Opportunity Cambodia Students having fun

Latest News

AUGUST 2017

Hello to all our friends and supporters.

I have recently returned from Cambodia and am delighted with the progress being made in all our programs.

We are thrilled with the results of our high school students boarding at our city Education Centre in Siem Reap – some just completed year 10 and another group completed Year 11.

All of them have done really well, three of them coming in the first four in their class.  They are competing with city educated students many of whose parents fund expensive extra coaching classes for them.  So we are very proud of our kids who are from unbelievably impoverished backgrounds, have worked so hard, and made the most of the opportunities we have been able to provide them.

Our Year 9s have all passed the national exam to enter high school (years 10-12) which is a great result.

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guitar player

A generous friend has raised funds to buy some musical instruments for these older students and they are loving learning to play.

It has been a very busy couple of months at our rural Centre.

In July we had a visit from Dr. David Bailey and his medical team from Australia.  They set up two clinics – one in our Centre and one in our pre-school which is about 5kms away.  They examined and treated some 700 members of our communities and of course our students.  We are very grateful for the wonderful service they provide.

David Bailey visit

We had a visit from Nowra Anglican College students also in July – they really enjoyed their time visiting all three of our Centres.  The road to our pre-school has now deteriorated so badly that we cannot get a vehicle through in the wet season, so the students had to hitch a ride in some boats owned by villagers.  A bit of unexpected fun!

We look forward to building a closer relationship with Nowra College.

Nowra Students visit

The students enjoy their time with our pre-schoolers.

Nowra College visit

It has been the season for workshops!

Our older girls attended a two day workshop on reproductive health run by the Women’s Resource Centre in Siem Reap. It’s a very good program which the girls really enjoyed.

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Repro health wshop - Copy

Our indefatigable GM, Chheng, found time to attend a workshop on Sustainability for NGO’s.  His words – great value!  Sustainability is certainly the buzzword in the NGO sector at the moment.

Sustainability wshop

American Peacecorps International Volunteers provided a workshop on food security which several of our staff attended.  We are planning vegetable gardens in the grounds of our pre-school, to give nourishing supplements to the food we provide for our pre-schoolers.

Food security training

The little ones at our pre-school are aged 3 to 5.  After their first year with us the older ones will go to kindergarten at the local school in October.  They love decorating our simple class room but the effect doesn’t last long!!

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Our animal raising project is progressing well, although not helped by the government importing cheap pork from Vietnam and lowering the market price of our breeders’ pigs!

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Once again – a big thank you to all our generous donors.

If you are not already a donor please consider making a donation or sponsoring a child.  GIVE NOW

Any donation you make will go directly to support our students.  All administrative, travel and fundraising costs are privately funded.

If you wish to support our community development program (animal raising and community health) you can indicate this in the special message box if you are donating through the GIVE NOW page of our website.

Carolyn Fletcher AM
Founder and Executive Director

www.opportunitycambodia.org.au

We are promoting our beautiful Pierro wine specially bottled for Opportunity Cambodia.  All sale proceeds go to support our programs.  To buy a case click here Cellarone

Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for the latest news.

APRIL 2017

This is our first newsletter in 2017 and I want to start by extending heartfelt thanks to our wonderful donors without whom we could not enable so many disadvantaged rural children to gain an education.

However unfortunately the fundraising task is never finished, and this year we have launched a fund raising drive to support our High School Centre in Siem Reap.

The Centre was opened in September 2015.  Our objective is to enable our older students, who wish to finish high school (grades 10-12) and continue on to university or quality vocational training, to attend high school in the city.

We are very keen to extend this program to more students from our rural commune.

If you would like to support this transformative program please CLICK HERE.
Our Siem Reap Centre provides a safe and supportive environment for the students and ensures they have all they need for school – fees, uniforms, bicycles, books, extra tuition – and plenty of nutritious food!

The standard of education in rural areas is poor.
We recognise that if our students are to have a chance of competing against city educated students for places at college and university they really do need to complete grades 10-12 in the city.
So far our girls and boys have adjusted really well to life in the city and are doing remarkably well at school.

It has been a busy start to the year with alot of activity in the village where our community development program is focused.

The best news is that our new pre-school is now open.
The building is very simple colourful and fun, with a playground and the first toilets in the village.

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And here are our first little pre-schoolers

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We are very pleased with the success so far of our animal raising project.  The families have really benefited from all the training they have had and are thrilled with their ability to raise, breed and sell their animals.

