No, just kidding! We will NOT cross the Alps by bicycle and collect donations. You probably would have liked to hear that now and laughed out loud. At your age, with the luggage? Well, I’m sure we could do it, but we don’t want to. We don’t want to cross the Alps, but we want to collect donations. 3 young students need help. We want to raise funds for them. They are currently educated in a school run by Seed. We have been supporting this organization since our first visit in 2017 with fundraising activities (e.g. Donation Drone).
Update: the sponsorship for all 3 students is made. Thank you all so much.
- Ursula White
- Many thanks to the employees of tarent solutions GmbH, Bonn
These 3 young students only have a chance to go to a “Secondary School” if they find sponsors. Otherwise there will be no secondary school for them. $50 per month per student. $10 of this is for the daily lunch, the rest is for school resources and extra classes to help them learn English. In addition, gasoline is needed (the school is about 45min drive away on a scooter on sandy dirt roads, public transportation is not available).
„I want and I will“
These children and young people need to understand that they can achieve anything, they can become a soccer star, an artist, a doctor or a politician. They need to learn to say “I want and I will”. Our confidence in their abilities will push these children and young people just like everyone else in the world. By supporting them and believing in them, they will make it.
Parents see a better future for their children
Such donations are always sought, after all there are considerably more students, but these 3 are close to my heart and the teachers. They are motivated above average and are sent to school regularly by their parents. Something that is quite unusual when you need the young people to work and help to earn money. I asked the families themselves why they support them so much. I understood that they do not see a better future for themselves, but they do see a better future for their children. These parents help their children to say to themselves: I want and I will!
They can’t do it alone, but we can help
Klaus and I have been sponsors for 2 now young women for years. These two have grown up. They take school seriously. They come to class regularly (!). Everything was on the line, because the father is almost unable to work. He has been suffering from asthma for a year for no apparent reason. But the mother is so tough, she manages everything just so that her daughters can continue to go to school. It’s touching. $30-75 dollars is what many families around here have per month. Being a farmer here, if you have any land at all, is a hell of a risk and I see for myself how some fields just don’t yield enough. The harvests are becoming miserable. Microcredits cannot be paid back. That means selling a piece of land again to survive.
The school of Seed
One week I was there in the school that is supported by Seed. A school built far out in the countryside, about 70km away from Battambang. Electricity there is only from a generator that runs every now and then to charge the car batteries from which some electricity can be used. Internet, yes I know some of you will find that romantic, is a matter of luck. I slept with the three teachers in the room for the kindergarten children. In the evening the mattresses are spread out and the mosquito nets are hung up. In the morning, everything is moved aside again and the tables are set up, the water is scooped out of the bucket for the shower, laundry is washed in the tub.
Yes, kindergarten sounds like a bit of a luxury, but since it exists, young people have a much better start to elementary school. They already learn the first letters of their language, Khmer. It is not uncommon for children not to be able to read and write at all and to try to cheat their way through the school years. The kindergarten children also learn about hygiene. Hands and feet are washed before each lesson (mine too :-)) and they get small, varied and healthy meals made by the teachers themselves (financed by Seed). This is also a prerequisite to be able to learn better. For many of the children there would otherwise be no meal all day.
I suspect that you can’t imagine that. I couldn’t either. I spent a week there “observing” and some of the children really grew on me. When I sat on a bench and they joined me, came closer, I could smell the unwashed hair, the dirty clothes, the poverty. A strange smell. Water still doesn’t come out of the tap here.
You can see many happy pictures from my days there. Of course they are happy. Most of them. Here on the compound they are having their best time.
A friend of mine, who participated in my first photo trip to Cambodia, asked his company Westernacher to donate for the construction of this kindergarten. But not only for the building, but also for the costs of the kindergarten teacher (she comes from the village), her education, the food for the children. And the company still donates a fixed amount every year. What a stroke of luck, what a “gift”.
Klaus wonders about the poverty I describe
And I understand why. Poverty doesn’t mean that you can’t afford a second SUV. But what does poverty mean? I don’t want to put that into facts and figures. Rather, write about the sadness of the families who can’t send their children to school. The families who can’t give their children regular meals. The families that have to break up so that the parents might find a job in Thailand, their children left behind with grandparents or neighbors.
The only way out of this poverty is education.
Poverty means that basic needs, especially for food, water, clothing, housing and health, are not met. Poor people are those who struggle to survive under dire deprivation and in a state of neglect and degradation. A condition that exceeds my imagination and therefore leaves me speechless. I would like to ignore it, to focus on the laughing and playing children. I would love to ignore the dirty clothes, the hunger and fulfill the request for a banana. I can’t.
