A word from our chair
“Dear friends of Cambodian Kids Can,
As part of our community, you have been instrumental in enabling young Cambodian children from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate in a world of education that most of us take for granted here in Australia.
To put this in context, a recent study determined that 60% of Cambodia’s population is classified as ‘poor’ or ‘near poor’. And given that 41% of the population are under the age of 18, children’s education is often not high on the priority list.
Your contribution is currently supporting 36 young girls at our boarding home, Mekhala House, to attend primary or secondary school. Each of those girls has a dream to move onto higher education in order to reach their potential and help break the cycle of poverty.
Five of the Mekhala House alumni have grabbed that opportunity with both hands and successfully completed vocational studies or tertiary education; and all are now gainfully employed. A further twelve girls are currently undertaking tertiary courses in various disciplines including nursing, accounting, English Literature and marketing.
Thanks to you, these girls can make a positive contribution to their communities now and into the future.
Your support also allows surrounding community members to participate in free six-month English and computer skills classes provided through our Mekhala House Learning Centre. Every semester, sixty students are provided with this wonderful opportunity to enhance their skills in preparation for life in the workforce.
Unfortunately, however, CKC has become a victim of its own success. The expanding number of beneficiaries, including the Mekhala House alumni now studying at university, have placed a strain on CKC finances. We are now facing a need to trim back costs on our projects which will likely impact on staff and children at Mekhala House and Mekhala Learning Centre.
UNLESS we can raise additional funding, and this is where you can play a part. If you are a current regular giver, then maybe you can increase that monthly contribution. If not, you can sign up here and share the CKC story; amongst your family, friends and colleagues.
Together, we can continue to enable young girls in Cambodia to make a positive contribution to their communities, now and into the future- just as we’ve been doing since 2005.”
A word from our girls: Meet Sivmey
“I’m a student in Grade 11. After finishing Grade 12 I’m going to continue at university. I’m a representative of Mekhala House girls. We’re all so thankful for the donors in Australia who always support us, both with living costs and education.
I want to tell you about Christmas Day in Cambodia. It’s a special time for many people. It’s common to say “Merry Christmas” everywhere you go. We start giving gifts to our friends, teachers, relatives and our loved ones on the 25th of December or sometimes we have a game of exchanging gifts in which we do a lucky draw to pick up the gifts. For me, I exchange with my best friend, and sometimes with my younger brother and I usually do a lucky draw to pick up the presents, both in school and Mekhala House with the girls. For me, I love Christmas Day very much.
I wish you good luck, good health, great family time and success in everything you do, especially your dream goal. Thanks for reading.”
A word from our staff: Meet Sreynin
“On behalf of the staff at Mekhala House, I would like to send this letter to thank you all for your donations and let you know how beneficial your donations are to the girls in Prey Veng.
My name is Ny Sreynin and I’m 24 this year. I am one of the staff who work for Mekhala House which was created in 2005. My duties are the room coordinator and computer teacher. I’ve been working here since 2015. I work with the girls from the rural area around the Prey Veng province. These girls were selected from poor and uneducated families who have no ability to feed their children or send them to study. Some of them have been orphaned and are living with relatives before settling at Mekhala House. At Mekhala House, our policy is to focus on poor and vulnerable girls in Prey Veng. In Cambodia most of the poor and uneducated parents send their children to work as a labourer or in the garment factory to gain income to support their family. Doing this, those children don’t have the opportunity to go to school and get an education. That’s why Mekhala House was created to help those children.
The girls living in Mekhala House rely on donations from generous people in Australia. The girls are able to have a home, clothes and an education that their family and relatives couldn’t have offered.
Already, some of the girls have finished university and become successful in their jobs while some of them are studying vocation. There are 12 girls who are studying at University. This is a wonderful result from both local staff and sponsors in Australia working together.
Finally, on behalf of the staff, I would like to pay much respect and gratitude to your kindness for our girls and I strongly hope that you will be a part of us and stand by us to bring a bright future for Mekhala House’s girls.”
A word from our supporters: Meet Doug
“A wedding in Cambodia is many things. It is not limousines delivering the bride and wedding party. It is not a walk up the aisle or a wedding march. It is not a pastor or priest leading the wedding vows.
It is colour and noise. It is brilliant dresses for the girls. It is very public. And it is very hot.
I had the privilege to be invited to the wedding of Chandy in October in Prey Veng. Chandy was originally from Mekhala House and is now in her second year of University.
We arrived with a big group of Mekhala House girls, past and present, and staff from Mekhala House to be sat at two large round tables festooned with chopsticks, bowls and beer. The wedding and the ‘reception’ all happened in the one place – under a large, long marque outside the bride’s home. I made many new friends!
In rural Cambodia public roads outside your house can be ‘acquired’ for special occasions such as funerals and weddings. No one complains as you never know when you will be the one needing the road next. For Chandy’s wedding, her family had commandeered half of one of the main roads out of Prey Veng – cars and trucks passed by all night with people waving, and smiling and leaning on their horns.
Chandy was radiant in a gorgeous traditional Cambodian dress. The happy couple had many costume changes during the wedding – wearing brilliant reds, purples or a shimmering ivory. All the while the entertainment troupe is belting out the latest and traditional Cambodian songs to keep the crowd entertained.
Everything happened at the same time – dancing, singing, drinking, toasting and eating. Eventually the master of ceremonies got the bride and groom together on the dance floor. Stories were told. The bride and the groom paid their respects to their parents in turn. A huge mound of fruit was ‘cut’ (a substitute for the inexplicable ban of the Hun Sen regime for cutting cakes at weddings). The bouquet was thrown and caught.
People stayed into the night, but it was time for us to go back to the airconditioning of our hotel room. The wedding showed me that the girls through CKC are growing up to live happy lives full of family and community.”
Our recent events:
End of Year Celebration Dinner
Over 80 friends of Cambodian Kids Can celebrated the fantastic year that was at Bopha Devi at our annual Christmas get together. Guests enjoyed a chat with the girls, some silly games and a delicious Cambodian banquet.
Nights like these are what Cambodian Kids Can is all about- working together to enable young Cambodian women to change their future. Extra special thanks to Bopha Devi for hosting us again, to all those who attended and generously contributed to the raffle or threw your loose change in for the games.
Creating Space for Letting Go
Our fabulous Board member Jenna coordinated and facilitated another successful workshop that explored ways in which we can create space to let go. Guests were inspired by Jemima Richards story of post-traumatic growth following the Black Saturday bushfires, Nickie Hanley’s story of recovery from addiction with meditation and yoga. Emma Strembeycki offered a hands on healing practice. Special thanks to Yoke Yoga, PANT Active and the amazing speakers.
Dates for the diary
Join us for an intimate International Women’s Day Dinner
Thursday March 8th
6:00pm for a 6:30pm start
Blossom Thai Restaurant
278 Toorak Road, South Yarra
$70 includes 2 course Thai feast and two glasses of wine
Tickets available here