Thursday, 10 December 2009

New CamKids Newsletter

Our latest Newsletter is now available in a slightly different format than usual. As 2 of our Trustees and their family are currently living (self-funded) in Cambodia for a year, we thought that you might like to hear what we are doing, directly from them. We have also taken this opportunity of providing a summary of what we have achieved in our first 3 years and some of our plans for the future.

The Newsletter also includes an update on our Education projects, including short reports from two of our supporters who were recently in Cambodia.

To access the Newsletter, please click Here or Contact Us and we will send you a copy by e-mail. If you sign up to our Newsletter Here, you will receive your copy by e-mail every 6 months (your details will not be used for commercial or any other purpose).

Thank you once again to all of our donors and supporters, without whom none of this would have been possible. Finally, we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

With Best Wishes
The CamKids Trustees

Monday, 30 November 2009

New Education Projects - A Personal View

The following report was received from a great supporter of CamKids from Australia, Andrew Gait, giving a a personal insight into two new education initiatives, being funded by CamKids:

My first involvement with CamKids was to take a Hills Hoist (washing line) to the Kais Village Orphanage and install it there. My son Nick lives in Sihnoukville and I’d asked the sister of one of the CamKids Trustees if there was anything I could take out to Cambodia for the charity, when I visited him in Cambodia. While I was at Kais I helped out in the orphanage school. It felt really good so I made the decision to get involved. It was that easy.

Since then I’ve been back to Cambodia several times to visit Nick and his new family. Every time I bring things over from Australia for the charity and I’ve spent time teaching at the Kais Orphanage and at the Rumdoul Thmei School, funded by CamKids.

On my last visit Dom and Benita Sharpe, who work tirelessly for CamKids, introduced me to Drew McDowell and I became involved, along with some with friends and colleagues in Tasmania, with financially supporting the Boeung Kok School and Community Centre project in Lakeside Phonm Penh. In a matter of weeks what was once an almost derelict building had been transformed into a vibrant school and community centre. The building was repainted, lights and fans fitted and student desks and a whiteboard installed. Almost 200 students attend the school daily and the building is being used constantly by the local community for a myriad of purposes. Every cent we send to CamKids goes directly into the school and centre and we are all kept up to date with what is happening by emails and photos supplied by CamKids and Drew.

I was also fortunate to be able to spend time working with teachers in the Takeo area, where CamKids supports a number of village schools. At the moment colleagues in Tasmania and myself are putting together an English As A Second Language resource for Khmer teachers. I hope to present this resource to the teachers in March next year. I will be working closely with the local CamKids Educational Co-ordinator (Ken) in translating and presenting the resource for teachers in the area.

I have felt privileged to have been allowed to play a small part in expanding the skills of the Cambodian educators and helping to developing their infrastructures with CamKids. It’s a small thing to do and I would recommend to anyone else visiting Cambodia to try it, the rewards are huge.

Andrew Gait, CamKids Supporter

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Angkor Wat Cycle and Run by CamKids Trustees

Two of our trustees, Dom & Benita, are taking on the Angkor Wat challenge in aid of CamKids. They moved to Cambodia for a year with their 2 children three months ago. They are self funding their trip and are on a very tight budget so when they mentioned the idea to their great friend and CamKids Patron, Al Murray, he immediately said he would pay their costs for entering the race, including the purchase of a bike.

Without his help they would not be able to do it. Please repay his faith in them and their faith in helping Cambodian children by donating what you can. Their children, Jak and Theavy, are both doing the 3km fun run. Benita is doing the 10km run, having never done any running in her life.
Dom is cycling 80km on December 5th and running the half marathon on the following day!

Benita and Dom DO NOT like running but they really want to raise some money for CamKids' projects in Camboda and put your money directly into the hands of those who need it most. That may be in the form of food, education or medicines. You tell us how much we have and we will show you exactly what we can do with it to enhance children's lives.

  • Change One Life

  • Change The World
To support Dom & Benita, please go to their Justgiving page: Thank You.

