some repairs to the little floating school that is next door to the clinic. Last year K.I.D.S was able to keep this little school afloat by buying new bamboo to put under the school. This small simple one room school provides the children an opportunity for education and respite from the daily struggles of fishing and a subsistence living on the lake.

We are literally in awe of the residents of the lake who live and work in these conditions indefinitely and the teams from TLC who travel long distances out there weekly to make their lives healthier.


Thank you to all K.I.D.S. supporters and donors, your assistance here keeps kids healthy and makes a difference beyond measure.

Till Next Time,
Rick and Adrianne