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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.