Dear friends and partners,
The COVID-19 pandemic has started our year with economic hardships in this land of sorrows. Despite the issues revolving around the pandemic our children have returned to school. Mann Tola, is 15 years old and lives with his family in Svay Rieng Province. His family has been in the Tabitha savings programs for 6 years. In that time, they were able to save for small business, raise animals such as pigs, chickens and cows. Tola’s sister and himself got bicycles so that they could go to school.
4 years ago, Tabitha helped to get a school for the village. Before that, school was held in a one room thatch building that was not very good. Each day the sun came through the broken thatch and on rainy days the students couldn’t go to school at all. The room was overcrowded as 634 students studied in that one room. The students found it difficult to learn very much.
With the new school there is now space for everyone. It is cool, clean and dry. Tola told us that he can hear the teacher now and he can learn. I know I am too old to be in grade 4 but I am so excited that I can learn well now, he said.
Vat Ey Chi is a 14-year-old girl living with her family in Sdao Village in Prey Veng province. Vat was not able to start school when she was 6 because there was no room at the thatch house used as a school. She, like many students, studied under a tree but learned very little because of the many distractions surrounding the students. She couldn’t hear the teacher explaining the subjects. Her parents thought she was not very smart because she could not learn well. During the rainy season, there was no school.
Tabitha built a new school for the village children. Now they can hear the teacher and learn many things, she told us. It is the school of my dreams, she said, a school that is cool and clean and I can hear the teacher explain the lessons. My parents have changed their minds and they now think I am smart, she said, then shyly hung her head and said, one day I will be a teacher to.
Tabitha has been so very blessed. We have built 103 schools throughout Cambodia in the past 11 years. We have enabled hundreds of thousands of children to get an education; to dream big dreams, not just through the schools we have built but also by enabling parents to earn enough income to send their children to schools built by the government. We couldn’t have done this without each of you! Watch this video about our schools’ program:
Because of the COVID-1 pandemic, our volunteer house building teams have been unable to come. Tabitha staff miss our teams and many of our families are living in very poor housing in shacks made of thatch and scraps, with living space that is too small to hold everyone sleeping at night. We would like to ask our teams to help us to build houses despite the pandemic. We invite teams to send their funds for houses – $1700 USD per house, and the Tabitha staff and local contractors will build the houses for you this year. We hope you can all return in 2022. We will send you pictures of the finished houses and families. Watch this housebuilding video and remember the joy of building and the joy of our families receiving a house from you.
It has been a difficult time during this pandemic but we are so very grateful to all of you who have donated and enabled us to continue working with our families. I am humbled by your grace, your mercy to these families in Cambodia. I thank my God for each of you.