STOP PRESS - 8/12/09:
Dom, Benita and their children completed the grueling weekend of sponsored events in Siem Reap at the weekend. Dom cycled 80 km on Saturday in 2 hours 40 mins, followed by a 21 km run on Sunday in 1 hour and 52 minutes. Benita ran 10 km in 1 hour 1½ minutes, whilst their 10 year old son, Jakamo, ran 3km in 16 minutes and their 6 year old daughter, Theavy, ran 3km in 27 minutes – a fantastic effort all round. So far they have raised nearly £1,500 from the event, which will help fund one of our many new projects. If you would like to show your support to the Sharpes and CamKids, please make a donation on their JustGiving fundraising page:

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

New Education Project in Takeo

CamKids' latest education project involves the creation of a chain of schools in the rural villages surrounding Takeo town, which is being established by New Futures Organisation ("NFO"), to teach English to the children. The area around Takeo is overwhelmingly an agricultural region with remote and often quite poor villages scattered among the rice fields. English language ability is of increasing importance in Cambodia, where the tourism and service sectors are growing the fastest and good written and spoken English will be a great advantage when these children are looking for employment.

NFO has recently opened its sixth rural school and work is ongoing to expand the project further into other villages. The whole cost of the project is being funded by CamKids, from public donations and CamKids has initially committed to fund the cost of 15 teachers in 2009, with further expansion expected in 2010.

Why is there a need for rural schools?
Many of the children who live in these villages are unable to attend regular school. Although education in Cambodia is free, it is compulsory for parents to buy uniforms and books, which are often beyond the financial means of rural farming families. In addition, the main schools for the area are located in Takeo town, which is several miles away from the children's home villages, down unpaved dirt roads which can become virtually impassable during the rainy season.

Finally, a combination of necessity and local custom often dictates that children of all ages are required to help out on the family farm, sowing and harvesting rice or looking after livestock. Again, this prevents them from attending regular school classes.

What does the rural schools project provide?
NFO funds teachers - often public school teachers or education students from local universities - to go out into the communities where access to education is limited and provide lessons to children and young people there. The lessons are held in private premises in the village which are loaned or rented to the organisation, and following discussions with parents and village leaders, classes are scheduled for times which are suitable for the children to attend - often at lunchtime, late afternoon or in the evening, when the agricultural work is finished. A typical rural school has anything from 70 to 150 students enrolled, attending whichever class is most convenient for them.

NFO provides exercise books and pencils, and uniforms are not required. In addition to the regular Khmer teachers, NFO volunteers visit the schools to provide students with the opportunity to listen to and talk with a native speaker, which helps to develop both their pronunciation skills and their cultural awareness.

What are the rural schools like?
The schools' locations and premises vary from village to village. At one school, classes are held in a fisherman's hut overlooking a lake. Others take place in village centres and in one village where children study in a cow shed beneath the teacher's house! The common theme which unites all the schools is the eagerness of the children to learn - every class is packed with young people, carefully repeating and noting down the day's lesson taught by a committed and motivated teacher. The rural schools project has so far proven a great success and is bringing education to children who would otherwise miss out on the opportunity.

CamKids is also funding the cost of an education administrator for the project. Their job will be to coordinate teaching, distribute materials to the teachers and students and control finances. Recently, an Australian teacher spent some time at the project and we are delighted that he, together with colleagues back in Tasmania, have committed to putting together an English As A Second Language course for the project. He will also be assisting the project coordinator in improving the skills of the teachers and with fundraising for the project in Tasmania.

If you are interested in finding out more about this project or if you would like to support our work by way of a single or regular donation, please send an email to

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Farming Update

CamKids have been committed in trying to help communities establish alternative means of subsistence.

In 2007 CamKids was instrumental in contracting the CRDT – The Cambodian Rural Development Team – to establish a working farm at Kais Village Orphanage. CamKids donated over $21,000 to the project in the first year and when the CRDT left in 2008 there were chickens, pigs, fruit and vegetables. They had also installed a bio digester, a means of harnessing the methane gas from the cow and pig manure for cooking. The bio digester has cut the cost of gas for cooking by half.

As with any project of this nature in a country such as Cambodia, there have been new challenges and set backs as well as successes. However, the directors of Kais have found a new farm manager who has transformed the farm in under two months. He has ingeniously and cheaply found a way to aerate the water in the pond that has, up until now, provided no real advantage to the orphanage, but now he has begun to breed fish with the expectation of having fish on the table for the children within six months.

The bio digester remains a huge success and can be seen in the photos. The fruit trees, vegetable gardens and chickens are all thriving. It is hoped that in twelve months the project will be self sufficient, supplying most of the orphanage food and paying for the farmers to work the land by growing and selling off season fruit. For example 1kg of mangoes in season fetches 500 riel, out of season 3000 riel. This is already underway and fruit, which normally appears in December, is already on the trees . Growing out of season also ensures the orphanage farm is not competing with local farmers.CamKids is proud in still helping to support this farm and is always looking for new projects of this nature and new funding to help cover the cost.

