2014 New Day Grant and Visit to Seng Girls Home and School (SGVTS)

In October, 2014 New Day was delighted make our 5th grant to SGVTS for US$26,000.

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The girls gather outside before the start of the day.

In September, New Day members Dan and Jane Chavasse traveled to Xining in Qinghai Province, China and then up to the Tibetan plateau in Darlag County to visit the girls at SGVTS and spend time with the schools’ founders Tra DockPo and Philip Poh.  You can view a slideshow of their visit here:

New Day has been funding SGVTS since 2008 and this is the first time members have been able to make the extensive trip there and experience life at the school and in the extreme conditions on the plateau. We are grateful to Dan and Jane for committing their time and personal funds to make this happen and delighted it was such a positive experience for them and that they returned so impressed with how SGVTS is transforming the girls’ lives and inspired to do more.

SGVTS now houses and schools 150 girls aged 5-18 years old.  These girls have all been rescued from a life of child labour as yak herders, abusive home situations or orphanhood.  They are cared for, housed and given an education.  With limited prospects on the plateau, SGVTS is constantly looking for ways to get the girls to bigger Chinese centers where they can continue their education and find viable job prospects.  There are around 27 SGVTS girls currently studying in international and high achieving local schools in various cities in China.  SGVTS started a Chinese Opera Troupe with their girls and they are now performing in locations around China and improving these viable vocational skills for the future.

New Day member Jane shows the girls her photos.

New Day member Jane shows the girls her photos.

In September 2014, 14 SGVTS girls were accepted into the Xining Performing Arts School (Xining is the capital of Qinghai province and a 12 hour drive away) for a 3 year program that includes dance and art vocational training along with the standard academic curriculum.  This is an invaluable opportunity for the girls to develop real like vocational skills that will ensure them secure employment when they graduate.  Dan and Jane visited these 14 girls at the school and at their new accommodation.

The 14 new students at the Performing Arts School in Xining in their new apartment.

The 14 new students at the Performing Arts School in Xining in their new apartment.

Based on our members’ feedback and discussions with the SGVTS staff New Day is now funding all school and accommodation costs for these 14 girls for the coming academic year.  We are happy to be able to give the girls a treasured education and real skills that will open up many future opportunities for them.

Our Visit to SGVTS in September 2014 – by Dan and Jane Chavasse

Ten days in Tibet

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Dan and I were looking for something to channel our commitment to help a worthwhile cause. Through our friends and the dedicated Liza and Chris we found this amazing initiative in Tibet, SGVTS. New Day were looking for someone to go and take a look at the work being done and the results of their donations to date. We were to also gain a closer appreciation of what the most pressing needs were going forward.

Sitting with a wine in my hand in the comfort of my flat it seemed a no brainer to travel to Tibet. We had the time and we thought the energy. However, after committing ourselves to the trip I will admit to a growing trepidation. I am a worrier with a finely developed ability of seeing potential disaster in the most mundane of adventures. This was not always the case but ironically this is because I am a Mum. I could imagine all sorts of ways that I was about to orphan my kids in the name of helping some other children. We had been warned of altitude sickness, earthquake potential, Monks self immolating and landslides not to mention the lack of alcohol on the plateau! However as the amazing journey unfolded all these fears (clearly unfounded) peeled away to reveal a truly great land with fascinating people.

We flew to Xian from Hong Kong one morning and then boarded a train to Xining. The journey would be twelve hours overnight. The train station was chaos and Dan and I were the only westerners. After much pointing, pigeon Mandarin and walking to the wrong counter a few times we were safely ensconced in the “ First Class Lounge” to await departure. When it was time to board several smiling but urgent staff ushered us to the train clearly concerned that the big noses would get lost! Armed with pot noodles, biscuits, fruit, coffee, cards , books, Candycrush and the crossword we were off!

The train was great, clean cabin for four people, flat beds all boding well.Yes, we thought, we can do this “roughing it thing”.

