Sunshine House water project up and running

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Retired plumber Keith Durward kindly volunteered his time and skills to help out with the project. He spent over a month onsite with Chumrarn imparting his specialist plumbing skills and knowledge. His mentoring not only ensures the work is done to Australian Standards, but also gives Chumrarn an insight into best-practice techniques to achieve quality outcomes that are rarely seen in Cambodia.

Sunshine House was built over a number of years and often with very poor quality materials (as these were the only ones available at the time) – as a result, we had pipes going all over the place. When we fitted the water filtration system and started to monitor its use we found we had some big leaks underground.  The only way to fix the problem was to simply start again and make it all one system. A big job, but had to be done.

With just a few taps in need of replacing, Stage 2 is now all but complete. This stage saw all of the old water piping replaced and fed into one full system, which now allows us to purify all of the water from across the property at one central location.

Stage 3 will see all of the sewerage linking into one place. This stage is the largest part of the project and involves trenches being dug right through the whole property. The digging works are currently under way and the workers are digging under the paths so the children have no problem with safe access and also so that we don’t damage the electrical cables that were laid along the sides of the paths.  Despite a couple of weeks of unseasonal rain and some very hard digging through clay we’ve made great progress  – the trenches have all been dug and we are only a week or so away from filling them  in and levelling the site. I don’t think the kids will be happy when it is all filled in… they have loved the adventure playground with tunnels and pipes! Chumrarn will be pleased though, because

he has to ensure the site is safe and this means rechecking the pipes each morning to make sure the little adventurers haven’t moved anything… well, boys will be boys and we have a lot of them!

After all the sewerage is collected in one place, it needs to be made safe and this is Stage 4. We have put in a series of settling tanks and will be turning the old duck pond near the road into a reed bed. This will then create an environment where nature does its thing, with the final result being clean water that can be safely disposed of.

We’ve dug the old duck pond out and it isn’t in good condition, so it will need to he remade but at least the hole is there.

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WEST COAST EAGLES VISIT SUNSHINE HOUSE (continues)

   

Monday, 20 November

Up early to find the unseasonal rain had done its darndest to drench everything – except everyone’s enthusiasm! In a new tradition, the WCE boys planted fruit trees on the property. The idea is that the team will take photos by the trees each time they visit – a living timeline. This year they towered over the small saplings, but Sunshine House is known for encouraging strong growth and it won’t be long before the trees, like the kids in our care, rise up!  In fact, the kids can’t wait until the day when they can pick fresh fruit from those trees and savour not only the taste of the bounty but also their memories of the WCE’s visits.

 

Gardening over, the excitement then grew as the WCE boys and our Sunshine House team warmed up for the all-important Kompong Speu Volleyball Challenge. The first set was won by the WCE; the next set went to the Sunshine House team. With the score tied at one set each, the pressure was on for both sides. The final set was a hard-fought contest, but our Sunshine House team bought it home – becoming the undefeated champions for the 4th consecutive time. As ‘We are the Champions’ played, our team claimed the victory trophy. Smiles and high-fives all round were the winners’ reward.

These moments create wonderful childhood memories that will not only stay with our children but help plant the seeds for them to dream big for their futures.

    

 

  

 

Christmas at Sunshine House (continues)

 

 

Our little ones kicked off the concert with the Christmas story, which saw baby Jesus dropped out of his basket in their haste to exit the stage before the next item.  Everyone was in fits of laughter as they hurried to put him back into his basket.  Not to be outdone our next item was a dance routine also by our little ones.  The audience faces were covered in big smiles.  They danced their little hearts out to ‘Anhjek’ a current popular Khmer song. Our older girls performed traditional Khmer dancing, which was just beautiful to watch and the traditional costumes they wore were hand made in our Sunshine House sewing room.  The morning was completed with games and a few Christmas carols.  Working up a great appetite we moved to a delicious Christmas feast that our cooks had prepared, and was tucked into with gusto.

       

 

Tummies full, excitement mounted as we all headed back to the stage and concert area for the gift-giving. Each child and staff member received a specially selected Christmas present, sparking laughter and joy as the gifts were unwrapped. Next up, our staff, students and guests took to the stage to join in the western and Khmer dancing.

We must thank Lamberta and her husband Kevin Groves, together with youth leaders Rebekah, Jessyn and Carly from Mona Vale CLC (New South Wales), who joined us for the day’s celebrations.

Christmas Day 2017 will forever be etched into our memories.

   

 

 

A Case for Change story continues

We would love for you to partner with us for this great cause!

For each $15 you donate we can buy a backpack, fill it with school supplies and give educational tools to the rural poor. If your school, church, business or organisation would like to be involved, we would love to hear from you (the donation may be tax deductible).

In recognition of your support, your logo is displayed on the school bags your generosity enabled us to purchase. You’ll also receive an appreciation certificate together with photos taken on the day when the bags you contributed are distributed at a school.