And here are some of the happy pig growers

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Learning how to make food for their pigs

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Back in our education centres English classes are progressing well – return visitors have commented on the very real progress the children are making and how proud they are of their skills.

Our older students in Siem Reap are not only studying hard, but also playing in the local football tournaments.
Here is our girls team with some of their opponents – they are all great friends and really enjoy the spirited competition.

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Our city students are also enjoying vocational guidance trips to prospective employers.  Here some of them are visiting Sala Bai which is one of the best hospitality training organisations in Siem Reap.

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As you can see we are off to a good start in 2017.

Once again I would like to thank our donors for their fantastic support.

I also wish to encourage others to consider making a donation or sponsoring a child.
It is a good time to remind our readers that any donation you make will go directly to support our students.  All administrative, travel and fundraising costs are privately funded.

If you wish to support our community development program you can indicate this in the special message box if you are donating through the GIVE NOW page of our website.

Carolyn Fletcher AM
Founder and Executive Director

www.opportunitycambodia.org.au

Please help us to continue our successful programs by going to our website donate page GIVE NOW

We are promoting our beautiful Pierro wine specially bottled for Opportunity Cambodia.  All sale proceeds go to support our programs.  To buy a case click here Cellarone

Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for the latest news.

DECEMBER 2016

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS

And thank you to all of you who have supported our project and helped to make possible a very full and successful year.

Our main fundraiser this year is the sale of Pierro wine especially bottled for Opportunity Cambodia.  It is a beautiful summer wine and we have discounted it for Christmas.
Ordering is easy – just click here Cellarone

So much has been achieved since our last newsletter.
Our younger students who attend our rural Centre have all advanced another grade and are doing well at school.

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Our first students to go to high school (years 10-12) in Siem Reap all passed their Year 10 exams – a terrific achievement.  I am so proud of them. Despite very poor teaching in their rural school they have made the transition to life and school in the city with courage and determination.  We have gone to great lengths to provide our rural children with quality extra tuition, especially in English and computers, and this seems to have really paid off.

Some of the next group to start high school in Siem Reap

We have just accepted another group of students under our secondary school scholarship program.  This program provides support for students who have completed primary school, and are keen to continue to secondary school, but whose families cannot support their education any longer.

We have had a wonderful American couple, Don and Jan Mottinger visit us.  Jan did some special English teaching with the children and they just loved her different approach.
Don set about renovating the old kitchen in our Siem Reap Centre – photos next newsletter!

Jan gets rapt attention from our younger boys and girls

Jan gets rapt attention from our younger boys and girls

Down in our rural commune we have nearly finished the building for our early childhood and maternal education program.  It is situated in the very poor village where a number of our students’ families live.

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A Malaysian government volunteer program has funded and built the pre-school.  I expected they would send a team of 10 or so volunteers and was amazed to find 54 young Malaysian volunteers slaving away in the heat on the building site.  Despite  the trucks bringing in supplies getting bogged on our terrible access road they are doing a fantastic job and expect to be finished mid-December.

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Almost finished!

Almost finished!

Toilet block

Toilet block

We have installed three toilets – the first sanitation in this community.

Opportunity Cambodia’s  primary objective is to enable poor and disadvantaged rural children to gain an education.  However we are undertaking development work in the communities where our students’ families live, funded by specific purpose donations.

We have been working with Water for Cambodia to supply 100 water filters to families in our Commune.  This is such an important initiative as few families have access to clean drinking water.

Loading water filters to distribute to families

Loading water filters to distribute to families

Our pilot project to enable women in the community to earn income to help support their families is underway.  The women have been trained in raising pigs and the project is going well.  If it is successful we plan to expand it to more families and also to introduce chicken raising.
This project is being funded by Lee Anderson.

Water Festival time again. The festival lasts for three days, and commemorates the end of the country’s rainy season,[1] as well as the reversal of flow of the Tonle Sap River.  It is second only to Khmer New Year in importance for the Cambodian   people.  It is great fun with spectacular boat races on the River, fireworks, and general celebration.  Our Siem Reap students had a great time – especially dinner out after the races!

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Once again, my sincere thanks to all our supporters – it has been a really successful year for all our programs and we simply couldn’t do it without your support.

I wish you a very happy Christmas and a wonderful year in 2017.

Carolyn Fletcher
Founder and Executive Director

Please help us to continue our successful programs by going to our website donate page GIVE NOW

BUY WINE

Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for the latest news.

Please go to Travel Giver to book your travel and ensure a percentage of your costs will go to Opportunity Cambodia.