If you are interested or can help in any way please contact

Friday, 7 August 2009

Fishery Project by Who Will NGO

In 2008, CamKids was approached by a potential donor who wanted to invest in a project in Cambodia. After introducing him to the directors of Who Will, it was agreed that he would fund the cost of a sustainable fishery project. The project is now underway and the directors of Who Will have provided us with the following report:

On one of our trips to look at children needing a home, we saw many children running around and we asked the villagers why the children weren’t going to school. No money! The village is extremely poor – family income is $8 - $12 per month. However, the village is on the banks of the river. Fifteen years ago an NGO had started a fishing project in the village but had given them no back-up. The fish had died from lack of food and the villagers had lost money.

A prospective donor came to visit and we mentioned this to him and a new project was born – small scale fishing to generate income so the children can go to school and the whole community will benefit.

Four dams were pinpointed and the farmers were taken through the steps of how the funding will be done – no cash, only product in the form of fuel, pump hire, fish feed, fingerlings and anything else that may be required. The farmers have the money on loan and it must be repaid at the end of the fishing season (approximately 4 months). They also have to hold back enough money to supply their new season.

Three weeks ago 44,000 fingerlings were purchased and to date only 78 have died – a mortality rate of 0.17%! The fish are doing well and growing fast – their progress being measured according to the circumference of the specific farmer’s big toe or middle finger!

This is a great example of a self-sustaining micro-finance project and, if successful, can be rolled out at hundreds of locations throughout rural Cambodia. The total cost of the project is around £1,500, but this 'seed capital' could be enough to create a new project at a different location every year. If you are interested in finding out more, please send an email to

Thursday, 16 July 2009

CamKids 2008 Annual Report & Accounts

The Trustees of CamKids - The Cambodian Children's Charity, are pleased to report that the Charity's Annual Report and Accounts for 2008 have been filed with the Charity Commission ahead of schedule. A copy of the report and accounts can be downloaded from HERE.

The Trustees of CamKids are committed to open and full disclosure of its activities and, although not a requirement, the Charity has opted to make additional voluntary disclosures in line with best practice for large charities.

Please direct any questions about these accounts to

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Gulf 4 Good Challenge - Raising Money for Who Will Children's Village

As reported in an earlier post, CamKids was selected by Gulf for Good as the recipient of funds raised from their Great Asian Cycling Challenge, which took place from 26 March to 4 April 2009 in Vietnam and Cambodia. CamKids nominated the Who Will NGO as the beneficiary and the directors have just sent in this update:

On 1st April, the Gulf for Good challenge participants visited the site of the children’s home, planted trees and had the opportunity to meet the children and some of the villagers. Many photos were taken and, to our absolute delight, Brian Wilkie, chairman of Gulf for Good, announced that $27,000 had been raised for Who Will – enough to complete another home in the children’s village in Kampong Tralach !

The home is nearing completion; the roof is on, tiling is being done, the outside has been painted and within the next three to four weeks, the children will move in.

CamKids and Who Will would like to thank Gulf for Good, the challenge participants and all of their sponsors and supporters for this fantastic achievement.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

3rd Al Murray CamKids Golf Classic

On Friday June 12th, the now legendary Al Murray CamKids Golf Classic hit the fairways, greens and roughs of the magnificent Effingham Golf Club. A very challenging course saw some much improved golf but with some veterans of the event clinging doggedly on to their hacker status.

Al Murray once again delivered liquid refreshments to all golfers, helping to revive flagging spirits as the course challenged every shot. The weather remained dry, which can’t be said of the 72 golfers.

In the evening, 94 guests sat down to a wonderful 3 course dinner, astonishing close up magic by Sav (, prize giving, entertainment, raffle and auction all presided over by Al Murray who was on absolute top form.

In these times of credit crunch and recession, the golf day made a brilliant profit, in excess of £12,000 which is a testament to everyone involved; from Al, to all our sponsors and donors, golfers, volunteers and the friendly, professional and helpful staff at Effingham Golf Club.