Case 4 Change 2018 – partner with us to help positively impact the future of these children through the power of education.

Register your interest today at www.awarecam.org.au  or alternatively email kim@awarecam.org.au

Case 4 Change 2017

Our heartfelt thanks to our donors –  you made it possible for A Case for Change to distribute 600 backpacks this year.

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Australian donors

Crown Money Management
Lake Joondalup Baptist College
Wesley College
Outback Splash
Hamilton Hill Primary School
Jess & Simon Hull                                                        

                                                                                                                          

Cambodian donors

Newtown School
Norkor
Lyna Garage

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Join a Case 4 Change

For every $15 donated we are able to purchase a school backpack, fill it with school supplies and place your school or business logo on the front in recognition of your support of our important program.

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At Awareness Cambodia we are passionate about education and the life-changing opportunities that learning affords to children everywhere.  We believe education is a powerful and basic human right that enables children to break the cycle of poverty and inequity which can lead to trafficking, gender-based violence and other human rights abuses.

We invite your school, church or business to join us by becoming a part of A Case for Change. When you fundraise for A Case for Change you are helping schoolkids in Cambodia’s poorest rural province, Kompong Speu, get the education they deserve. Each school backpack that you provide is helping to re-write Cambodia’s future!

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It’s simple for your school, church or business to get involved in 2018: Just email Kim (kim@awarecam.org.au) and we will get an information pack to you.

Then for each $15 you donate, we will purchase a backpack, put your logo on it, fill it with school supplies and deliver the backpack to a school next July. It’s that easy. Your gift will empower children to realise their dreams!

Our heartfelt thanks to our donors –  you made it possible for A Case for Change to distribute 600 backpacks this year.

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Skorin’s story

Skorin comes from Kampong Chhnang (a small province 91km from Phnom Penh) and has two sisters and three brothers.

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In high school, Skorin studied hard and was rewarded with good grades. Passionate about planting trees, while studying biology at school she decided she wanted to continue to learn more about plants and their uses in agriculture.

Unfortunately her parents couldn’t afford to send her to university to follow her dream of studying agronomy. But she heard about Awareness Cambodia’s scholarships and knew this was her opportunity.

Skorin’s parents were overjoyed when she was awarded her scholarship and she has been working diligently for the last three years to make them proud.

When asked what she loves most about living at Graduation House, Skorin said returning from university after a long day and enjoying a home-cooked meal. Living at Graduation House has made moving from the province to the ‘big city’ a smooth transition and she appreciates having the freedom to study whilst enjoying the care and support of those around her.

copy-of-2016-07-22-16-31-29Skorin is doing exceptionally well at university and recently won an internship in her faculty, (Agronomy).  The hotly contested 2 positions were sought by over 200 applicants. Skorin was thrilled to win a placement.    The internship is provided by (Group for the Environment Renewable Energy and Solidarity) GERES and the (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) MAFF.

The study involvement is “Increasing Resilience to Climate Change” for farmers in rural Cambodia.  The internship will contribute to support the implementation of field diagnostic using the participatory tool with MAFF staff under the guidance of GERES.

She is excited to be commencing her 4th and final year in September.  With only a year left of university, she is looking to her future.  Skorkin would like to own a big farm having fields of mangoes and durian.

Receiving the scholarship has really helped change her life. In her own words: “I’m living a life that I know so many Cambodians would only be able to dream about – because I was one of them only three short years ago”.

Become a agricultural scholarship sponsor today

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Become a agricultural scholarship sponsor today – $350.00 per month 

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The Agricultural Scholarship purpose is to support poverty alleviation in Cambodia by enabling students from underprivileged backgrounds to complete agriculture-related studies; in doing this, these students can develop the capacity to effectively contribute to programmes, projects and services that can enhance agricultural productivity and rural development and welfare in the country.

Scholarships are offered to disadvantaged (poor, rural and marginalised) young people who show academic excellence, aptitude and a passion for social justice.

 

 

 

Become a medical scholarship sponsor today

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Become a medical scholarship sponsor today – $450.00 per month 

Cambodia needs well-trained and passionate medics to help build a better nation.
malinda-and-nita-picWith a belief that a person’s desire and ability to heal should not be determined by how much money they have, Awareness Cambodia is opening up opportunities for talented and driven Cambodians to pursue medical careers.

Taking a holistic approach to care, education and health, Awareness Cambodia has developed a medical scholarship program to help train the medics of the future.

The scholarship is designed to help alleviate poverty in Cambodia by enabling students from underprivileged backgrounds, who show academic excellence and aptitude for medicine, to complete medical studies at the International University in Phnom Penh. A partnership between the very successful Graduation House program (which opens up university education to students who would otherwise have no opportunity to study at a tertiary level), the International University, senior Operation Nightingale doctors and medical specialists in Australia, began by taking in two students in 2014.