SEPTEMBER 2016

GIVE NOW

Hello to our wonderful friends and supporters – some more news from Cambodia!

The school year has finished and of course we had a party to celebrate – especially as a number of our students received prizes.  Our boys played a volley ball match with teams a mix of our kids and boys from our local community.

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The good news is that the first group of our students to go to high school in Siem Reap have all passed their grade 10 exams.  This is such a great result for kids who have lived all their lives in a small very traditional rural village with all its disadvantages and limitations.  We are so proud of them.

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Some of our newest group of High School students

The next group from our rural Centre have just arrived at our Siem Reap Centre to start their high school years. They are all so excited.   Hard to believe that children who started in our rural program in Grade 1 all those years ago are now entering Grade 10 and working towards careers in teaching, nursing, medicine…..

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Early morning and it’s off to high school by bike.

Another group of our Grade 10s recently had a wonderful experience at Leadership Camp – learning alot, having fun and now putting some of the skills learnt into practice as they take more responsibility for managing their daily lives at our Siem Reap Centre.

The older kids have also been doing communications skills training with Possibilities World.

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Meanwhile at our rural Centre the younger kids are loving their English and Art classes.  Great excitement when boxes of English language books from donors arrive.

And we have a number of budding young artists.

Another exciting new initiative – we have commenced a pilot project raising pigs and ducks, designed to assist some of our very impoverished families to earn some income.  After intensive training the 10 families selected for the pilot are now fattening up their pigs.  We are planning to extend the project to more families once successful results of the pilot program are confirmed.

Training to be a pig farmer!

Training to be a pig farmer!

Staking out the pig pens

Staking out the pig pens

The pigs are growing fast!

The pigs are growing fast!

We are very excited – we have finally raised the necessary funds and will start building our pre-school in November.

Our grateful thanks to all of you who are supporting our goal of enabling desperately poor children to gain an education – it truly transforms their lives.

Carolyn Fletcher
Founder and Executive Director

Please help us to continue our successful programs by going to our website donate page GIVE NOW

Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for the latest news.

Please go to Travel Giver to book your travel and ensure a percentage of your costs will go to Opportunity Cambodia.

JUNE 2016

Hello again to our donors and friends.  I want to give a special thank you to our wonderful donors who have supported us during this last financial year.  You have made possible  a number of exciting initiatives during the year which you will have read about in previous newsletters.

Our main fundraiser this year is the sale of beautiful Pierro wine which has been donated to us.  This is a great opportunity to buy fine wine and support the education of seriously disadvantage children.  The new order process is very easy- just click on this link to Cellarone
or email carfletcher.c@gmail.com and I will arrange your purchase.

Good news – the rainy season has started – so essential for Cambodia’s main crop, not to mention our vegie garden.

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As usual there is lots happening at our rural education Centre and our new high school Centre in Siem Reap.  A number of our older students have been attending a leadership training course which culminated in a camp which all agreed was a fantastic experience.

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We have just conducted a training course on communication for staff and children at our rural Centre which has really made a positive difference within the Centre.

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Khmer  New Year was celebrated with a party and fun and games before the children departed to spend time with their families.

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The commencement of the rainy season is a time for replanting our vegetable garden. The garden continues to be amazingly productive and the children love picking their own produce and watching our cook turn it into delicious meals.

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Training for our animal husbandry project has started.  The aim of the pilot program is to test the viability of raising ducks and pigs as a means of enabling some of our poorest families to make an income.

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Thank you once again for your interest and support.  You really are helping to transform the lives of these seriously disadvantaged children and their communities.

Carolyn Fletcher
Founder and Executive Director

Please help us to continue our successful programs by going to our website donate page GIVE NOW

Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for the latest news.

Please go to Travel Giver to book your travel and ensure a percentage of your costs will go to Opportunity Cambodia.

April 2016

Hello again to all our supporters and friends.

I begin with a reminder that our main fundraiser for this year is the sale of wine donated by Pierro Vineyards in Western Australia.  This is a great opportunity to buy premium wine and help educate the seriously disadvantaged children at our Centre.

Buy wine and help educate our children

There’s lots happening at our Children’s Education Centre.  A generous donor has enabled us to run an art program with a visiting artist from Siem Reap.  The children are loving the classes and I think we have some budding young artists!

Our English classes are going really well now that we have a full time teacher.  Phearom has trained a couple of our older children, who want to be teachers, to teach some of the basics and help our youngest children with their homework.  This has proved a great success and our ‘student teachers’ are really benefiting from the experience!

