Check out a few great videos of life in Cambodia in early 2023!
Lida sings a wonderful rendition of Josh Groban’s ‘You Raise Me Up’
The University students give us a tour of their kitchen
The students at Ben Krom sing together
Back to Cambodia after 3 years
After an almost 3 year hiatus, TSF President Ann Trudeau visited Cambodia in August (2022). The trip was an affirmation that all of our children and programs are doing well.
As a result of visiting many of our program locations, there were new projects to consider. These include paving the RCC driveway which is a muddy mess during the rainy season, updating playground equipment, painting the college dorms, and renovating a school building at one of the villages across the Mekong that TSF supports.
Focusing on the children is always the heart of every trip. Our youngest ones (under 8 years of age) are now engaged in weekly traditional dance lessons and had the opportunity to show off what they have learned. Ann was able to observe classes at the English Language school and was impressed when Sakty (one our guards/drivers) dropped off the children at school and then joined one of the classes to improve his own English. What a great role model for our kids! She met Ros Chanta—our youngest child at aged 3—for the first time. Ros Chanta came to TSF after the last trip in January of 2020.
Ann visited our students who are in vocational training at CARITAS and was interested in seeing what they were learning and how they were putting it into practice. As Elephant says, our students in vocational training are in the middle of the river and we must help them get across. For many of our children, a traditional educational track is not possible.
Most of our children have returned to BELTEI, the International school they attend. Most have moved up a grade, despite all the challenges a pandemic put in their way. A few of the kids didn’t do as well as we had hoped, but they are still diligently engaged in classes and they are being tutored. We remain inspired by their dedication to learn.
In October, another trip is planned to attend the TSF university graduation. We have over 100 university graduates now and we add another ten more this month. All have jobs and we are delighted for them. One of our very own RCC children, will be graduating and we are proud parents! There are currently 7 more RCC young adults following in his footsteps at Norton University.
Board members will also be interviewing 9th graders who may join our high school sponsorship program this year. If you are interested in sponsoring a young man or woman, please contact us and we will joyfully pair you with a student.
It was hard to believe that it had been almost three years since TSF was last in Cambodia. Back then, not many had heard the word Covid-19 or understood how it was about to upend so many things we took for granted. Covid seems to be on the wane in Cambodia presently and we are grateful for that, and we were grateful that Ann Trudeau could visit our children at long last.
Together Again: a celebration of TSF
On June 18th, over 200 old and new friends gathered under a big tent in Acton, MA, to celebrate The Sharing Foundation and its founder, Dr. Nancy Hendrie, on a milestone birthday. Elephant and his daughter braved a 40-hour trip from Cambodia to join in the fun, and other attendees came from over 14 states – TSF has a far reach! It was a great day of connection and reconnection.
The Angkor Dance Troupe of Lowell began the festivities with a Blessing Dance, and then the food trucks were open for Asian-inspired fare. Cambodian crafts were available for purchase, as well as TSF t-shirts and totes made especially for the occasion. Nancy Hendrie personally inscribed copies of The History of TSF, which she and board member Jim Ganley collaborated on. The line was a long one!
Highlights of the day included a Q & A session moderated by President Ann Trudeau between Nancy and Elephant. They talked about how they met, how TSF came to be, the obstacles encountered, and their biggest worries. There were many never-before-shared stories, and the audience was rapt! Afterward, everyone joined in a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday to You as the candles were lit on the cake.
Another highlight included the gathering of 50+ young adults adopted from Cambodia. Many are in their 20s and finished college; they had much to compare notes about. Initially sitting with family, they were dancing, smiling, posing for pictures, and exchanging numbers by the end of the day. They share a unique life experience. One truly memorable moment occurred when Nancy and Elephant posed for a photo with the adopted young adults – lives changed forever with the person who made that change possible.
Other snapshots of the day included putting faces to names or delighted expressions when someone fell upon a long-lost friend. However, on a summer day in June 2022, all that was forgotten as hugs and winning smiles (no longer behind a mask) were back! TSF Together Again was an opportunity to reconnect, cement, and deepen bonds shared together as a group and individually. The last two years significantly changed the way we were able to interact.
