Earlier I had mentioned about the little “purple baby” called Srey Ya, laying on a mat on the hospital floor and whom we had been asked to accept into our care. A lot of people have since been asking after her. So, the good news is that we have now been granted permanent guardianship of her! So happy and relieved about that!
The bad news – we took her directly to a skin specialist and he knew what her condition was immediately although he has only seen one case of it before here in Cambodia. She has Epidermolysis bullosa (EB)
What is Epidermolysis bullosa?
“Epidermolysis bullosa is a group of rare diseases that cause the skin to blister. The blisters may appear in response to minor injury, heat, or friction from rubbing, scratching or adhesive tape. In severe cases, the blisters may occur inside the body, such as the lining of the mouth or intestines.
Most types of epidermolysis bullosa are inherited. Epidermolysis bullosa has no cure, though mild forms may improve with age. Treatment focuses on addressing the symptoms — such as infection and itching — and preventing pain and wounds. Severe forms may cause serious complications and can be fatal”.
In Sre Ya’s case a biopsy has been taken and will take two weeks to come back with results. The results should give us a clue as to the likely severity and future prognosis. Right now we know that she has experienced blistering all over her body, inside her mouth and oesophagus.
The first appointment in the clinic took 2 nurses over 5 hours, cleaning her and applying special dressings and bandages. Her sores/wounds were deeply infected and she had a temperature from the infection so she was immediately prescribed antibiotics and paracetamols. Srey Ya is now a lot more comfortable and is getting a lot of TLC from us, our KV nurse (temporarily) and a nanny. We are not posting any photos until she is in a brighter condition but we will endeavour to keep you updated here.
Sunny & Karen
A wall for Kais Village!
Past champions – A new tuk-tuk for Kais Village!
A new Tuk Tuk for Kais Village!
Huge thanks to “Reaching Cambodia” and the community in Malta who were involved in the “70’s and 80’s” fundraiser evening. In August we received the US$1,980 proceeds – and – thanks to you, we have a much needed new tuk-tuk in which to take the children to school!
Blessings…. Sunny & Karen
Ready For School
A grey and rainy week in Kampot but at least those kids who made it in to our Kampot Community Centre had something to brighten their day. New school bags stuffed with goodies, just in time for the start of the new school year!
We give out over 400 filled backpacks to our students each school year so we are very grateful to all our wonderful partner schools i.e. World Challenge schools, Shalom Catholic College, Bundaberg, and King George V School who collect and donate these bags for us every year. Also thanks to The Cambodian Children’s Charity – CamKids who donate the school bags for the students at our Romdiul Thmei Rural School . Thank you too to all the individual families who donate bags where they can.
Due to you all, the kiddies can start school next month with the essentials!
Ah Khun…..!! Sunny & Karen
Returning after three years to Kai’s.
While on summer holiday from my studies in the UK, in 2010 I spent six weeks working with my sister, Charlie, at Kai’s towards the end of her gap year stay. I enjoyed it so much I returned the following summer on my own to do another six weeks. Those three months had a lasting impact on my life. For those of you who have been, you understand how hard it is to leave. The smiles, the laughter, the cheekiness of the children and the tantrums all create memories and an image of a place which is giving these children a second chance.
The experience had such an impact on me it shaped my future decisions regarding my career. I am a trained barrister and was Called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2013 and since then I have been focused on my legal career. In order to become a barrister I needed to gain more experience in law.
Where does Kai’s come in? There are various international tribunals dealing with major breaches of criminal law which accept interns for short periods of time. When looking at my next step I considered my options. There was no question for me on which tribunal to ultimately pick. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) dealing with the crimes of Khmer Rouge. The decision was simple. I could go back to a country I had fallen in love with. I could be close to the children I had come to care about. It didn’t matter that it had been three years since I had last seen them. Many of the children I knew as babies were now toddlers. To be able to see these children grow up, and help them however I could was more than enough for me to choose Cambodia as my internship host country. Of course the work itself was going to be interesting. The Khmer Rouge was a terrible time in Cambodian history and to assist the country I cared about in bringing those most responsible for the crimes to justice was incentive enough.
