Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Breaking Child Labour in Brick Factories

Hi Everyone,

Hope all is well with you and yours. One of the ongoing programs K.I.D.S. funds is a program we call Smart Kids. We started this program six years ago when we visited an area where most of the children and families worked tirelessly at brick factories for next to nothing wages. The situation there is very sad and most families have to all work, including young children, to have a place to live. We went around and asked some families if we could educate one of their kids so they could break the cycle of poverty. Thanks to the principal at the elementary school Mr. Sokha and our long-time

friend and contact Hak we started the program with 6 students. We now have 33 students, thanks to the support of our donors. Each student gets their Cambodian school fees paid and are given school supplies, a bike, English lessons, computer lessons as well as weekly tutoring in English.

This past year we moved the first 8 students to live in the city with Hak and his family so they can learn to live city life, attend grade 12 and find opportunities for their futures. The kids are working hard and so appreciate this opportunity. Their families are also pleased that their children will get out of the brick factories and find a new and better life.

Each year we take all the kids for an outing, something they never get to do and it is great to let them see and experience different places and activities. Last week we took them to the Cultural Centre and Theme Park in Siem Reap and they had a great time.

This year we will also be building some new homes and renovating some houses for the Smart Kids student's families, that are living in dire situations, as well as providing​ ​them with toilets, wells for water and all 33 kids will be able to get solar electricity. A Big Thank You to the Lush Charity Pot program. We will have twenty-three of Lush​ ​staff from North America joining us to build and renovate these houses and they are providing all the funding for this project. We are very excited and will keep you posted on this amazing transformation and relief for these families.

Thanks to all,
Adrianne and Rick

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Girl's Home

Hello Everyone,

Eight Years Ago

Same Girls Today
We hope all is well wherever this finds you. We thought we would give you an update about one of our favourite programs... The Girl's Home. A place that is dear to our hearts. As many of you know, we started the girl's home eight years ago when the street children's centre, in Siem Reap, was closed due to lack of funding. The director, You Vath, offered to open her small home and take in six of the most vulnerable girls and we said we would fundraise to help the girls have a safe place to live.

Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we have now assisted over 30 girls to live happy, healthy and safe lives. Some have gone on to work and one is in university. Together with the guidance, love and support of You Vath and K.I.D.S., these terrific girls live in harmony, study hard, learn their traditional dance, learn english, computers, respect for themselves and others and most of all they have learned to create their own supportive, loving family and home.

We have watched these girls, who came from the street, orphanages or abusive situations, grow into kids who are thriving. The girl's are very appreciative of the opportunity they have been given. We are inspired by their resilience, their laughter and their desire to improve their lives. Thank you for your support and for giving them the life and future that every child deserves.

All the best to you and yours,
Adrianne and Rick

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Happy Room

Dear Friends,

We hope the year is off to a good start. Here we just finished bringing one of the basic needs in life to a inner city school in Siem Reap...Bathrooms!!! Something many of take for granted however here in Cambodia that is not the case.

We have been working with Feeding Dreams Cambodia for many years supporting their great work; which provides very poor urban kids with english lessons, nutritious meals, computer training as well as hospitality training all for free. Most of the kids who attend Feeding Dreams live in urban slum areas and work as trash collectors, beggars or sellers. The school runs programs morning, afternoon and evening and altogether there are more than 800 students that attend daily.

K.I.D.S. has assisted with the computer lab, social service programs and clean drinking water. This year, thanks to our terrific partners, Compassionate 
Eye Foundation, we were able to replace their two terrible bathrooms (that did not work most of the time) with a modern four stall bathroom and washroom area.
We also moved it far away from the clean drinking water system and classrooms...which is much more hygienic.

Now students and teachers can have descent, clean and private bathrooms that work.

Here they often refer to the bathroom as "The Happy Room" and believe us we have all made this school a lot happier.

The Happy Room

All the best to you and yours,

Adrianne and Rick

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Well Wishes

Dear Friends,

We hope the new year is off to a good start. We are happy to say that K.I.D.S. has just completed another clean drinking water system for a poor rural village school, a special thank you to Fergus and Penny MacCourt from Nanaimo.

We visited Samrong Khnarphor last year with our friend and partner Kim Thol. Kim assists us in finding schools that are in need of support and often off the beaten path. This little school is no exception. Here the 280 children are either crammed into what was the kitchen to study kindergarten, inside the three walled community shelter, outside in the dirt or in run down and broken small wooden classrooms. There is one classroom that is okay but still has only wire for walls.

The teachers are dedicated and teach in these conditions as they believe, as we do, that every child deserves an education.

Bringing clean drinking water to these children helps these kids to avoid suffering from illness and dehydration and they are so happy to have clean safe water to drink on a daily basis. It is great to see the kids growing their own garden so that they can add some greens to their breakfast provided by the World Food Program.

We will also be getting bikes for some of the kids who will be traveling long distances to high school next term.

With Gratitude from All,
Adrianne and Rick

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