6 years later, I can see on the ground what has been accomplished with the help of Seed. Andrea, the founder, has created this project in all her spare time and has spent her vacations here in the country for the project. So far she has paid her own expenses. She is thinking about becoming more active. She is good at finding donors and moving the project forward. If she becomes more active, she will also have to draw a small salary from the donations. Helping also costs money. But that is still open at the moment. If you decide to sponsor the project, 100% of your money will go to the students.
Money that is donated for a specific purpose must also be used for that purpose. A note, so that you don’t think that someone is paying out money for a salary.
Why am I advocating for this?
Because I can. Again and again we like to help with little things. In 2017, on our first 4 month trip through Cambodia Klaus had made a trailer in which we pulled a drone through the country. You could buy the footage starting at 5$. The money, we collected 5000$, went into the installation of water filters (BioSandfilter) for about 21 families. These are still working today 🙂
Water is still a major problem. Both for the fields and for daily use. Water from the dirty ponds means diarrhea. It means children can’t go to school and so on and so forth. It often feels like you are powerless with all the difficulties, but I am not, we are not. With the water filters we have made a small contribution, without which many other things would hardly be possible. And it would be the same with your donation.
Donations in exchange for a photo!
We knew that we will get infinite from Cambodia during our trip. And with the photographs and the donations we collected, we were able to give something back. I can offer you in return for your donations that you can ask me for lectures, photos, photo workshops or a tour by bike through Berlin. Or whatever else you can think of. Let me know. However, you would have to wait 1-2 years until I am back (except for the photographs). Another possibility, if you travel to Cambodia, I will gladly organize 1 week at the school in Bech Khlok 🙂
Donations in exchange for a photo
How to become a sponsor
Please contact me. I will tell you how it can work. In any case, it will go directly to an account of Seed and you will always get a donation receipt. We pay the amount annually, but of course you can also transfer it monthly. And, you can withdraw from the program at any time, should things get difficult for you. That would not be nice for the students, but unpredictable things can always happen.
One student can be ensured long-term access to clean water and / or a secondary education, thus enabling a decent life with 50 Euro per month . 50 Euro (per month) corresponds to a weekly contribution of 12.50 Euro. That is roughly two short-distance tickets on the S-Bahn, a magazine and a cappuccino for the morning commute to work. 12.50 euros a week after just one month makes an essential difference to a person’s life. So maybe a donation, in addition to the everyday expenses that each of us has, is a really special one that is good to have.
Donations in general
Any other donations, of course, also helps. For example, it needed a shelter for a cow that will soon have a baby calf. We were able to raise this $100 and immediately the material was purchased and the construction started. Some students need shoes or a new school backpack or just a new t-shirt.
And of course I know that many of you are already donating in one way or another and that life and the associated costs are anything but secure at the moment, but I still want to leave no stone unturned.
A few facts about Seed
Why I like this small organization so much is that it does “sustainable” work. If a school building is built, then there must also be trained teachers, a toilet, access to clean water and much more.
The construction of a kindergarten became necessary because students often could not attend classes to take care of their little brothers and sisters. Kindergarten children needed something to eat in order to participate meaningfully with full attention in the small lessons and so on.
The teachers come from the village or nearby, may have been students in the school themselves, and Heang, who pulls the strings on site, knows the village and its inhabitants personally. He knows what is needed most urgently where. The school building alone does not make anything better for the people in these remote places.
And the government in Cambodia?
This government often makes it worse for people who had already built a small existence. In 2023, 10,000 families will have to leave the land around Angkor Wat. Their home, their sources of income. In return, they get a “house” in a remote place and $250. That is certainly sustainable. Poor families with a hopeless future. There are no schools there, no infrastructure. Just tin huts that become baking ovens under the burning sun. Hardly to use.
Tourism was practically the only source of income for the people living near the 400 square kilometer temple complex. And Cambodia is more than the ancient stones of Angkor. I have already written about this in the post “The old stones of Angkor”.
And Soon, a good friend, he is sad. He has no hope for a better time as long as politics does not allow democracy. And still, the only hope is his children and all the young people who might fight back one day because they know how. Yes, with education you raise independent thinking people.
A sponsor has been found for John, one of the 3 students for whom sponsors are being sought.
Something to smile about. Donations for new bikes also arrive 🙂