Pulling in to Xining, a “small “ provincial town of about two million people you begin to see one of the many paradoxes of this Region. Forests of high-rise apartment blocks line the railway on either side…all-empty. The pace of development here is breath taking as is the rural poverty. The Chinese have brought many good things to the Region such as telecommunication and electricity but not all of their initiatives are needed or welcome. What is clear is that everyone is trying to work with them rather than against them contrary to what may be the perception outside Tibet.

We booked into a hotel and gave ourselves a couple of days to acclimatize to the 2500m . On the morning of day three we were met by the two men behind SGVTS and Loveqtra, DockPo and Philip. DockPo presented us with the traditional Tibetan scarf, the Kata and we all introduced ourselves. The welcome was warm and relaxed and the chemistry between the two men was palpable. Both sported ponytails , one passionately Christian, one solidly Buddhist both 100% committed to helping other people and remarkably laid back. It became evident over the week that you need these qualities to make things happen here and deal with the consequences when they don’t.

They were to take us to the Performing Arts School where they had campaigned tirelessly to obtain entrance for 13…well actually 14 but more of that in a bit. They were clearly nervous and briefed us carefully on the visit as the school authorities had been initially reluctant to allow us in.

We were greated with great ceremony and introduced to the Headmaster,two Deputy Heads ,and the Party Secretary who clearly had overall responsibility. All the conversation was in Chinese and Tibetan and Philip did a gallant job at translating their comments and our questions. The school team are clearly very proud, and rightly so, of this impressive campus. We saw the dance studios with some more established students rehearsing. The dormitories were neat and bright . We also saw the Art rooms and therein lies “ number 14”. As the final admissions formalities were completed back in the Summer , Dockpo just popped a lovely little girl into the process who just happened to be deaf and mute …..into a drama school! He could see a chance for her to develop her nascent skills in painting that had began to surface the year before. No better example exists to show how optimistic, opportunistic and determined Dockpo and Philip are for their girls. She is to be taught how to paint the Buddhist Tanka which will guarantee her a living in the future as few have this skill.

We then went to meet the girls and they greeted Dockpo and Philip like long lost Uncles which is how they address them. After hugs there were questions from both of them like “ are you working hard?”, “are you ok?”, “how’s the food?” “ are you looking out for your sisters” etc and that’s when it hits you. These are children just like ours. They have the same needs, the same ambitions and the same emotions they just had a really rough start. They are not just part of a charity project and you just want, as any Mum or Dad , to do everything you can to meet those needs. It is very clear that Dockpo and Philip are in this for the long term. Even so,  they constantly plan for the independence of the girls and this school plays a very important part in empowering them to that goal.

New Day’s agreement to fund this initiative was sincerely appreciated by DockPo and Philip as they had been turned down by several other channels and had taken a chance by enrolling the girls before they had any confirmation of funding as they would have lost the places.

If this cohort works well the school will open its doors to more students from SGVTS. This has been the pattern when girls have been sent to other educational institutions outside Tibet. They work very hard as they truly appreciate the opportunity that has been afforded to them. A flat has been leased in the town in Xining for these 14 girls and others who may visit. It will be staffed with teachers on weekends. The girls will board at the Performing Arts School all week and then come to this flat and be tutored so that they can catch up on the years of academic study they have missed. In three years time they will sit the Chinese Certificate and together with hard won identity papers arranged by Dockpo and his supporters they have a future in mainstream China.

The following day Philip drove us for nearly 10 hours up to the School in Darlag, the main base where New Day’s funding has been aimed to date. He had only just arrived back from Yushu where he supports Loveqtra’s other work supporting Earthquake victims , so it was very kind to undertake another gruelling journey.

