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Roteang Children’s Center Coronavirus Update
These are uncertain times, but we are very grateful for your continued support of our children, as it is needed now more than ever. Thanks to technology, we can find out what is currently happening in Cambodia and at our Roteang Children’s Center. This is a blessing because oversight visits are suspended for the foreseeable future.
All of our programs are quiet for now, until Cambodia, as a country, re-opens. Cambodia schools are currently shuttered, and everyone is practicing social distancing as they are able. Our English Language school is closed too, this is where over 400 students come in the evenings to take 1-hour English lessons. The High School students we sponsor attend in the evenings and often conduct Sunday morning study classes at the Roteang school. All are closed for now. The universities are closed too so all the students in the dorm have returned home. Only the dorm leaders have remained in Phnom Penh in the dorms.
As quarterly TSF Board oversight trips were canceled, at least until the fall, we had to find a way for our students and sponsors to communicate. Letters between the two create a deep bond through the years and also help English learning continue. This past quarter, we had to do things differently. Board members, Lee Steppacher (College Program) and Marge Stockford (High School Program) collected the letters via email from the sponsors. They were then put in a folder and emailed to Elephant. Elephant printed them all out and then informed the students how they could pick them up, all while observing social distance protocols. The students then wrote their letters and they were scanned and sent back to the U.S. From there, Lee and Marge distributed the letters and photos to their sponsors. The process which usually takes a few days while in Cambodia was lengthier and more complicated this time around, but the results are the same: connection for students and sponsors!
At the RCC, we are keeping the kids occupied. Beltie, the International school, where many of our children attend, requires remote learning to be done while wearing their uniforms. This helps to further give the children a sense that school is still taking place and that this is not a vacation. We are happy to see them meaningfully engaged! The library has been busy but we will need to purchase more books when this isolation period is over, the kids are reading through the ones we have, fast and furiously!
Remote Learning at Roteang
Our older RCC kids who were in vocational programs are now at home in the RCC. Some of them have been helping with small maintenance projects on the grounds and are happy to help. Ros Chanta, our new baby, is receiving all kinds of attention from the older girls. Who doesn’t love a baby!?
Ros Chanta with her new family
Our music and dance programs are halted for the time being and our tutoring programs also. We are being very careful about who is on the RCC grounds. Our staff is working tirelessly to ensure the children take the necessary precautions to keep them well; we are grateful for their dedication.
That is life for TSF in Cambodia right now. The country statistics say the cases of Covid-19 are low, but they have not re-opened yet, erring on the side of caution. We will keep you updated when we have more news to share.
In late 2019, new farmland in Roteang village was leased. The new property is more arable and less prone to seasonal flooding. Early education for poor families is an integral of our farm project, and a new school was built to serve the 138 children now enrolled. Because of Covid-19, no classes are currently in session.
Nancy Kuziemski, a former TSF board member, generously donated the funds for the new school in memory of her mother, Naomi Kuziemski, an accomplished guidance counselor at the Philadelphia High School for Girls. Her expertise and dedication enabled many young women, often from disadvantaged backgrounds, to go onto to college education. We are calling the new building, Naomi’s School, and we hope that many of our young students will be inspired to continue onto higher education.