Samdach Reasmi Sobbhana Women’s Foundation
As 2015 has come to a close, we’d like to take a moment to look back at the achievements and memories of this year’s class. We were also blessed to receive many donations of school supplies, clothes, and games, particularly though our sister organization, Pack for a Purpose. Here’s a look at a few of the highlights from this year.
We had a visit from an American family who brought donations for our preschool via Pack for a Purpose. The children at our center enjoyed and appreciated their visit and had a great time playing with them! Many of our older students were brave enough to stand up in front of the class to sing songs they had learned. We also learned our third Khmer consonant and practiced writing and pronunciation. In health, we learned to bathe ourselves and practice good hygiene
In February, the center had a few more visitors, including Fred and Julien from Singapore, and additional donations from Pack for a Purpose! Fred commented that “The center is really nice, the kids look happy and shining. You can see that the teachers really love the kids and are engaged and passionate.”
The weather was very hot this month – 38 degrees Celcius (100F)! The trees lost many leaves, and we had to spend a lot of time inside. We ran fans during naptime, and played memory games with the the alphabet and Khmer consonants. Some of the older children began basic math studies. The children’s favorite drawings this month included the sunrise, paddy fields, and birds.
The Center also received good feedback from the parents who said that the staff takes good care of the children, providing healthy food to help them grow mentally and physically.(We are fortunate to have such a wonderful cook!)
We received donations of School supplies, games and toys from Caring for Young Khmer (CYK) and Pack for a Purpose. We also had a new sign made to replace the one we’ve had for the past ten years. We love the bright colors, and it’s made the center easier for people to find.
In the beginning of April, we held a graduation ceremony and celebrated the Khmer New Year. Teacher Uom Dos began teaching English to our staff teachers towards the end of the month. The staff was excited to start learning so that they can communicate better with our visitors and volunteers.
This month was hot and dry, and many trees and flowers died. Despite the heat, we had fun playing in the sand pit, making hills and cakes. The children continued to do well, and were able to pay attention to an entire story and then say which of the characters acted morally and which of them did not. Most of the children gained height and weight and were healthy. We were proud of our children for taking care of the environment. They helped clean up when they saw trash in the play ground and told their friends not to litter.
Our teachers attended a training in the Mong Russey district addressing preschool curriculum.
Thank you to our volunteers! They repaired the kitchen’s roof, painted a mural on the front wall, and made improvements to the kitchen garden.
We were blessed to have a group of volunteers from the U.S., led by Anna O’Brien, throw us a party! Everyone received a gift bag with a coloring book, toothpaste, a toothbrush, crayons, and soap. We played lots of games and had lots of fun!
It’s not all fun and games, though! The children who were getting ready to go to primary school were given homework every day to study their consonants, vowels, and pronunciation. We also learned about different ways to prevent mosquitoes from hatching and biting us. Some types of mosquitoes can cause dengue fever!
Dr. Sourn Monika, our dentist, and her volunteer Swiss dental team came to the center to perform our annual checkups and fill, seal, and extract teeth for the children and staff. She and her team donated toothbrushes and taught everyone how to practice good dental care. The dentists checked more than 60 children and there was no pain or crying! We love it when Dr. Monika can visit us! She is the best pediatric dentist in Cambodia! Teachers gave the children daily homework in order to help prepare them for primary school. The children who will attend primary school in November are continued to practice their language skills. We also learned about the importance of eating a variety of vegetables and the difference between birds and mammals.
By the end of September, we had learned 33 Khmer consonants. Our building incurred some damage due to a rainstorm. Fortunately, we were able to repair it quickly and continue with our studies.
It’s time for Primary School! Thanks to your help, some of the children were ready to continue their education. We had a graduation ceremony with a party, and were given backpacks!
In November, we had a lot of fun playing in the playground. Barbara Rinehart, Director of Hearts and Hands for Cambodia USA, paid the center a visit. She was impressed with how smoothly the center was running and the new English songs the children had learned. She also had a chance to visit with the parents and answer their questions – all were extremely grateful to have their children attending Sobbhanna Preschool. We had a lot of new students, and at first it was difficult for them to adjust, but the other children did their best to make them feel welcome.
The new students started feeling comfortable at the Day Care Center and are making new friends! The have learned a lot this year, thanks to our wonderful teachers and director. We also received another donation through Pack for a Purpose and celebrated Human Rights Day.
Thank you to everyone for your support this year. Every donation has helped keep us running and is gratefully appreciated. Special thanks to the ongoing support of Pack for a Purpose and the National Honor Society at Singapore American School.
Hearts and Hands for Cambodia
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.