The scenery was awesome in the true sense of that word. Over 10 hours we travelled through a landscape that at once was the Grand Canyon with magenta, sheer rock faces, through scenery akin to the velvet clad Scottish highlands only to turn the corner and believe you were in the dunes of Saudi Arabia and finally the snowy peaks of Nepal. We never bored of looking out of the window. The human element was equally amazing with vehicles of all natures driving on the wrong side of the road straight at you and the occasional jam caused by Yaks being herded across the road. Then you begin to see the little girls and young women. They are the ones out on the bleak hillsides from dawn until dusk driving their animals across the pastures. They then return to the Nomad tents and collect Yak dung to make the evening fires and so on. Their habitat is extremely remote and they just live with immediate family or the family into which they have been sold. There is no education for these Nomads and no other children to play with. One of the children we met later was to tell us that the best thing about the school is that she has friends who have had a similar background and who understand her.

Philip gave us a rich background of history and cultural context as well as his own experience and motivation for the work he has dedicated himself to. He also had a wonderfully eclectic music taste ranging from Hymns to Seventies disco to Rock. All in all a very entertaining ride

After a quick bowl of noodles and a plate of Yak meat in a local restaurant we entered the school. By now it was dark and we were shown to a very comfortable guest room inside the grounds. It even had under floor heating, the only room in the school to offer such luxury. As we settled down for the night we had our first glimpse of the girls. They had moved a cassette player into the courtyard and were spontaneously dancing and singing in the cold drizzle of the evening. Others were just dashing about and there was a lot of laughter and smiling. This was not for our benefit as they did not see us peeking out of our window. For all the physical signs of their infrastructure needs this is a happy place.

We were taking altitude sickness tablets due to the rapid assent from 2500 m to 4500m. We were tired and certainly did not charge about but did not suffer the effects of the altitude too badly .I would describe it as a hangover…so lots of previous practice at handling those symptoms. We had been warned that we would have an early wake up call and so it was. At 6:30 am the girls get up and run around in formation on the basket ball court to warm up and get them selves ready for the day. Then they do some chores such as sweeping and taking out rubbish before lessons start at 8am.The older girls help the little ones get ready. We did see some teeth cleaning but personal hygiene is still a long education process here. The latrines are very basic and unclean and there is only one hose with running water for the whole school, so no hand washing is done and body washing could be monthly. There is a new shower block going in but Dockpo and Philip are keeping their fingers crossed that the water from the boiler will flow when temperatures fall to minus forty degrees over the winter. We have sent up some alcohol hand sanitizer and a simple slide on why hand washing before eating would be good. The overall health of the children is good although there is a constant sound of coughing and running noses are the norm. If one gets sick they all do.

We went to the staff room for some hot milk tea with Dockpo and some of the teachers at breakfast. They rolled barley floor dough into there tea but we stuck to good old cereal bars! We then embarked on a tour of the classrooms. The little ones have two small dark rooms in serious need of renovation and are looked after by one very overworked lady passing between the rooms. There was much giggling and fidgeting as you would expect at this age but they tried really hard to look at their books as we went in. Dockpo and Philip would like them to have more playtime but there are no toys and limited space. They know this is an issue but it is low on their priority list as long as the children are safe and well and are starting to learn.

The older children are in bright new classrooms and they hang attentively to each word the teacher says. They are all wrapped up in layers of clothes against the cold. To add to the teachers’ challenges they may have a class where the age range could be from 12-18 but they sort by ability. Attracting and retaining teachers is by far and away the schools major issue. The remote location, relatively low wages and private status of the school all play a part. Dockpo and Philip work very hard on creating the best environment they can for teachers and have just hired a retired Head Master to raise standards and help coordinate efforts to improve teaching levels in the medium term. We met this wonderfully enthusiastic man who is putting in discipline around standards and this will yield powerful results if they can get the staff.

