Author: christine

It’s time for News

This is a long overdue newsletter for 2014.  I will start backwards from the present.  We just purchased a new sign for the Center. This replaces the one that has been in place for 10 years.  It will be much easier to find the Center now.  Chamroeun helped to select our logo- children inside a heart- a symbol of love for each other and the love we have for our children.

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Logo Heart

 

 

 

 

 

We have had many wonderful donors this year.  Caring for Young Khmer (CYK) from Japan donated many books for us.  It is important to have books for our children to look at and be read to.  We are most grateful.

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We caught the attention of beekeeper volunteers from Honey Bee Ministries.  They came to our Center and were able to find bees, made us two hives and taught the teachers and Chamroeun how to keep bees.  Unfortunately the bees absconded which is typical of the Cambodian honey bee.  Our wonderful volunteers promised to return and help us again.  As new beekeepers find out and I know as a beekeeper in Virginia it is not easy to keep bees.  They are fascinating creatures and have a lot to teach us. We hope to eventually make a success of beekeeping at the Center.
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We received a wonderful donation from Fred and the family from Singapore.  They were able to come and visit with us.  It was a treat to have visitors meet our children and see our Center and have lunch with the staff.

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We have partnered with the non profit, Pack for a Purpose: http://packforapurpose.org  The travelers coming through Battambang have been very generous to our Center bringing school supplies and other items requested on our site.  Thank you to Rebecca of  Pack for a Purpose and all our wonderful travelers.

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We have started a kitchen garden with the help of one of our volunteers last year.  Below are some pictures of our progress.  Of course a garden is weather dependent and there was a freak hail storm and a very wet season and then a very dry season when watering became a problem.  We do have some trees, papaya and banana that are fairly consistent.  The staff has pitched in and planted and harvested.  It is so good to have fresh food to add to our meals. The children receive breakfast, lunch and a snack.  We are grateful to have a wonderful new cook.  Our previous cook Yoert is now a teacher.

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Barbara Rinehart was able to visit the Center this year.  I was not able to travel so it was very good to have Barbara visit. She was able to check on building maintenance (we needed roof repair) and the progress of teacher training, participate in classroom activities, and listen to progress reports and requests from our staff.  Her favorite activity of course was spending time with our children!

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Dr Monika is a pediatric dentist.  She and I have been friends for a long time. She hosts volunteer dentists from around the world and brings the mission team to our Center.  She has been very generous over the years.  A lot of  her work involves teaching and counseling the children on the importance of brushing teeth and proper hygiene.  Many children in Cambodia do not have access to a dentist and have poor teeth and cavities.  Eating and drinking foods with sugar is a problem and so we also work to educate the parents. We are grateful for her continued support.

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Our teachers attended preschool training from the government. They learned how to use local materials to make items to enhance the children’s learning, as well as gathering many new ideas.  It is important that continuous education is provided for the teachers to stimulate their interest as well as provide new materials for the children.  We welcome the opportunity to enhance their preschool training

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This is an update on Somphlou.  She has grown into a beautiful young woman.  Deborah, a volunteer who spent several weeks at our Center last year  is continuing to sponsor her.  Somphlou helps out at the Center after school.  She is well loved by our staff and a great help with the children.

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The children are happy learning and playing in a stable, safe, and secure environment.  I am grateful to have a dedicated, talented director, Chamroeun, as well as a staff that works hard to make our Center thrive.  Here are a few more pictures.

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Update on our Fundraiser

We were able to raise $2760 with our gofundme fundraiser. I want to thank everyone who donated! The money even though it fell short of our goal of $7200, helped us keep the Center open.  Thankfully one of our Board Members, Barbara Rinehart stepped forward to donate the money needed to keep the children’s meals this year. We are implementing future changes in order to gain more consistent funds. We are adding a few more board members and hoping to partner with a preschool in the USA and Singapore. Please keep in touch with our Facebook page: Sobbhana Daycare Center for updates and pictures.  Our Facebook page is the go to for us so don’t miss out. Also stay tuned for some renovations on our website.  I am excited that we have recruited a few computer savy volunteers!  There will be other entries coming soon.  Also our board member, Barbara is planning a trip this October to Singapore and the Center.  Stay tuned for her blog.