My first trip back:
Two weeks into my internship in April, it was Khmer New Year and I was given a five day weekend. I could have chosen to go to the beach with my fellow interns and new found friends; however it was so important to me to go back to Kai’s as soon as I could. The moment I stepped off my bus and made my way down the dusty road to the gates, a familiar feeling hit me. It felt like home. It felt like no time had passed. I met the new manager and immediately went to see the volunteers and the children that were still awake. The greeting I received from children and Nannies alike reminded me why I love Kai’s so much. The genuine warmth and care you get from everyone living there is enough for you to leave a little bit of your heart there each time.
Over the next few days I spent time getting to know the children again. As I said the babies were now toddlers, each with their own personalities. Alisa, a cheeky devil now who likes to think she runs the place. Serevuth and Sounthy both shy but incredibly affectionate. Panya, always hanging back from the group but opens up if you take time to have one-on-one with him. I was introduced to the babies that Kai’s has currently, a blind boy and a girl with a heart condition. Both were incredibly small and fragile but were very responsive to being held and played with.
I did some work clearing the field of rubbish so the children could play and helping wheel the rubbish bins (made of recycled tyres) to the back of the farm. The children loved the wheelbarrows. I had many helpers that day. Help in the very loose sense of the word. More of an incumbency but the children enjoyed it so I allowed them to occasionally hitch a ride.
My five days were over as quickly as they had begun. I had sunburn, reformed relationships with many of the children, spoken in very basic and broken Khmer to the nannies about how “skinny” I am now and reaffirmed why I chose Cambodia. It was never really a question. The children make it worthwhile. Even if they do constantly sing “Let it go” from Disney’s Frozen.
It has also played a major role in my decision to extend my internship from three months to six. I have been able to take some friends down to meet the kids and have been to visit on three or four occasions in the past few months. It is not as much as I would like due to my weekends usually being busy, but I will definitely be going down more often over the course of the next two months and will spend my final two weeks in Cambodia at Kai’s.
I live and work in Phnom Penh and have been here for almost four months. I currently work in the Supreme Court at the Khmer Rouge tribunal. For those who don’t know; the Khmer Rouge was a period in the 70s where a political party instigated mass transfers of the population to worksites and cooperatives, killing many people for reasons such as their ethnicity, religion, intelligence and suspected contacts. Many were tortured in order to get names of others were thought to be KGB or CIA. The infamous names “S21” and the “killing fields” were major players in the aims of those responsible. The purpose of the Court is to prosecute those ‘most responsible’ for those crimes. Namely those in political power who created and instigated the policies which caused the resulting deaths. The Supreme Court deals with appeals from the Trial Chamber (who hear the trial and make a decision on guilt) and have the ultimate decision on issues of law, such as legality of the charges being heard. I assist the judges in their research surrounding pertinent issues and also in drafting various documents. I will be here for a total of 6 months.
My life in Phnom Penh:
When you live in Phnom Penh you soon realise that it is cheaper to eat out most of the time, rather than buy groceries. Food here can be incredibly cheap. If you buy street food you are averaging around a dollar or two for a meal. If you eat at local restaurants, not much more. Of course there are some higher end restaurants which we frequent. In Cambodia, tuk tuk’s make it incredibly easy to get around so we are never restricted to one type of place to eat. There are bars on every street and every other building is a restaurant. The amazing thing about being thrown into this lifestyle with a group of other people of a similar age is that you quickly form close friendships. We were forced together by circumstance and immediately became joined at the hip, spending our working hours at court together and then meeting every night for dinner, drinks, sport (basketball at Olympic stadium), to play pool and to have weekend trips away together.
One of the reasons I have only managed to get down to Kais four times is because of these friendships. We have something planned almost every weekend which makes it incredibly difficult to find time to myself. With trips to Kampot and Kep, Mondulkiri, Koh Rong island, Kuala Lumpur and many more, we are really making the most of what Cambodia – and SEA – has to offer.
If you would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
KAIS CHAMPIONS April/May 2014
It's been a busy few months for our supporters and very hard to name just one champion when so many people have contributed a lot of their time and energy. So this month we would like to mention several stars.
