Dear Friends of TGF,
2017 has certainly been an interesting year for us here at Temple Garden Foundation, as it has been for anyone with a connection to Cambodia. We have waved goodbye to longstanding staff, and welcomed new members to our small team. We implemented new projects, and handed others over to our community partners – all played out in front of a complex social and political backdrop of local elections, and the build up to parliamentary elections in the summer of 2018.
In January, our long serving Business Manager, San Kagna, moved to Phnom Penh, to follow her dream of becoming a chartered accountant. Kong Savy stepped into the role of Business Manager, following similar roles with Plan International and Friends International. In February, our Programme Manager for Health, Sok Sarath, retired after nine years serving the community of Chi Kraeng. Kim Chea was promoted to Health Programme Manager, and Pheak Reaksmey was hired to support him. Finally, in March we welcomed Brian Vandamme, who joined us initially for a year, to develop our communications and provide management support. After a very successful first year, he will now be with us until March 2019.
This year saw the roll out of our first Farmer Field Schools, as part of our Income Generation (IG) Programme. Based on a model developed in India, these schools offer field based, experiential learning to smallholder farmers. Weekly training sessions taught villagers how to turn their households into productive, diverse smallholder farms, where vegetables were grown, chickens/fish raised, and land appropriately managed – all in an effort improve food security, and supplement incomes. A commercial farm extension to this project assisted farmers in scaling up vegetable production, to supply local markets.
Our Water & Sanitation (WS) Programme began promoting and installing its new Rainwater Harvest Systems (RHS) this year. With a RHS, households can safely store 2,000 litres of water, which can help offset dry season shortages, and is protected against wet season flooding and contamination. Uptake of the system was slow to start with, as is common when introducing new technology to the area. Towards the end of the year, however, orders have increased, and more and more people understand the benefit and stability they can bring to households in an area that regularly suffers from drought and flooding. More than 1,200 people now benefit from improved sustainable clean water access, thanks to this project.
Our Children’s Education Programme (CEP) saw a change in location for 2 of our Summer Schools. This was completed to improve access to education for children living in more remote villages. A further 2 Kindergarten projects were handed over for local authority control and funding. We are now preparing to enter 4 new villages, to implement community managed pre-school classes, enabling even more children to begin their education in the right way.
Our Health Programme (HP) managed to monitor an astounding 97% of children in Chi Kraeng district this year, a total of 4,552 children – twice. Also moving in the right direction is the National Immunization Programme – we are on target to see over 95% of children receive immunization, vitamin supplementation and deworming before their first birthday, thanks to TGF’s support. We continue to support community health volunteers to promote healthy practices and behaviours, and provide community education within Chi Kraeng.
In 2017, we were lucky enough to receive support from two great friends of TGF – Matthew Pocock and Mark Ferguson. They spent a year planning an amazing ultra-run, from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, over 300km in 6 days, and were crazy enough to follow through with it. So far, they have raised a staggering $100,000+ for the work we do, and we can’t thank them enough.
Special thanks goes out to all of our donors this year: Manan, Arisaig, Macquarie, ScanPro, Siam Commercial Bank, Bamboo Travel, the wonderful students, parents and teachers at UWCSEA, as well as all of the individual and family donors who are too numerous to name, but equally appreciated!
Simply put, your support enables us to do what we do. In Chi Kraeng – access to clean water, basic education, adequate health services, and the ability for parents to provide for their families – are everyday challenges. With your help, we have achieved a lot, but much more needs to be done.
Personally, I am really excited to jump into 2018. TGF will reach a real milestone when we celebrate our 10th birthday later in the year. It will be a fantastic opportunity to reflect on the work completed, and the lives changed.
While there are unsure times ahead for Cambodia, TGF is aiming to build on successful projects from 2017, to bring our programming to even more people in Chi Kraeng district. We will implement a new water and sanitation project in local primary schools, hopefully ending the desperate situation in so many rural schools. We plan to scale up our Farmer Field School project, doubling the number of households that can benefit. As an organization, we will be welcoming a new staff member to allow this expansion. As always, we expect a busy but satisfying 2018 for the TGF team.
We hope you’ll stay in touch, and continue to support the work we do, bringing meaningful change to people in rural Cambodia.
On behalf of the entire TGF family, I want to wish you all Happy Holidays, and a Wonderful 2018.
‘Thank you very much for your support’