Dockpo an Philip are totally focused on providing the girls with what they refer to as “ a last chance”. This is ensuring that some of the older children are either given access to secondary education off the plateau to help them integrate and progress in mainstream China where employment opportunities are greater .Others will be equipped with an employable skill. They have a computer room and aim to give the girls basic skills in this field. The school is approved by the local legislature and is providing a level of primary education equal to the state but has the freedom to add to the curriculum, hence English. Later this year they will convert two of there rooms to a sewing room and cookery class . They had a teahouse to train in aspects of basic hospitality but that is temporarily closed due to a government scheme to widen the road which has lead to the shops in this area being shut down for an indefinite period. The Government are also building a six storey Museum to King Gehser right in the middle of the school. Dockpo can’t challenge this. He has, however been promised that the girls can run it when it is finished. That could be another year away. Meanwhile the girls have to tolerate living in a building site. It is these situations that are beyond their control that the two men show such fortitude over.

At 10am the school gathers outside for exercise (prescribed by state) and an assembly where announcements are made.it was our chance to see them all together and appreciate the responsibility the school has taken on. There was much organizing of the little ones into uniform lines by the older girls then they were off into a well rehearsed routine that went like clockwork, quite amazing to watch.

Another highlight of that day was the chance to “ interview “ two of the senior girls. One was their first Graduate who had just returned from a placement in Beijing at a secondary level. She was waiting to go back to another placement and had ambitions of completeing a degree and returning here to teach. The other girl had been in Guanzhou and her English was very good. She was waiting to see if an English focused College could be found for her. Dockpo and Philip had concerns that her work ethic was slipping amidst her teenage development so they had brought her back to make sure she appreciated the advantage being offered to her. Again an example of how these men look carefully at each individual as parents and ensure they are on track.

The chat with these two girls was great. They talked about the warmth and security of the community. They had chosen English names…somewhat of a relief to us as we could not pronounce the Tibetan ones. One was Linda and one Paris! It was Paris who referred to the relief of coming to a place where her orphan status and lack of education when she arrived was nothing unusual in this special sorority. Nomads and Ethnic minorities face significant discrimination. They clearly felt this was home with all that that word represents.

Dockpo and Philip admit that they can’t help everyone brought to them as some just don’t want to work to change their lives. Their pride in the girls that strive to improve themselves and those around them is very obvious. As testament to their success the waiting list for the school stands at 170 girls .You can see that they would like to take in all the girls they can but they know that to maintain the standard of what they offer and by default the value they can only help those they can fit into their facility.

We stayed at the school for three nights. We watched the girls doing their laundry by the hose,then watched the same laundry attempt to dry out on lines strewn over the campus…in the rain. It did dry eventually. We watched them line up patiently for three hotmeals a day. Finally we watched them at play and had fun videoing them and playing the tapes back to them.We sincerely wished we could have spoken their language but we were made very welcome.

Finally Dockpo treated us to an unparalleled tour of the local area gaining access for us to the innermost sanctuaries of the Monasteries. We had tea with the Monks, saw their Sky burial sites and were given a deep insight into the cultural complexities and paradoxes of this Region. Gold plated Temple roofs juxtaposed with tented encampments housing subsistence farmers who may nevertheless drive an SUV ! Little novice Monks playing football with the local Nomadic kids, both groups with very different prospects ahead of them.

Dockpo drove us back to Xining at the end of our tour and the trip was no less exciting than the journey up as the landscape transformed under the different light. We stopped off at the Provincial Capital so that Dockpo could check on the status of his applications for the girls’ ID papers. We met up with Philip back in Xining to have a debrief and left them with the sure knowledge that we will stay in touch with these very special people.

