Happy new year!
Children of Cambodia NGO wants to thank you for the past year and brings warms greetings from Phnom Penh.
Our Shelter Program is coming to its close as the role of the organisation in evaluating and reporting to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is ending in March 2009.
The program has been successful and our shelter has grown into two shelters in the hands of the successors of the program.
Also other long-term shelters for the victims of child prostitution/human trade have been opened in the capital of Cambodia. The shelters are based on our model. We are naturally very pleased about the results of our work.
It is good to end the program with good results. The girls of our shelters are well. From all the girls, the two youngest ones, Leap and Nak have succeeded the best in their studies. Last year they moved to eight grade in the private school. Both are aiming for university.
Two of our oldest girls, Lin and Neth, have succeeded well in work life. Recently they moved out of the shelter to live on their own. Now they are supporting themselves with their salaries. At the end of December when we closed the office and the appartment for the volunteers, we had a change to donate most of the furniture to the girls who have left the shelter. Both of the girls got for example wardrobes, shelves, sheets and dishes and many other things.
Despite all the success we have not had the change to inform our sponsors enough about the individual life courses of the victims. Unfortunately we have not had resources either to reply to all emails, which we have got plenty. We are very sorry about these shortages and hope that you don't think that we have overlooked your crucial help. We Finns work in these programs in our freetime and during the past eight years there has always been a lot of work to do.
Warm thanks for all of you who have continued to support our small NGO regardless of these shortages. We value your patience and commitment as sponsors.
A year ago we moved our long lasted orphanage project from Nutrition Center to "Love House", an orphanage kept by local organisation called CPCDO. With CPCDO we agreed to try the co-operation for one year (2008). We have decided to end the project in Love House from the beginning of this year. We set some reguirements for the co-operation, which unfortunately were not met during the year. For example we failed to get knowledge about the background of the children coming to the orphanage. At the beginning we agreed that our volunteers can participate the trips to provinces which are made in order to collect the children. In that way the whole process would have been transparent for us. Our repeated requests were never answered regardless of the fact that in the meetings we, the official representatives, were assured that these trips would come true. In addition, strong corruption has hindered our work. Following our requests for transparency, the management of the orphanage informed our vonlunteers informally about closing our volunteer program in Love House. Officially we never got any answers to our questions.
After all this, part of our volunteers, for example fysiotherapist Jonna Noppari moved back from Love House to Nutrition Center to help the children most of whom are handicapped. Anna-Mari Voutilainen who ended up staying for almost a year instead of planned 6 months, stayed in Love House and worked with the children. She ended her period in December.
We want to thank all the sponsors who have made the project possible. Many thanks also to Finnish Volunteer Program Etvo (Kepa) for the co-operation during the past years.
Children of Cambodia NGO will start again later with new projects. Now it is time to take a break.
Pihla Huhtala and Tuomo Holi