Special thanks to:
  • Our patron, Al Murray, for his relentless efforts throughout the entire day and evening.
    Steve Hoatson, for all his help in making the day run so smoothly and relieving us of much of the stress.
  • Gail Taylor, for all her organisational efforts over the many months running up to the event and for her help on the day.
  • Dan Jones, for recommending the course and doing all the initial legwork in securing it for the day and for his continued and valued support of CamKids.
  • Pete Kovacs, for once again doing so much to help make the day a resounding success.
  • All our very generous donors and sponsors for supplying us with fabulous prizes and gifts.
  • Our volunteers, Big Bob and Anne, Lisa, Win, Tim, Cat and Rebecca for their tireless work throughout the day.
  • All the golfers and evening guests enjoyed an unforgettable day and the feedback has been amazing with the general consensus being, it was the best golf day so far…….until next year!!!!

CamKids Trustees

Monday, 8 June 2009

Craig & John's Jurassic Walk

Last week, Craig Birch and John Caiger walked 96 miles from Exmouth to Poole, along the Jurassic Coast Path and raised over £2,000 for CamKids. The Path rises and falls over 34,000 feet along the route - more than the height of Everest! The walk, which was fuelled mainly by beer and curry, took 4 days and was extremely gruelling. The CamKids Trustees would like to thank Craig and John for their outstanding efforts.

The money will pay for the full annual running costs of 4 of the 15 outreach schools being opened by New Futures Organisation and which are being entirely funded by CamKids.

The schools will provide education to children who would otherwise miss schooling because of personal / family circumstances. Primary and secondary education is free in Cambodia and public schools are available in most areas. However, there are various factors that prevent children attending school, particularly in the rural/agricultural villages surrounding Takeo, including:
1. Family cannot afford school clothing.
2. Local government school is not located within easy travelling distance
3. Child is working on family farm at school opening times.
4. Family cannot afford books/pens

If you would like to find out more, or are interested in supporting this project, please contact us at

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

A Trip To The Dentist

Karen Butler, a director of Kais Village Orphanage wrote:
In early March we took 14 children to the dentist. This included some children from the local village who needed some urgent treatment. It took most of the day in surgery (everyone had a nice lunch during the noon break). After treatment the children came back to our house for snacks and drinks and to play until dark.

The children visit the dentist every 6 months for check ups (the work is carried out free of charge). CamKids supports these visits by paying for the transport as the surgery is some 2 hours drive away in Phnom Penh. CamKids also pay for emergency unscheduled visits to the dentist.

If you would like to help support one of our medical or dental projects, please contact us at

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Changing Lives

One of our HIV+ boys, who is now being supported by one of our generous donors through our Child Sponsorship programme, has recently had his life completely changed for the better.

Last month CamKids trustees agreed to build this little boy's family a small house for just US$2,500 because their home was dangerously run down. We did it with the support of the local community who all wanted it for them (we always have to be wary of causing jealousy and friction within small communities when singling one family out).

Many thanks to the directors of Kais Village who organised the project and took the before and after photographs for us. The boy's father, who is a builder, designed the new home and says it is perfect; everything he ever wanted. He was completely moved by the gesture and said he never imagined in his wildest dreams that he would be able to build his children a safe house.

If you would like to help support one of our medical projects, please contact us at or send an email to to find out more about our Child Sponsorship programmes.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Kais Village Nursery Blessing

We thought that you might like to see some pictures of the recent formal blessing of Kais Village Orphanage Nursery, which was entirely funded by CamKids and built by the Royal Engineers and CamKids volunteers in 2008 (you can see more pictures and read more about the Nursery construction here and here).

The nursery, which is big enough to comfortably sleep 40 babies, looks fantastic and is even better than we could have imagined. Thank you to everyone involved in the project, including our supporters, donors and fundraisers, without whom it would not have been possible.

In these difficult times, we still need to raise more money to help meet the running costs of the nursery. Please contact us or click one of the links if you would like to make make a single donation or a regular donation to help us reach our target. Please mark your donation 'Nursery'.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

CamKids Spring 2009 Newsletter

We are pleased to announce that our Spring 2009 Newsletter is now available.

The Newsletter includes details of projects at New Futures Organisation and Who Will Children's Village, including the extension of our Child Sponsorship programme to these organisations. We also have updates of our Farm and Medical projects at Kais Village Orphanage as well as updates on our Rumdoul Thmei school and other eduction projects.

To access the Newsletter, please click Here or Here or Contact Us and we will send you a copy by e-mail. If you sign up to our Newsletter Here, you will receive your copy by e-mail every 6 months (your details will not be used for commercial or any other purpose).

Thank you once again to all of our donors and supporters, for your continuing support and without whom none of this would have been possible.

With Best Wishes

The CamKids Trustees

Friday, 3 April 2009

A Heroic Effort

A huge congratulations and thanks to Tara Taing, who completed the Reading Half Marathon last week in a personal best and raised over £1,300 for CamKids in the process.