The whole visit was a sensory overload. You look at one level and see insurmountable barriers to providing these children with the warm, clean and safe haven they deserve. You can think of so many things that would transform this environment…running water, better latrines, new dorms, a drying room, a playroom etc. However, it is very clear that there are few quick fixes here and mobilising supplies and services in Tibet is no easy task.  So you see the pragmatic approach taken by the founders who don’t look at the issues through a Westeners eyes. Therefore they look at what is critical to keep the girls going through to independence. They know how far they have come from when Dockpo initially gave up his home to provide a shelter for 30 girls. Both he and Philip have made significant personal sacrifice to realise their ambitions for this vulnerable group. New Day’s support has gone a long way to helping in this and they feel a close connection to the Charity and it’s personal approach driven by Liza and Chris.So in addition to the large scale donations New Day make to specific projects at the school they will always want warm clothes, educational toys , sunscreen, sanitizer , stationary etc and all members can get involved with gathering and sending these materials. We have a postal address so we can send English letters to the Senior girls to give them a connection and some practice. Packages are more tricky and really need to go from Shenzhen but where there’s a will…

We would encourage anyone with the time to make the trip to this amazing place. It requires a bit of stamina, cereal bars, wet wipes and Tupperware (detail on request ) but what a privilege.

Dan and Jane Chavasse.

 

 

 

 

Site Visit to APLE – June 19 and 20, 2014

Community Awareness training session with APLE trainers.

Community Awareness training session with APLE trainers.

On June 19 and 20, New Day members Liza Green and Shannon Rogers spent 2 days with the APLE team in Phnom Penh. It was a great visit and we were impressed, as always, with their commitment and professionalism as well as their resilience in the face of such difficult work.  Below is a bullet point update of recent developments:

– APLE continues continues to have a solid team of committed and long term employees.  They have just received funding to build their organisational capacity and start a care program for their staff.  This is essential to relieve the stress of their challenging work.

– Opened a Battambang office to house investigators. They are finding many pedophiles, especially the ones who groom children and families, are moving to more remote locations. Perpetrators are realizing they need to be more discreet – awareness in Cambodia has greatly improved.

– APLE is in the process of creating an online reporting tool to address online pornography originating in Cambodia. Currently evaluating how to best tackle the legal and investigative issues.  They are collaborating with domestic and international partner organisations to achieve this.

Court officials attitudes towards victims have improved. Even the judges are asking questions in a more child friendly manner. The creation of juvenile procedures and a juvenile court is in draft law now. APLE is very happy with the draft.

 

 

New uniforms for the girls at Kampong Cham

The girls at Kampong Cham Centre in their new uniforms.

During our New Day trip to Phnom Penh on November 25, we visited the Afesip offices to discuss ongoing developments at the Kampong Cham Centre.  The existing New Day/Norton Rose grant will stretch into 2012 to fund an on-site counselor at the Centre.  While we were there we were able to deliver 30 sets of school uniforms donated by the Glenealy ESF School PTA in Hong Kong.  A big thank you to New Day member Scarlett Mattoli for arranging this donation!

New Day Visit to Children’s Surgical Center – November 2011

New Day members with Eric Gonzales of CSC

On November 25, New Day members visited the Children’s Surgical Center in Phnom Penh to learn more about the amazing work they are doing and get an update on the grant that we disbursed earlier this year for their Obstetric Fistula program.  You can read about the visit in the below post from New Day member Shannon Rogers:

The first thing we noticed driving up to the CSC was all the work going on!  The CSC is in the process of adding on to their building in order to double their space.  When complete, there will be 100 beds and space for 8-10 surgeries at a time.  Based on the demands they are seeing – the space will be put to use!

The New Day Grant of $10,000 for Obstetric Fistula Surgeries has not been fully utilized yet.  In total, the CSC has done 15 OF Surgeries, and most of the women have had the problem for over 20 years.  The surgeries can be complex, and only about 50% are successful after one procedure.  Follow-up surgeries are often needed.

The UNFPA recently had a $20,000 grant that was allocated to an organization that addressed the Obstetric Fistula problem in Cambodia.  Thanks to the education/publicity campaign that was funded by New Day, the UNPFA was directed to CSC.  They are now known as the NGO that is addressing this problem, and are the recipients of the grant!!   A team from CSC is now spending a month traveling around the countryside of Cambodia to spread the word about the Obstetric Fistula and Acid Burn programs.  Due to the great shame on the part of the victim and the families, many victims are hidden away and can be difficult to find.  The scope of the problem is still unknown.  Unfortunately, based on a rough estimate of about 5% of women in Cambodia receiving medical attention during pregnancy and delivery, it is likely a large problem.   Dr. Jim stated that the Acid Burn Program also started out this way.  As soon as word gets out and people learn there is a place to go – the victims will start coming.