Hygiene and dental care classes are fun and an important part of our programme.

Another year another Puppet Parade!  The children love the opportunity to spend a couple of days in Siem Reap, meet children from other NGOs and engage in a really creative experience

Our new Centre in Siem Reap, for our high school students and those doing vocational training, is proving very successful.  An unintended highlight is the open air roof top space where a cool evening breeze makes it a popular spot for our English classes.

Some of our oldest boys are now attending vocational training in Siem Reap.  Choy, pictured here is planning to start a motorcycle repair business in our Commune when he completes the course.

Thanks to our sports coach our football teams are now competing in Siem Reap, the cheer squad are just as enthusiastic.

They all love a cool off in the lake after the match

This year we want to raise funds to provide an early learning centre in one of our poorest communities.

Some of our prospective pupils – without our support they will not be able to go to school.

Many many thanks again for your interest and support

Carolyn Fletcher
Founder and Executive Director

Please help us to continue our successful programs by going to our website donate page GIVE NOW

Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for the latest news.

Please go to Travel Giver to book your travel and ensure a percentage of your costs will go to Opportunity Cambodia.

Wheels of Opportunity

WHEELS OF OPPORTUNITY

 

This month 10 bikes are needed for our newest students. 

We aim to break the cycle of poverty in Cambodia by educating children.

At $60 per bicycle, it doesn’t take much to make a big difference.

Help us reach our goal.

Donate Now

Read More

DECEMBER 2015 – Happy Christmas from Opportunity Cambodia

Buy wine and help educate our children

I want to start this newsletter by thanking all our wonderful, generous donors – those who support our education program, and those who support our community development program.

You really are helping to transform the lives of seriously disadvantaged children and their communities.

We are now coming to the end of another eventful year at Opportunity Cambodia’s Education Centre.  It is wonderful to be able to report again that our students are healthy and doing well at school.

We are very proud of all our primary school students and special congratulations to those who received prizes for academic achievement at the end of the school year.

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Last month our oldest group of students became the first young people from our Commune to go to High School (years 10-12) in Siem Reap.  Teaching in rural areas like ours is really substandard and we felt that these able and ambitious students would not be able to compete with city students for places at college/university if we were not able to support them at High School in Siem Reap.

This is an expensive initiative but we believe we are educating future leaders in their chosen fields, leaders Cambodia sorely needs.

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The photo above shows our rented premises.  We have now hired staff  and the students are settling in happily to life and school in Siem Reap.

Before we moved into our Siem Reap home we held the traditional blessing ceremony which takes place when a new house is built or new occupants move into an existing dwelling.

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Some of our older children have recently taken part in a leadership training program in Siem Reap.  This program is run by Michelle Morin of Possibilities World and our students always enjoy and benefit greatly from the program.

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Our volley ballers go from strength to strength under Chheng’s tuition, as do our soccer players.  It is great to see the children’s skills and confidence developing and their excitement when they challenge some of the city teams!

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The rainy season has flooded Preah Kok village again.  However it has also delivered much needed water to fill the reservoir we have recently built in this impoverished village from which many of our children come.  This initiative, together with supply of filters, will provide clean drinking water all year round for this community for the first time.

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I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a joyful New Year

Many many thanks  again for your interest and support

Carolyn Fletcher
Founder and Executive Director

Please help us to continue our successful programs by going to our website donate page GIVE NOW

Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for the latest news.

Please go to Travel Giver to book your travel and ensure a percentage of your costs will go to Opportunity Cambodia.

May 2015

GIVE NOW
I have recently returned from our Children’s Education Centre in Cambodia and am delighted to report that the year has got off to a very good start.

Our vegetable garden is brimming with good things as a result of the children’s hard work.

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In rural locations such as ours there is a chronic lack of resources and facilities, and the standard of teaching in the local schools is very poor.  Our constant challenge is to be able to provide reasonable quality teaching and resources to supplement what is available locally.  This means bringing personnel from Siem Reap, or taking our children to Siem Reap,  both of which are difficult and expensive.

However we now have part-time Computer, English and Sports teachers who are really enjoying working in such a different environment and with such keen and responsive students.

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There was great excitement when a large box of English reading books arrived – a big thank you to the boys at Knox Grammar School who donated the books

Our sports coach is providing general PE and coaching in volley ball and soccer, and we hope it won’t be long before our kids can compete with other teams in Siem Reap.