Our children in the classroom
Our children in the classroom

We are very grateful for your generosity. Our children and staff thank you very much- “អរគុណ”akun jann!

Please Donate- gofundme

Hello All

– Hearts and Hands has been the sole support of Sobbhana Day Care Center for 10 years now.  It has been a joy to work with the children and the teachers and staff.  It is fun to see the children’s smiling faces and follow the progress of the preschool as the teachers expand their knowledge and skills.  Our parents understand better the importance of education in their children’s lives, the children are better prepared for primary school and they tend to stay in school longer than their peers who have not had the advantage of attending preschool here.  We have a garden that supplies some of the vegetables and fruit we use for meals and some of our parents have taken part in our literacy program.  There are many things we wish to add to our program. As Director I want to continue to see the Center grow, improve, and thrive.  Unfortunately at this moment we are facing a financial crisis.  We have put together a gofundme – crowd funding site for Sobbhana.  This is the link http://www.gofundme.com/7ajgsg   Please look through our website and our Facebook page: Sobbhana Daycare Center that Sobbhana’s Director, Chamroeun has put together.  You can see our kids, our staff, facility and garden.  Consider helping us with a donation- any amount is appreciated!

Thank you-  Chris

 

 

 

 

Pictures from 2013

 

 

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2013 Newsletter

31 December 2013

Holiday Greetings to All & a Happy New Year!

We have had a very exciting year 2013.  I will try to recap for you in this newsletter.  Please look at us on Facebook as Sobbhana Daycare Center with lots of pictures.

Barbara and I were able to visit early in the year.  It was quite successful because we were able to start several new projects.   We initiated an adult literacy program in partnership with Heifer International.  At present there are 8 people in the class taught by Sreynith one of our teachers. They study from 1-4 every weekend. We started this program due to the request we had from some of the mothers of our children.  The one thing they wanted to improve their lives was to learn to read and write.  We feel strongly that if we help to educate the parents we strengthen our ties with our community and improve the lives of our children and their siblings.

We investigated the bee project further.  We traveled to a local bee farm and spoke with the beekeeper.  He was willing to provide hives and bees as well as education for our families and continued support through monthly visits.  We are looking into the best way to sell our honey, possibly build our own hives, and raise the funds to start with our Center and 10 families.  The local honey is dark and has a strong flavor.  Hopefully this year we will be able to raise the funds to begin.

We were able to take the staff their children and Somphlou to the circus in Battambang. Phare Ponleu Selpak is an NGO which gives youths from deprived backgrounds the opportunity to channel their energies into learning circus skills such as juggling, clowning and acrobatics while raising awareness of issues such as HIV/AIDS, landmines and child rights. It started in 1986 in the refugee camps on the Thai border. Their website:  http://www.phareps.org/  I highly recommend a visit if you happen to be in Cambodia.  We all had fun!  We took 2 tuk tuk’s to get there- racing each other down the street!

We were able to spend time organizing the storage space at the school.  Usually we also give a workshop for the teachers and this time we emphasized creativity using games and other forms of play.  We were able to send our Director, Chamroeun to Siem Reap to observe another preschool run by Caring for Cambodia.  The Cambodia department of education sent instructors to spend a week with our teachers at the Center specifically focusing on preschool curricula.

We hosted a local musician Master Mik and his students for a performance for the children.  This is the website for the local NGO http://www.marioninstitute.org/cambodian-living-arts/about-cambodian-living-arts  Master Mik survived the Khmer Rouge genocide because of his talent. The Masters- these men and women hold thousands of years of traditional knowledge in their hands, bodies, and voices.  They are the living cultural treasures of Cambodia. We wanted to expose the children and their parents to local culture.  Some of the children participated with the students on the drums (with help of course).