In addition to the Education/Publicity campaign, Dr. Jim is also hoping to utilize the UN relationship to get some specialty training for the surgeons in the area of Obstetric Fistulas.

New Day Visit to Daughters of Cambodia – November 2011

On November 24, New Day members Chris and Liza Green, Shannon Rogers, Georgie Kirkaldie and Amanda Clarke from Linklaters – our co-funders – visited Daughters in Phnom Penh.  Our visit gave us a chance to review our first grant (you can read the report here: New Day. Daughters Report 2011) as well as discuss the details of our second grant that was disbursed in November (you can read the grant proposal here: Daughters New Day proposal 2011).  Our grant covered all the expenses listed except for the silk screening business and the move to new premises as this is still pending.

A poster made by the Daughters clients on the wall of the Sewing Room

You can read about our visit in this post from New Day member Shannon Rogers:

Daughters had a very busy year working on the quality and efficiency of their Fair Trade Businesses. They are growing and have space for additional clients.

The Cafe:   We had an opportunity to have lunch in the Cafe over the shop.  There was a marked improvement in the service and food quality.  Business has been doing well.

The Spa:  This has also been much busier than expected.  Initially the jewelry business was moved over to the Shop space in order to train the women in both Spa services and Jewelry making – making better use of their time.  However, the Spa has been so busy that there has been little time for Jewelry making.

The Jewelry Business:  To address the demand, additional clients were moved over to the Shop workspace to focus on the Jewelry.  It was determined that the Jewelry line is the biggest seller in the store, so Daughters is working to capitalize on that.

The Daycare: There are over 20 young children in the daycare now, many of which are babies.  The clients working in the Sewing Room also rotate through the daycare, giving them a chance to spend time with the children and learn parenting skills.  Daughters has a relationship with several NGO schools for placement of all the school aged children of clients.

The Men’s Program:  Daughters started a program to work with husband’s of clients who are abusive.  The Social Workers have been going to the clients homes and working with the men on behavioral management techniques.  Behavioral improvements have been seen and the Social Workers would like to continue building on this program.

The Woodworking Program:  A new line of wood carvings has been designed and the clients in the Sons program are being trained in woodworking skills.  They are also responsible for all the coconut buttons and coconut pieces used in the clothing and jewelry lines.

The Sewing Room: Most of the New Day Grant in 2011 went to the Sewing Room.  Training courses were provided to 18 clients and 4 staff, covering pattern cutting, production management, and production techniques.  Socheata, the Sewing Room Manager, stated that the training have dramatically improved the efficiency in the sewing room and the quality of the products.  She also noted that the clients were taking much greater pride in their work – stating that they feel like they are actually part of  a real business, not just an NGO.   The trainings, new equipment purchased with help from New Day, and a new inventory system has really streamlined the business. They are selling through their online catalog and their shop.

Based on such positive feedback on the training programs both from a business perspective and a psychological perspective, we discussed the possibility of further trainings.  Ruth will investigate if there are more advance modules.  Also, the clients who participated in the trainings were literate.  So we discussed ways in which illiterate clients could participate in the future, whether GIPC has a program, or if a buddy system or a pre-training program could work, so that all clients could benefit from the program.

A big challenge discussed for the Sewing Room is the difficulty in sourcing fabric.  Based on the amount purchased, they tend to buy scraps and have a difficult time finding the same fabric again.  This can be a challenge for larger orders and/or managing catalog buyers expectations.

An overall challenge right now is the limitations and poor physical state of the existing workshop.  Ruth is actively looking for a new space in Phnom Penh.  They are hoping to move in the near future and this will increase their expenses.