Tara is a Chinese Cambodian living in the UK, whose family were able to start a new life in Australia after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Tara has asked for the money to go to the Rumdoul Thmei school, in Kampong Speu district, which is financed by CamKids. The funds will be extremely welcome, as 2 new teachers started at the school this year and there are plans to build a further 3 classrooms in 2009.

If you would like to raise money for CamKids, please visit our JustGiving site: or contact us at for information and fundraising materials.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Giving Children Wings

It was the best of times (to half quote Charles Dickens) the day Phnom Penh International Airport and Société Concessionnaire des Aéroports (SCA) opened their arms to the children of Who Will, a local NGO based in Phnom Penh, which is supported by CamKids. The request was for a tour of the airport and its various internal divisions in order to give the children an insight into what career opportunities are available. What they were given was much more.

They were met at the Welcome Desk by Monirath SOK, Secretary to the Operations Manager and Samnang CHEY, Assistant Manager – Operations. Each child was given a bright yellow Visitor jacket and an airport pass and then all were taken to a briefing room where Florent de WARREN, Deputy Operation Manager – Airport Services, told them the itinerary and the ‘rules of engagement’ – be conscientious of other passenger, stay together, don’t run, etc.

They were taken to a Check In desk and each given a boarding pass on Flight WW001 of Who Will Air. From here they were taken through Security, into the VIP Lounge and then past Immigration onto a bus driven by the patient and informative Naro YOU. which took them to the Control Tower.

Here they were briefed by Bunkong NOV on all the instruments, the operation of a control tower and what requirements were necessary to become an Air Traffic Controller.

Boarding the bus they were taken to an aircraft of Indo-chine Airlines – a 737-200 – where they were awaited by two pilots Sivanthan DOUONG and Sophea UY. Each child was shown his or her seat, according to the boarding pass, and given the opportunity to sit in the co-pilot seat while being briefed on all the instruments by Sivanthan DUONG who never wavered in his professional, pleasant and repetitive narrative. They had the opportunity to walk through the aircraft, look at the galley, ask many questions and even use the toilets.

They were then driven to the Fire Department, stopping on the way to watch an aircraft land and see all the machinations that occur to ensure people disembark and eventually receive their luggage.

At the Fire Department they were met by the crew led by Sunday SEN, Safety and Rescue FFS Manager, shown the fire engines and allowed to climb inside and ask questions. They were then given a demonstration of the power of the water hose (3 00 litres per minute) and all then headed for the bus to be taken to the VVIP section.

The VVIP section is the separate section of the airport reserved for kings, presidents, prime ministers and other special envoys. They were taken to the reception lounge where each child was given a gift of a cap with the insignia of Cambodia International Airport and a booklet. They were then, by special permission, given the opportunity to visit the premier lounge and, for a while, imagine what it would be like to be a king….

It was then back into the bus to be taken to the terminal building where their journey had started three hours previously. They had been accompanied throughout by Monirath SOK, Samnang CHEY and Florent de WARREN, who had responded to the myriad questions and looked to the comfort and safety of a bunch of boisterous children – Florent also being the photographer of the day and had taken over 150 photos.

There is something about a bunch of happy children that affects everyone that comes into contact with them. And so it was this day. Passengers that normally sit sullenly or morosely waiting for the seemingly interminable hours to pass before boarding their flight, smiled when the children walked past, some even greeted them.

The effort that was put into this trip by the management and staff of Phnom Penh International Airport has ensured that the dreams of a number of children have been realised and their horizons broadened.

You can find out more about CamKids' work with Who Will HERE.

Monday, 19 January 2009

CamKids selected by Dataquest UK as its charity of the year

CamKids is delighted to have been chosen by Dataquest UK as their Charity of the Year.

During our fundraising 'Al Murray Golf Classic' last year, the company made a donation of £5,000 and will make a further donation for every transaction generated through their association with CamKids. Dataquest UK are specialists in business technology and supply digital copiers, telecommunications, information technology and document management solutions. For further information, please visit

The money donated by Dataquest UK has been put into our medical fund and will support the cost of a much-needed doctor and nurse at Kais Village Orphanage. The doctor visits once a week and the nurse is now a full time member of staff. This has proved to be of great benefit as levels of day to day hygiene have been improved and ongoing medical care will no longer be a problem.

We would like to thank Dataquest UK for selecting CamKids and wish them good luck with their fundraising for CamKids.