Monthly Archives: August 2013

Something to be Interpreted

A few days ago, we updated you about our development project in Samrong. We are thrilled about the progress of the school, education rates and child sponsors. However, we realise that just telling you how happy we are, might not be enough to convince you about the effect our programme has had. So, we leave you with not only one, not two, but four student testimonies  from earlier this year.

MoeurpAgn Meurp
My name is Ang Meurp, I was born in Kok Khpos village. I study in grade 10 in Samrong high school. In my family we are seven, 2 brothers and 5 sisters. 3 of them stopped school, and 3 are married. I am the only one who continue studying. When I was younger, as my parents live in Sras Sran Village, far from the school where I was studying, I was living with my grand mother in Kok Khpos . The situation was complicated. In 2008 when I was in grade 7, “Enfant du Mekong” came in my village and they proposed me to support me. I reach the exam : I was so happy and my family also. Because of EDM, I could continue to learn in the school!! It was a wonderful surprise for me : until then, I was thinking I could not reach anything in my life because of my poor family… In 2010 my gran mother died, and I was alone in her house.  Unfortunately, my parents wanted me to stop school and to come back with them… but I love school and I didn’t want to stop! The voulunteer bamboo knew about this situation and proposed me to come in Samrong in the foyer.  This volunteer saved my life! I will never forget her!!! Now I study very well and I’d like to be an accounting.

Kim

San Kim
My name is Sam Kim. I am 16 years old. I study in Grade 8 in Samrong. I have 4 brothers and 2 sisters. They all stopped school, and 3 are married. Two of my eldest brothers have a mental disease. I was born in Srei Ban Village in the south of Phnom Penh. Because of the impossibility to find a job there, all my family moved for Otdar Meancheay Province. They are living near Samrong in my oncle’s house. My parents are poor and they don’t have any field, so they went to Thaïland to find money and to be able to support my family. At the beginning of the year I pass the exam with “Enfant du Mekong”. My family didn’t have enough money to let me continue to go to school. It was a great opportunity for me to continue! I accepted immediately to come in the Foyer in Samrong. I’m very happy to be here, and I think there is no place better than here. I have a lot of new friends here, and I want to be a translator.

KonthearAnn Konthear
I’m 19 years old and I was born on 29 october 1994 at Soeung Village.  My family lives in Kok Mon commune. We are 7 brothers ans sisters in my family. I have an older brother, Khyen, which is disable (physical and mental disease) ; he stays on a wheel chair. Two others brothers are “sourds-muets”. My family is very poor ;  I’ve got a sponsorship since grade 3. I studied in my village school and then I’ve got the opportunity to study in Samrong. I’m very happy because I’ve got here a lot of new friends, very good teachers ; the members staff of “Enfant du Mekong” are very kind with me. It’s a very good place for education and life style. I am very proud to be part in this EDM family. For me all the volunteers who came here are like my eldest brothers and sisters. I’m a very lucky man to be a student in “Enfant du Mékong”. I want to do something great in my life being an engineer or a teacher.

Sombat

Sae Sombat
I’m a 15 years old. I was born in 10 october 1999, in Sombour Village. I’m now in grade 8 in Samrong Secondary school. I’ve 2 brothers and 2 sisters. I’m the oldest. My parents are divorced. My father left from the house; I live with my mother since I’m 8 years old. Then, my mother got married several times. She left my village two years ago to go in Thaïland. There, she works as a builder. These two last years, it’s my grand-mother who took care of my youngest brothers and sisters. But some days, ago, my grand-mother left also the village to go in Thailand. Normally, she will be back after 3 or 4 months. During all this period, my brothers and sisters will be alone to take care of themselves. I pass the exam of “Enfants du Mekong”  when I was 10 years Old. Since then, I’m very happy to be here, for studying, and also for the friends we can make here. Teachers and the volunteer’s are very generous with us. In the future, I want to be a teacher. My favorites subjects are math and physics.

 

The Mulberry Leaf

'The Mulberry Tree' - Van Gogh (1888)

“With time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.”

– Chinese Proverb

‘The Mulberry Tree’ – Van Gogh (1888)

 

 

Take your imagination back to 4500 BCE. The Princess of Asia, Si-Ling-Sh, gracefully sips her tea beneath the Mulberry Tree. Now skip forward to 1300 CE; the silkworm begins to bread in Cambodia.  701 years later, Soiries du Mekong is set up.