Cambodia reopened on November 1st! Our children are happily attending Beltei 3 days a week and have been reunited with their classmates. The tutors in math and chemistry have returned for afternoon sessions for our middle schoolers. Elephant is still looking to employ tutors for our 11 and 12th graders in math and science. The tutors are a real positive force in assisting our children in keeping up with their studies.
Our English Language school resumed in person classes at 5:30 and 6:30 pm daily. The discussions can be quite lively and they have started to do some debating in class which is exciting.
Our university students continue remote studies. They had returned to their dorms in mid November when the opening of Norton University seemed imminent but that changed. For the foreseeable future, only our dorm leaders remain in Phnom Penh. Patience and flexibility are key attributes during these times of upheaval and we admire our students for their tenacity in keeping up with their studies.
The National Exam for college entrance took place on Dec. 27th and there was a national high passing rate. In our program, 9 out of 12 students passed the exam and should they pass the ACE test (an English test that TSF requires), they will start university classes in February. The three who didn’t pass will be given the opportunity to repeat 12th grade and then take the exam again next year.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2022!
The kids on the TSF bus, heading home from school
We have some good news to share!
All of our children and young adults, as well as our staff, have been vaccinated*;
All sponsored college students have been fully vaccinated; and
According to the Phnom Penh Post, 85% of teachers have been vaccinated and transmissions in the capital and surrounding provinces are dropping.
18+ kids and staff with their vaccination cards!
This positive report means that Cambodia is working hard to reopen schools as soon as possible. Our kids are looking forward to being back in the classroom and renewing friendships, although they have been fortunate to have 60+ brothers, sisters and friends to spend time with in the interim!
We will keep you updated as more news becomes available. As always, we send you and your families our very best wishes for good health.
*Covid 19 vaccines used in Cambodia include Sinovac, Sinopharm (China), Astra-Zeneca (UK) and Johnson & Johnson (U.S.).
Thank you from The Sharing Foundation President
The Sharing Foundation has been caring for Cambodia’s poorest children for more than 20 years. These children grow up expecting to be either a farmer barely surviving in their small village or a factory employee living in worker housing near a city.
With help from people like you, the Sharing Foundation gives the neediest children a different option – education. We help more than 1500 children every day in many villages outside of Phnom Penh, with libraries, English classes, water, and bathrooms. We support over 40 high school students as they study for and pass the National Exam and move on to university. And we help the same number of young people graduate from university with a degree and life skills, tools that will help not only them but their families and their villages. At the core of our support are the children, once homeless, now living and thriving at the Roteang Children’s Center.
Despite this awful pandemic, all our children continue to learn and grow. I would like to thank all of you for your continued generosity and your true caring for children on the other side of the world.
This year TSF is celebrating 8 new sponsored college graduates! It is an exciting time in their lives and one that we always honor. Traditionally, the graduation ceremony is held at Roteang Primary School, with many family, friends, and students attending. This year, given the restrictions due to Covid, we brought the tradition online, which was an unexpected success!
Elephant and Dorm Leader, Sou Nai with our eight 2021 College Graduates
The graduates and their schoolmates attended our Zoom celebration; each of the graduates’ sponsors and other supporters of TSF, alumni, family, and friends. The celebration began with our RCC children performing a traditional Blessing Dance for the graduates, followed by taped and live talks by each of the graduates. This graduation celebration was the first time that sponsors could speak directly to their students and express their support and pride in their accomplishments. There was a beautiful presentation of diplomas and flower bouquets that we all were able to see. At the end of the formal ceremony, Elephant introduced Zoom viewers in the U.S. and translated for Cambodian participants, including parents and siblings.
2021 College Graduation Celebration
Run Soneath’s speech at her College Graduation Celebration
TSF's board member and treasurer, Kat MacDonald, along w/ fellow board member Korey Lee, are in Cambodia currently. This was Kat’s post today regarding the TSF Graduation ceremony on Sunday, November 12, 2023:Fabulous Celebration of 5 Graduates from our University Program. Four students who went through our English Program, High School Program and University. And Yi Sophal, who additionally benefited from being raised at the TSF Children’s Center. Note the support of her mates in the large photo!So proud of all our graduates…grateful to their generous and supportive sponsors in the US….thankful to our donors who attended our ceremony in person…and in debt to their parents, who had to forego income from their labors for 8 years-a monumental sacrifice-to help their children reach their potential.#sharingfoundation.org ... See MoreSee Less