My wonderful friend Monika Suorn a pediatric dentist was able to come and see our children. She and her volunteers spent 2 days with us.  It is so important to receive dental attention early.  Some of our children already have rotting teeth.  She was able to talk with the parents and children about dental hygiene and prevention of caries including what foods to avoid. She also was kind enough to see one of our staff, Meak Hum who was complaining of sore teeth which required a trip to Phnom Penh to Monika’s clinic.

We have been blessed by having some great volunteers this year.  Karl, Marcus, and Alejandra are professional photographers who came in July and took pictures of the Center and our children and staff.  Pictures do truly tell our story as you can see by the ones we have included here.  Our website will have more of the pictures and the movies they took.  A great big thank you to all of them for their generosity!

Deborah Eaton-Kent was our next visitor.  She is a true dynamo from Canada.  She spent a month with the Center and concentrated on teaching the teachers English and also giving classes on educating preschoolers with lots of teaching tips and materials.  The staff fell in love with her and she has maintained a relationship with them.  She sponsors one of our teachers, Khoeun Chhai for English lessons, and continues to sponsor Somphlou for food and clothing.  Somphlou’s parents died of AIDS and she is HIV +.  She is now 14 and lives near the Center with her aunties. She gets medicine regularly, goes to school and afterwards is often found at the Center helping out. Her living conditions are very poor so Deborah’s assistance is very important for her.

Nicoleta Salajan came in August for a few weeks.  She started a “kitchen garden” planting some vegetables and fruit trees.  She also helped with English classes and worked with the children adding to their daily lessons.  We hope to continue with volunteers as they have added greatly to our program. Even if you can’t travel to Cambodia we are always looking for volunteers willing to work with us on our website and assist with fundraising in all capacities including grant writing.

We have some special thank you’s to add. Friends of Alejandra’s, Ellen and Jamie design jewelry in Bangkok and have designed a beautiful gold Cambodian pendant. They are going to donate $100 from the profits of the sale of this pendant to us!  They have a store on Etsy- Asia Gem Connection and a website: http://asiagemconnection.com/2013/04/10/cambodia-pendant/  Please take a look!

We have maintained a relationship with Emily Teng who runs Blessings in a Bag in Singapore.  She was able to send us a donation of clothes, bags, towels, and some school supplies.  Some of the clothes and items we were not able to use were distributed in the villages to our families and their neighbors. http://blessingsinabag.org/

We received our first package of school supplies from http://packforapurpose.org/.  This is a new partnership for us this year.  They encourage travelers to bring donated items to specific drop off sites for NGO’s in the area they are visiting. We also partnered with Phka Villa a B & B in Battambang as a drop off site.  They are a wonderful small hotel with a very friendly staff.  We always stay there.  Here is their website with the pack for a purpose logo for us- http://phkavilla.com/

We also must thank our long time sponsors the National Honor Society at Singapore American School, and the US Navy Chapel in Sembawang, Singapore.  They have been great consistent donors.  We appreciate their continuing support!  We also want to thank Rose Charities Canada & New York for their help with our financial transactions.

We are most grateful for our primary donor this year Tay Yiang Ping from Singapore.  She stepped in and offered to support us through February 2014.  It would have been difficult to continue without her consistent support this year.  This allowed us to do repairs, special projects, the graduation and holiday parties, and buy the needed electronic equipment.  THANK YOU!

We have added two new board members.  Sotia Hok who works with the Handa Foundation in Battambang, and Nikki Singer a former volunteer for us who is presently completing her master’s degree with a study abroad in Cambodia.

As usual we have a wish list for next year.  This includes new playground equipment, building repairs including painting the exterior and fixing the kitchen roof, a new toilet, more teaching materials, and as always a monetary increase for our dedicated staff.  Please look to our website for our donation page.

Best Regards,  Christine

Christine Wagner, Director Hearts & Hands for Cambodia

 

 

 

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