Dear Caring Friends,
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting with our CFC leadership team in Siem Reap. My visit gave me pause to reflect on the progress we have made towards empowering Cambodians to lead the way for change.
Five years ago we had an in-country leadership team of one--Ung Savy. As CFC has grown, Savy has been responsible for the development of a Cambodian management team that--along with our teacher and principals--are the heart and soul of our Siem Reap operations.
As we begin our eleventh school year, CFC is fortunate to entrust our schools and programs to a stellar in-country team! CFC now employs over twenty caring, competent and professionally trained Cambodians all of whom are working to create positive change through education. These individuals are the champions of our educational, medical and community programs across all CFC campuses. They serve as role models in their profession. Many have been asked to represent their schools at education conferences and as part of Ministry teams. Many have taken the initiative to pursue further professional training both in Siem Reap and abroad.
Our Cambodian leadership also provides invaluable resources to combat unexpected and emergent events. One such example was the team’s proactive response to this past summer’s outbreak of hand foot and mouth disease that sadly took the lives of many young Cambodian children.
CFC’s reaction to the epidemic was fast and thorough. Thanks to the work we have been doing over the past ten years in health and hygiene, and the trust we have built throughout our CFC communities, all of our families survived. And, although all Cambodian schools closed for the summer two weeks early to prevent further spreading of the disease, the Cambodian government allowed CFC campuses to remain open for training and Food for Thought. This speaks volumes to our successful programs and to the confidence that the Cambodian government has in us.
We are now faced with another crisis--the return of seasonal flooding. As I write this letter, two of our schools are already under water. Although we do improve our school grounds each year and prepare as best we can, and although the government also invests in improvements along the river, the rains continue to cause problems and the water continues to rise.
We hope that the worst will be over by the time school resumes in early October. Our team is in place. They will take leadership roles in our communities, provide supplies, and give quality information about health and survival, but they need our help. Donations for food and hygiene supplies are critical to help our team weather the upcoming flood season, and to keep our students and their communities safe. We appreciate any items or funds that can be provided in this time of need.
With heartfelt thanks,
Natalie Bastow, Chief Operating Officer