Soieries du Mekong  was set up by Enfants du Mekong (the French headquarters of COTM), and creates unique and ethical hand woven silk scarves, using traditional Cambian craftsmanship. Soieries du Mekong has a mission to fight against the rural emigration through training and human and financial support for its artisans over time. They specifically select young women over the age of 18 who meet the criteria of motivation and income. These women are trained in weaving for a six month period, which is followed by another six months of practical training, which is paid under fair conditions, and with a higher wage to the average wage of the village. Once this training cycle is completed, the weavers and artisans become self-employed, with a borrowed fund by the Soieries du Mekong business.

175-categorydse-img02

The label has began selling its upscale fashionable accessories in over 15 stores throughout France, producing new collections twice a year for men, women and children. You can also send the scarves as a business gift, where they will be wrapped up beautifully and individually in tissue paper and a gift box.

Have a look at their online store. You can see more of the collection and learn a bit about the history and the weavers here .

e-femme_AH2012 e-homme_AH2012

Currently, Soieries du Mekong have been selling some of their scarves in the UK for less than two years (click here to have a browse). However, the label are trying to branch out their sales within the UK even further. We’d love to get in touch with anybody who’d like to sell our scarves in their stores and boutiques, so send us an email if you’re interested: info@childrenofthemekong.org 

e-collection_enfant

 

Ches mok pi rean

  “Ches mok pi rean,mean mok pi rork”
“Knowledge comes from learning, wealth from business”
    – Cambodian Saying

all students

We believe that every child deserves the right to an education, this is why our education centre in Samrong, Cambodia, provides education to underprivileged children in North West Cambodia..

DSCN1829

Samrong is the capital city of the Otdar Meanchey province , in North West Cambodia, which remains to be one of the poorest provinces. In 2011, the enrolment at primary school in the province was 36,247 children. This drops dramatically to 6,597 children for lower secondary school level. For enrolment at upper secondary school level, the figure drops lower to 2,863children.

These figures have been horrifically shrinking over the years, so we have stepped in to help them grow, to allow each child access to the full education they deserve. After looking at the problems, we addressed the needs by:

  1. Running a sponsorship programme in Otdar Meanchey province, which supports impoverished families and sends their children to school
  2. Opening an education centre in Samrong (since 2006) offers extra tuition (18h/week) as well as extra-curricular activities
  3. Opening five foster houses, which welcome the more distant students and gives them access to secondary education

DSCN1834This year, whilst receiving a grant to help us support the education centre, most of the funding has come from the support of the British 10K London race runners in July, which we are so grateful for. The amount of improvements made is so overwhelming and we are so pleased. We are even more delighted to tell you that there have been 320 student beneficiaries for 2013. When taking into account of the families of the students, over 1,500 lives have been improved. Among them, 153 students will receive a free tuition and 52 students have been hosted in a foster home.

DSCN1846sponsorship distribution

If you’d like to know more information and some of the technical details about the project, you can learn more here: Samrong education centre. You can also check out our video to experience the daily life of the students in our centre here!

Please get in touch if you’d like to become a sponsor and add to these growing numbers.

Volunteer with us!

We are always looking for passionate people to support our goal: helping children have access to a proper education and to prepare for their future.

There are lots of different ways for you to get involved and make a difference for children in Southeast Asia!

Here are just a few options, but feel free to contact us if you have any further ideas!

volunteeringFundraising – increase the income of the charity to support more children

–  Organise or Take Part in a Fundraising Event
Whatever your interest, there is something you can do to help raise funds for Children of the Mekong!

– Take part in one of our fundraising challenges:  there are opportunities for you in challenges such as the London to Paris Cycle, the Ben Nevis Weekend Trek and many others…

– Alternatively, you could make your own event to raise money. Events can be organized at work, with friends or within the community. Possible ideas include sponsored walks, cake sales, or you may want to host a raffle or a quiz!

Find new sponsors for children. Child sponsorship makes a significant difference in a child’s life. Help spread the word and help us finding new sponsors!

Encourage your company or school to take part in our child sponsorship programme or to fundraise for our development projects, such as building schools, roads or wells.

Write grant applications to Trusts and Foundations, or develop sponsorships with companies.

Communications – help spread the word and increase the visibility of the charity

– Social Media and blogs: You can help spread the word by liking our Facebook page and sharing our posts! Follow us on Twitter and retweet our tweets!

Each of our volunteers is guided by the Operations Manager and primarily works from home, with regular meetings with the Children of the Mekong team.

We also make it a priority to give something back to our volunteers! We have recently launched our Volunteers’ Network. One of the primary purposes of this project is to facilitate the organization of fun social events for our volunteers, which will provide them with opportunities to meet one another, to make new friends, and to network!

Do you want to join our team? Send your CV to Amy : amy@childrenofthemekong.org