With the intention that the new doctors will ‘give back’ to the province, upon graduation the scholarship recipients will be contracted to work with Operation Nightingale or another provincial medical project for a couple of years.

To encourage scholarship ‘ownership’, Awareness Cambodia will initially provide 80 per of the university fees while the successful candidates will be required to fund the remaining 20 per cent. Awareness Cambodia will hold 20 per cent of funds in trust to be given to the scholarship recipient after completion of their post-graduate medical service with the organisation. The scholarship also provides study materials, food, electricity and accommodation until the students successfully complete their degree(s).

 

Read on….

In response to seeing vulnerable young children being exploited, we established the first of our child development projects – Sunshine House – in 2000.

By 2006, House of Progress was up and running. Here students completed their upper high school education, developed life skills and prepared for a tertiary education.

And in 2009 the first group of children to come into our care took the final step in their education journey – moving to Graduation House in Phnom Penh to commence   university studies.

Today, the children in our child development programs are joining a growing number of healthy young adults who take up and complete university degrees in fields such as civil engineering, design, architecture, accountancy, tourism and hospitality, medicine, English literature, business and economics.

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And our education emphasis doesn’t stop there – extending into the Kompong Speu community (one of Cambodia’s poorest provinces).

Our medical program – Operation Nightingale – operates seven medical centres that provide primary health care to the local community. We employ highly trained Cambodian doctors (with international post-graduate degrees and ongoing annual mentoring from Australian medical professionals) to provide medical care and vital health education.

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Through our community education programs, we continue to link education programs and educators (including the Western Australian Department of Education and Training) to 20 local schools. In addition, our programs and giving opportunities enable individuals, businesses, schools and other organisations to play a role in helping to provide education services to the community.

These programs were introduced against a backdrop of only 1 in 10 girls making it to Year 8 and only 4 in a 100 girls going on to years 11 and 12. Sadly, in many parts of Cambodia, especially rural areas, the idea that education is unnecessary for girls remains. And this, when also coupled with generational poverty and a lack of basic services in schools, prevents girls from continuing their schooling. The average rural Cambodian school has 600-800 children, no running water or toilets, and can’t afford books and stationery.

Instead of ignoring these facts, we saw an incredible opportunity for people in privileged positions like ours to bring about real change. So we made a commitment to put basics, such as toilets and running water, into government schools. We also run English Second Language courses at the government schools for some 500 children in years 4, 5 and 6, providing them with the essential language skills they will need to take advantage of the high school curriculum. And through our ’Case for Change’ program local children are given a backpack and school supplies.   While our ‘giving’ options also take an education focus, allowing generous supporters to provide everything from art supplies to a music teacher to enhance the education journey of underprivileged children.

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Recognising the potential education has to alleviate poverty amongst Cambodia’s poorest, we introduced a scholarship program to enable students from underprivileged backgrounds to complete medical and agriculture-related studies at university. By taking part in these scholarships, the students develop the capacity to effectively contribute to programs, projects and services that can contribute to their country’s productivity and social development.

All of these programs have been launched with a firm conviction that EDUCATION is powerful and a basic human right. It is through education that Cambodia’s most vulnerable will be empowered and play a part in the future of their country.

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Wen Giving makes saving lives possible!

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Sadly the incidence of breast and cervical cancer in Cambodia is a major issue; with these cancers being the leading two causes of death for Cambodian women. Around 1400 new cases of breast cancer and 1500 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year in Cambodia – the highest incidence per capita in South East Asia. Despite these cancers often being treatable, provincial women have limited access to medical services, health education and suffer a disproportionate financial burden when it comes to medical care. As a result, almost half of the women diagnosed have presented too late for treatment and pass away from the cancer.

Awareness Cambodia is combating these devastating, but preventable, diseases by providing screening and education for 1440 women over the next two years. Each clinic session sees a steady stream of women (25-35 in number) attending clinics for treatment and education. Operation Nightingale (Awareness Cambodia’s medical stream) reports a significant number of women being referred for further biopsies and treatment. Operation Nightingale Director Dr Chenda also reports that her time invested in training nursing staff has prompted the midwives at the clinics to ask for formal training too. While it’s early days yet, the pilot program is hitting its mark.

Dr Chenda describes a typical day:

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“Twenty-five women came to the women’s clinic for screening. The women were taught how to prevent breast and cervical cancer. Women must do self-breast examination every month. However, cervical cancer can be preventable by pap smear every two years and vaccination. Although the women have vaccinated to protect the cancer, pap smear is still needed every two years since the vaccine provided in Cambodia can control only two types of HPV.”

Awareness Cambodia wishes to extend a warm and heartfelt thank you to Mei Wen from the Wen Giving Foundation whose partnership and generosity is helping make this life-saving program for women in provincial Cambodia possible.

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