Giving Orphans Education program in Siem Reap, Cambodia is one of our long-term projects. For the last two and a half years we have been sending 7 or 8 students at a time to The Florida International School of Siem Reap. Lika, the main point of contact for us at the school, has become a very reliable liaison between FSP and the school. Even a trusting friend.
In June, FSP received report cards for the students. Everyone was doing well except Ly Sunder. His attendance was low and grades were about C to C- average. Concerned, we asked Lika about his situation and she explained that Ly had a lot of sick days and had a hard time keeping up with the school curriculum. She said she would keep an eye on him and speak with him to see how we could help him improve. When an FSP supporter from Ecuador met with Ly a month prior, she said that she sensed his lack of commitment. In September, Ly’s grades and attendance were even worse. Tim discussed the situation at the FSP Board of Directors’ quarterly meeting, and we agreed to try to get the school to tighten him up as much as possible and let Ly know that if he doesn’t come around we would have to cut his sponsorship.
In December, we received his report card for Sept-Nov, and the attendance and grades were even worse than before. The Board, along with Lika the school contact, had many long discussions about how to proceed. The school’s suggestion was to drop him from the program and give our efforts to a more willing candidate. They said there are many poor children who would give anything to come to The Florida International School of Siem Reap.
The FSP Board members weren’t so quick to give up on him though. After all it is troubled candidates like Ly that we want to try to save. Ly’s situation is exactly why we are in this business- to help the truly disadvantaged. He was skipping school to work on the streets and play soccer. FSP tried to wrap our heads around it and come up with a solution. Unfortunately we don’t have babysitters and truancy officers in Siem Reap like we grew up with here in the States to make sure Ly goes to school and does his homework. With a candidate more available and willing to go to school with our help, we thought we should give her a chance.
In the end we decided it’s best that we listen to what the locals suggested, and trust them… after all, the school officials were basically saying, “Don’t give us your money. And if you want to give us your money, give it for a child that is going to appreciate the opportunity.” We saw it as a rather noble position. Florida International School is a good school and for 2.5 years, we have been doing a lot of good work in collaboration with them.
FSP decided it’s best to not send tuition for Ly in 2016 at this point. We have agreed to enroll the female candidate that they suggested to replace Ly. We have an FSP supporter in Siem Reap this week meeting the candidate and interviewing her. She says that the candidate is an excellent fit for the FSP Sponsorship program. Our supporter this week also met with Ly Sunder to let him know that Tim and FSP still cares very much about him and would like to help him when he is more willing to go to school. The FSP representative tried to get some explanations from him but due to a large language barrier, she didn’t feel like she was getting the truth of his situation. Indi, our representative, still got the point across to him that he can ask for are help if and when he is ready.
A board member and I will be in Cambodia this June to visit the school. At that time we hope to meet Ly Sunder and see how he is going without our sponsorship. Maybe by then he will have learned a bit of a lesson and have new found willingness for his future. In the mean time, we are so proud of the 7 students we have now. The first six students have been with us for an average of 2 years each and they all average A’s and B’s. All of them except one has improved in their English speaking in great strides. The one who is struggling was addressed and given the opportunity to attend more English classes… a couple extra dollars goes a very long way in Cambodia.
FSP partnered up with local nonprofit organization Culture, Education and Psychology for Infants and Adolescents (CEPIA). They focus on the communities of Guanacaste and at the time were supporting 16 different families. However, over 120 families in the area are in need of help.
Our goal is to raise enough money to add 17 different families to the program. $50 is enough to clothe, feed, and educate an entire family for a month, or $600 for a year. Downtown eCommerce is generously kicking off the drive by pledging 30% of their monthly fees to the fund. Thanks Downtown eCommerce and Patrick for kickstarting this mission! You can read a detailed post here.
Thanks guys for your continued support, FSP and CEPIA wish you a happy holidays!
Like most things with FSP, everything I am doing now and have done before was brought to me from people who want to help, do good deeds, or change their perspective through an experience with FSP. In this case, Patrick T. came to me in January right before he flew to India for work. He was in a very troubled state… I told him about FSP and Latha in Bangalore. We quickly changed the direction of his trip from being about him and his business to being about him and the real business- helping others and finding a greater connection to his heart and soul.
Disclaimer: This story I’m about to tell wasn’t inspired by the Book/Movie …Eat, Pray, Love. I never heard of the book until I moved to Bali. It’s just a coincidence that I live in Bali and went to India. If anything I learned how to Pray in Bali and found love in India 🙂
To the story….About 2 years ago I left (more like given the boot) a 9 marriage. That experience rocked me to the core. In my 35 short years of life I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced a more dark period, with exception of the death of my father. I thought all had been lost. I was so full of anger, resentment, jealousy, self justification, and pride. I would not let go of what was happening. I had to fix it some how some way.
I tried everything I possibly could to quell the insanity that was running around in my head as result of our separation. I tried it all, prayer, no prayer, talking to everyone, isolating, chain smoking cigarettes, exercising fanatically, and surfing. None of it was working. From sun up to sun down I was constantly obsessing over our past and our future, never present for the moment. The tape recorder WOULD NOT STOP. It was impossible for me to the see the real problem with what happened between us. That problem? ME.
This Christmas Eve, FSP teamed up with local café owner Christian to spread the Christmas cheer to rural villages in Jembrana.
If your are planning to make some end of year donations to improve your tax situation for 2014, we would be very grateful, if you consider Feed Starving People Inc. Over the last two years, we have been helping thousands of poor people throughout Southeast Asia with your help! In November 2014 our tax exempt status was officially approved by the IRS. Thus, we have been and will be an official tax exempt 501c3 nonprofit organization.
For 2015 we are having some awesome new ideas and projects brewing, which we will give you more information about right on this blog very soon. Be part of this big plans for 2015 and the work we are doing with your donation! You can easily donate and will automatically receive a receipt for your donations via paypal or using credit card.
Thanks so much for everyone’s support thus far and helping this awesome cause become what it is today.
We are happy to launch Feed Starving People’s new website. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the more picture focused design that we believe is a great way to transport our work to you.
You’ll see major updates of the site within the next weeks as we are still working hard behind the scenes to add all the missions that Feed Starving People has run in the last years to the new site. Please refer to our 2013 review post so long. And feels free to come back from time to time, especially for our 2014 review, that we’ll post in January 2015.
Thanks for your continuous support
– The Feed Starving People’s web team
Feed Starving People Inc. has received its approval by the IRS as an official tax exempt organization!