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Morning exercises with coach (in red)

Morning exercises with coach (in red)

 

Four of our year 9 students are attending a youth leadership course over 6 weekends in Siem Reap. This is a great experience for them, and while they are learning a lot they are also having fun.

The Giant Puppet Parade has become a major feature on the Siem Reap calendar.  20 of our grades 4-6 students went to Siem Reap for two puppet making workshops and then joined in the big Parade a week later. It is just the greatest fun experience for the kids.

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In the making

In the making

The finished product

The finished product

 

Our volunteer, Brian, is back and we are continuing our community development program supplying more water filters and tanks for families who do not have access to clean drinking water. We are not able to dig wells in our area and so we have acquired some land close to our poorest families where we will dig a pond to harvest rain water.  This will provide year round water for drinking (using filters) and irrigating home vegetable growing.

Two of our students outside their homes

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Thank you to all our wonderful, generous donors – those who support our education program, and those who support our community development program.
You really are helping to transform the lives of these seriously disadvantaged children and their communities.

Please help us to continue our successful programs by going to our website donate page GIVE NOW

Carolyn Fletcher
Founder and Director

Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for the latest news.

Please go to Travel Giver to book your travel and ensure a percentage of your costs will go to Opportunity Cambodia.

NOVEMBER 2014

GIVE NOW

I have just arrived back from a visit to Cambodia and would like to bring you up to date on some of the developments at our children’s education centre.

BACK TO SCHOOL

The children returned at the beginning of October after their 2 months school holidays.
They are all in great form and looking forward to the year ahead.

Crossing the river after school

Crossing the river after school.

One of our new girls is Vet.  She is 8 years old and comes from a large and destitute family.
She is able to attend our Centre thanks to a generous donor who will support her through her education.  She is so proud of being a ‘school girl’.  And is unrecognisable from the ragged little urchin who arrived on day one!

One of our new girls is Vet

The children were no sooner back at school when another national holiday occurred – there are so many in the Cambodian calendar!

Bon Om Touk or the Cambodian Water Festival, is celebrated in November on the full moon. The festival lasts for three days and commemorates the end of the country’s rainy season, as well as the reversal of the flow of the Tonle Sap River. Festivities include boat races and concerts.   We brought all the children up to Siem Reap to watch the boat races on the River –  very noisy and exciting.   Below some of the children in their new blue Opportunity Cambodia tee shirts.

Watching the boat races on the River

Watching the boat races on the River

Boat races on the River

Boat races on the River

At the end of the wet season some of our families decamp to Tonle Sap Lake to fish.  They then dry the fish to provide protein for their diet during the dry season.  Fish is a very important part of the menu at our Centre.

Families often take their children out of school when they move to the Lake but we are able to ensure that our students continue at school and are cared for while their relatives are away.

Fish by the lake

THANK YOU NRMA

The NRMA has presented us with 6 computers – a wonderful donation which included a technical expert to install the computers.  Chris spent two days at our Centre making sure everything worked in our technically challenging environment!

Computers from NRMA
We are thrilled with the outcome and the children were  so grateful they performed several dances in Chris’s honour!

Children dancing

EXTRA CURRICULA ACTIVITIES

We have commenced our Inspiration and Motivation program, with our first speaker being Sokha Sam.  Sokha is a Cambodian woman from a very simple rural village who has worked her way up from little education and a job as cleaner at a Siem Reap hotel, to an MBA and a job as Manager of the hotel.  Her story is an inspiration to all the children but particularly to the girls who still face family pressures to leave school at primary level, if they go to school at all, to work in the home and to marry early.

Inspiration and Motivation program

Sporting facilities are non- existent in our local school and in the local commune.  So we have started a program to teach the children soccer and volley ball, and we hope that in time they will be able to go to Siem Reap to compete with the city school teams.

Chris playing soccer with the children

Chris braves the Cambodian heat to do a little soccer training!

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

We are currently conducting a comprehensive survey of one of the critically impoverished communities where a number of our students live.  The data we collect will form a sound basis for the community development work that we are in the process of undertaking in the community.  The priority of course is clean drinking water and sanitation.  We are also planning to enable some income earning opportunities particularly for the women.

We couldn’t support and educate so many poor children without your interest and support.  They are terrific kids and deserve the opportunity they are getting.
A very big and heartfelt thank you to all our wonderful donors.

This Christmas please think about making a donation to our education program.  We would love to enable more children to gain the very clear benefits of good health and education that our students receive.

Carolyn Fletcher

Founder and Director

Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for the latest news.

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