Stephanie , Angelos, Tasos & Lia
Big thanks to the Mavromatidis family who generously donated US$1,000 for the children in memory of Stephanie's beloved mother. We are extremely for your on-going support and hope to see you in Cambodia soon!
Our lovely Volunteers have made a huge difference. They have all worked tireless as a team to help mentor and teach English to the Kais children and at the local State school , to run the kindergarten and playtime sessions, to educate the nannies, to act as extra pairs of hand to help with endless cleaning, to support our new staff... the list is endless!
Kath, one of our April volunteers has just agreed to be a child sponsor for one of our children! Thank you very much for all your help, it is greatly appreciated!
Katrina, one of our May volunteers, conducted a fund raiser before she came to work with us. She raised US$700 and has kindly donated this towards our food security programme. We will be purchasing "laying" chickens to provide eggs, (much needed protein) in future, to our Kais Village Community kitchens.
FCC TRUSTEES VISIT
We were back at Kais in February (that is Janice and Andrew from the UK and Jacqui from Singapore) after being away for almost two years and we were thrilled to see the changes.
We enjoyed getting around in the new tuk tuk (many thanks to our Maltese friends for this), used the new office and meeting area and were so pleased to see the new wall, drainage and gate – especially Jacqui who lead the ‘Buck a Brick’ campaign fund raiser for the wall.
But above all the children were on great form and it is amazing how they remembered us after so long and spotted that this time we weren’t joined by Jacqui’s husband Geoff – who they all missed.
This time we had no specific projects but were able to spend more time with the children, the nannies and appreciate the operation. We also had a chance to review the donations, sort them and prioritise what is needed. Whilst people have very kindly given donations of complan for baby Alisa, it’s the day to day expenses for the orphanage that prove harder to cover.
Whilst their we met three POD volunteers – Geoff (Aus) who was helping in setting up the Kirirom mart which Karen and Sunny have privately set up to help subsidise Kais. Lyn (UK) was giving a Cumbrian touch to cooking lessons and working with Andy (UK) in organising the teaching resources and their endless energy in running daily classes and working with the children with special needs
Finally as ever it’s is always good to spend time with Karen and Sunny, thank them in person for all their hard work and commitment to the children and hear what is new and their concerns – with so many other demands on donors today, funds are stretched so many thanks to all for their continued support and please watch out for future campaigns as well as supporting the rice and milk funds if you are possibly able to.
Masculinity and the Crisis in Cambodian Child Rape
A thought provoking article highlighting some key issues on the male role in Cambodia's evolving society. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gina-reisswilchins/masculinity-and-the-cambodia_b_4920525.html
Thank you “Reaching Cambodia”
Much to their delight and surprise the children at Kais Village Community received a wonderful Christmas present this year. Our new partner charity in Malta, “Reaching Cambodia” managed to do some last moment fund raising and collected enough money from their donors for a generous 42 inch. brand new, flat screen television!
This is the first time in over a year the toddlers in the nursery have been able to watch television and all at KaisKids are most grateful. We already have some new phonics dvd’s and our current volunteers added some cartoons to the collection. In fact the TV is being enjoyed by many as the older children and nannies frequently gate-crash. We have a coupe of new Pixar movies and some BBC living planet style documentary’s for the older children who gather!
The first few times the children watched there was pandemonium and over excitement . Now the toddlers sit silently, fascinated by the new sights and sounds. As they take it all in, a rare hour of silence descends.
Thank you so much “Reaching Cambodia”. You have made a big difference!
KAIS CHAMPIONS – JUNE 2013
This month’s Champion is the UK charity Camkids.
Camkids generously donated $800 towards the medical care and other expenses for Mul Chan at our Kampot Outreach Centre. Sadly Mul Chan didn’t pull through and he passed away in hospital a few weeks ago. But thanks to Camkids we were able to keep him comfortable and offer him the best possible expert care to the end. In addition the Camkids’ sponsor is continuing to support Mul Chan’s elderly grandmother as she is now all alone and also ill herself.
We would like to reiterate our sincere thanks to Camkids for their ongoing support throughout these difficult times.