Daughters is really utilizing volunteers to develop their designs, implement an inventory system, run the daycare, etc.  We met a group of committed volunteers, staff, and clients.

New Day visit to Daughers of Cambodia – May 2011

New Day members in the jewelry workshop at Daughters

In May 2011 a group of New Day members visited Daughters of Cambodia during our trip to Phnom Penh.  Daughters helps girls and women exit the sex trade by providing them with training and fair trade paid jobs in small businesses it runs including jewellery-making, sewing of home ware and accessories and a cafe and spa that it operates.  Following a USD16,040 grant New Day and Linklaters gave Daughters for their sewing operations at the end of 2010 our members were keen to visit the sewing room at the Daughters Centre as well as the Daughters cafe and shop during our May 26-28 Phnom Penh group field trip. The visitor centre comprises a shop, woman’s spa and café.  Daughters employs around 15 girls or “clients” here, some of whom are training as managers and other positions of responsibility. The shop sells beautifully hand-made clothes, fashion accessories and home furnishings produced in the sewing room at the day centre.  Several purchases were made by the group! We also enjoyed a lunch at the café where we were able to sample the food and speak with the manager about the progress the staff is making.  We were given a good overview of the successes and challenges faced in the safe/Shop since its opening in June 2010.  They are still working on staff training to optimize the efficient running of the café.  The food at the cafe was fresh and tasty and the shop on the ground floor is dong very well – more than covering its costs.  Sadly there was insufficient time to road test the spa! All Daughter’s businesses are targeted to become self-sustaining over time, hence reducing donor dependence. Hopefully a new entry in Luxe City Guides: Cambodia and Laos, will give a boost to trade.

At the Daughters Centre we met up with the inspirational Ruth Elliott, Founder and CEO, for an in-depth review of all six businesses.  We were given an important insight into the daily social and cultural issues the NGO faces. Our group had the opportunity to meet some of the clients Daughters employs as we looked around the operation of its businesses, namely sewing , jewelry-making and t-shirt silk screening.  We were struck by the  industrious and very congenial environment. Management is searching for a new building as it was evident the current premises are now too small.   The New Day grant for sewing training and equipment has helped increase efficiency and capacity.  Indeed, as a reflection of the sewing room’s ongoing success, product demand continues to outstrip supply.  Our group discussed a number of possible future funding areas to assist the Daughters operation with Ruth including inventory control management, management systems, employing an accountant, contributing to new building rental and covering the running costs of the creche and medical/counseling services.  We were impressed with what Daughters has achieved so far and were all happy to have been able to contribute to their success.

Caroline Basham – New Day Member

New Day/Norton Rose Site Visit to AFESIP May 2011

In May 2011 New Day members along with a representative from our corporate partner Norton Rose visited the Kampong Cham Centre for the third time.  This year’s visit on May 26/27 was very well timed, corresponding with the April/May launch of the Counseling Services project that we are funding for the year.  The project provides counseling and psychological services and equipment for all the residents at Kampong Cham.  It is jointly run and staffed by AFESIP and Art Therapy providers The Ragamuffin Project who are helping to design the programme and train the counsellors.  AFESIP is rolling out the programme at all 3 of its centres.

Ragamuffin generously hosted an evening for the New Day group at their therapy centre in Phnom Penh.  We met the psychologists and were given an progress update.  Candace Blasé, AFESIP trauma care specialist and clinical supervisor volunteer, began work on 20 April. Full-time psychologist Chum Chantha was hired and began work at Kampong Chan mid June,  and they are close to hiring a full-time clinical co-ordinator. Ragamuffin and AFESIP are reviewing assessment drawings and developing plans for individual care programmes.  Therapy with 5 individuals at the centre has begun. Further training for centre staff on trauma care is planned.

