“Let’s see the fruits of the seeds we plant!” Our supporters and their compassionate giving are building the foundations for a better world. We visit Cambodia as often as we can to see the transformations with our own eyes.
On this year’s trip, several American friends came along. Silke and Darren, who oversaw the building of Mona’s Library. Zion and Lyndi, who started our music education program and Mike, Lyndi’s dad, who was our trusted driver, translator and Cambodian storyteller.
Starting a music education program had long been a vision of ours. Zion Dyson (our granddaughter) is a third-year jazz voice and music education student at New England Conservatory. Lyndi Kemp is a fourth-year choral music education student at Georgia State University. Together they developed a curriculum for a music program.
They taught the English teachers how to incorporate music into language learning. Lyndi and Zion also worked with the students. Yes, these gals were busy! They introduced songs, rhythm, melody and vocal variety. At the end of two weeks they orchestrated a big concert where the students and teachers presented songs and music skills. It was a great event with music to dance to.
In a grand finale Zion and Lyndi orchestrated a big concert for all school children and their parents.
We celebrated the opening of the Syed Balkhi Learning Center and Mona’s Library at Stoeung Chak Village with a festive ceremony. Generous funding by Syed and his family made the school possible. Mona’s Library is a tribute to Mona, who sadly passed away at age nine. Her mom Silke, her family and friends collected funds to build a library. Both the school and library benefit the children and entire community in the underserved village Stoeung Chak.
We attended a soccer match, a final for the season’s championship in Prey Touch Commune. The soccer program is widely enjoyed by boys and girls and brings a valuable after school program to this remote area. The Tim Sykes soccer stadium and the Youth Soccer Program have created a school spirit that we’ve never seen before. The Francis Parker School in San Diego is a supporter of the Youth Soccer Program.
We delivered 90 colorful handmade dresses to children in rural Cambodia. Four sewing ladies from the Paradise Village Residence in National City made the adorable outfits for kindergarteners and first graders. This was a heartwarming mission. What a joy for us on delivery day. Darren and Silke bought bright soccer uniforms for the boys. The kids looked so happy in their colorful outfits. They performed songs for us which they had practiced for our visit. We loved everything about this.
We held a dinner party for all our students and team members in Cambodia. It was like a big family reunion. A real treat for everyone. We consider the people in our organization family. Coming together is valuable in fostering our connections and friendships. Former students of our program came from as far as Phnom Phen. We all support each other because everyone plays a part in the successes of our missions.
While we visited the rural communities that benefit from our charitable work, we saw that the villagers, young and old, take pride in the infrastructure that we provide. Showing them that we care, lifts their self worth and makes them proud. With a sense of ownership, they are starting to contribute their own money and labor to maintain and improve the schools and libraries. People tend to the common areas by planting gardens and keeping the grounds neat and litter free. The locals become stewards of what we have built. Our projects revitalize the entire community! This is exactly what we want to see.
Finally, we saw our CVF dormitory. Venerable Sovechea, our volunteer manager in Battambang, had worked tirelessly leading the two year project during construction and furnishing. The dorm provides a state of the art living and learning environment. It is comfortable, safe, well lit with good furniture, modern bathrooms and an indoor kitchen. The building has a rooftop terrace with views over Battambang.
The college students had told us in messages how much they adored their new home. They feel like residents of a five star hotel. We spent a lot of time in the dorm talking with the students, watching them cook, clean, play music and laugh.
Spending time with our Cambodian friends and family always deepens our desire to work on behalf of these wonderful people. We’re deeply committed to helping them in their efforts to better their lives. They work diligently and what they need is a little seed money to get started to move on up.
Your support is changing the face of Cambodia. Please help us continue this important work.