Asian Hope's 2Five2 program took on an additional project this past year to open a partnership with another organization called Children In Families. This organization works to help children who are orphaned stay in Khmer families through foster care and kinship care before they would ever go to an institutionalized orphanage. We have loved working with them and are excited to see where our partnership leads us.
It all started last Christmas when they approached us with helping them in a public school development project in a neighboring province to Vietnam, called Svey Rieng. Children In Families has worked in this community for the past 10 years, but are seeing the effects of the lack of child safety and hygiene knowledge, and poor schooling on the children they serve. So for the past five months Asian Hope has been doing projects to help develop the government school and educate students in this small community with the hopes of it benefiting the children that attend.
In honor of International Children's Day this Saturday, Asian Hope and Children In Families did a distribution of need school supply items. All 716 students in the primary school received a school uniform, backpack, needed school supplies, and a bathroom towel. We even worked with Tom's shoes so everyone could get a pair! So yes, for those trend setter out there, now over 700 children are a proud owner of a pair of Toms.
I spent all day Wednesday at the distribution, (which always includes some long ceremony where I am forced to speak my bad Khmer in front of everyone and suffer through that) and enjoying one last day in the quite and peaceful provinces of Cambodia. As the distribution ended at the school some traditional Khmer music came over the loud speaker and played a perfect soundtrack to the hundreds of children leaving school on their bike with their baskets full of school supplies.
We then had lunch provided by the school, which I ate knowing it was a 50% gamble of getting sick from it, and prayed over each bite and then we headed home. But no Khmer road trip is complete unless you stop for ice coffees in a bag and fried insects (I only opted for the coffee), and me made it home in under 2 1/2 hours!
It was exactly the day I needed in my last week here in Cambodia.