The following day the group travelled to the Kampong Cham centre where Children’s Day celebrations were in full swing.  Much progress is evident and the new building is now functional with computer room, weaving centre, offices, medical room, a library and counseling services room.   We engaged with the children in an art activity, before a tree planting ceremony.  We had brought a suitcase full of books for the library with us, gratefully donated by friends of New Day members.  It was a wonderful visit as always with the residents and staff at Kampong Cham and we were delighted with the progress and development at the Centre and with our New Day-funded project.

For more on the progress of the Counseling Services project see the following link:   2nd Quarter Report 2011

Caroline Basham – New Day

New Day visits Kampong Cham Centre – May 2010

On the 15th of May 2010 New Day members Chris Green, Liza Green, Kylie Macintosh and Jeremy Gibb visited the Kampong Cham Centre outside of Phnom Penh.  The main purpose of the visit was to see the completed 3 storey building that New Day had helped to fund.  Jeremy Gibb was also there as a representative of Norton Rose law firm who were our corporate funding partners on this project. We were all delighted with the building and it was wonderful to see the girls again since our last visit in December 2008.  Please have a look at our report on this project here:

Visit to Kampong Cham May 2010

We look forward to working further with AFESIP to ensure that the building is properly staffed and equipped for the benefit of all 55 girls at the c

A full view of the building.

New Day Site Visit to KALKI – 3rd and 4th of September 2009

New Day members Chris and Liza Green visited KALKI and met with Panjali and her staff.  They visited the Drop-In Center and the new night shelter (‘Girls Center’).   For photos and details of the visit have a look at this slide show: KALKI pres to members Oct 09

You can read the site visit report prepared for Linklaters here: ND Visit to KALKI

New Day visit to the Laos Women's Shelter

chris and Liza with the Shelter staff.

Chris and Liza with the Shelter staff.

In September 2007 New Day founders Chris and Liza Green visited the Laos Women’s Shelter outside Vientiane.  This was the first New Day project and the visit was made before the grant money was paid out.  It was a very important milestone in the history of New Day and the beginning of what has grown into an involved membership funding multiple projects.  Have a look at a quick photo tour and site visit report of this trip here: laos-women_s-shelter-visit-post

New Day visits the AFESIP Kampong Cham Center outside Phnom Penh

The entrance to the Kampong Cham Center

The entrance to the Kampong Cham Center

In December 2009 Kim Cheung and Liza Green visited the Kampong Cham Rehabilitation Center for Girls.  The Center is located in a peaceful setting on the banks of the Mekong river 2 hours drive outside of Phnom Penh.  AFESIP’s Project Co-ordinator, Chhoeurth Sao, was our guide for the day.

We were very happy to meet with the girls and see them busily going about their day.  The Center has very little to offer them from a material point of view but they are cared for by dedicated staff and attend school at the local primary and secondary schools nearby.  They are also provided with English lessons and sewing and weaving training.

Kim in the weaving room with Chhoeurth, the AFESIP Project Co-ordinator.

Kim in the weaving room with Chhoeurth, the AFESIP Project Co-ordinator.

We saw the site where the building we are cofunding will be built later this year.  It was clear that there is a need for additional space for the clinic, office and counselling room.  Every available sheltered space in the two existing buildings is currently being used and there is no privacy for medical examinations or psychological counselling.

The open field where the new building will be constructed.

The open field where the new building will be constructed.

On our return to Hong Kong we presented this construction project to our corporate sponsor,Norton Rose law firm, and they have donated US$15,000 towards the construction costs.  Along with the US$10,000 that we have set aside for the project this means that New Day and Norton Rose will fund half of the new 3 room building that will house a clinic, office and counseling room.  AFESIP has confirmed that the remaining US$25,000 will be funded by the Dutch NGO Stop Kindermisbruik.  Construction will begin in May 2009.  Thank you to Norton Rose for their very generous support!  You can download our presentation to members here kampong-cham-member-presentation-dec-09

For more details you can  download our full report and funding proposal to Norton Rose here: new-day-afesip-report