At the recent ASEA 2019 Global Convention in Las Vegas, the ASEA Advancing Life Foundation announced its newest partnership for breaking the cycle of poverty, suffering, and abuse: The organization is called Vision Cambodia, and their sole focus is improving the quality of life for rural Cambodians. At the convention where the announcement was made, ASEA associates collectively raised more than $150,776 in donations, to be matched dollar-for-dollar by ASEA, bringing the total amount donated to Advancing Life’s service initiatives to $300,776!
The Advancing Life Foundation’s relationship with Vision Cambodia began in early August 2019 with funding for an education program and expanded the availability of clean drinking water for the people in the Seam Reap area of Cambodia. The Pouk District outside of Siem Reap is called home by approximately 7,000 people. The area is mostly an agricultural farming community with four villages. Families in this region do not have enough money to send their children to other villages to gain an education. The children also stopped attending school because the building was in a state of disrepair and was not a safe structure for students.
Restoring the Foundation of Education
Education will now be more readily available, thanks to the funds raised by Advancing Life Foundation. Using the funds, Vision Cambodia purchased the needed materials and supplies to provide all renovations to the school. The roof was replaced, the walls and floors were repaired, the plumbing fixtures were updated, the building was painted, and new tables and desks were provided. On 30 August 2019, the locals celebrated as the school welcomed the children once again. All the school children received school supplies and a delicious curry meal they rarely get to enjoy before participating in a flag-raising ceremony.
Not only did the Cambodian flag fly, but the stars and stripes of the American flag flew in tandem, as a sign of gratitude to the ASEA Advancing Life Foundation. A sign neatly hung on the school with the foundation’s name prominently placed as the donor. Four different villages will now have access to the school since over one thousand children under the age of eighteen reside in the nearby area.
The children will go to school during the day, and in the evenings and weekends, the school will be used to teach English to adults and children. This school is vital to help build the community, as the average income is $2 a day. Villagers who can speak English are more likely to find work in the tourism industry, which can increase their daily wage to upwards of $40 a day. The new school will change the trajectory of many lives.
For example, a child born to parents who have never received any formal education now spends his days gathering plastic bottles. The little money he receives from recycling provides money for his family. Another little boy spends his days weaving fish traps with his mother from reeds. They use these traps to catch food for their family. With a new school in the community, there is now an opportunity for them to receive the education that their parents couldn’t previously afford to give them.
Watering the Roots of Wellbeing
A week after school started, Vision Cambodia began to install clean water wells in the villages. The ASEA Advancing Life Foundation has now funded the drilling of seven wells. These wells will bring fresh, clean water to 1,000 people. Over 60% of Cambodians do not have access to clean water and are forced to draw from polluted water sources. Consequently, many locals suffer from water-borne illnesses, which affect their life expectancy, their ability to have jobs, and their capacity to receive an education. The cost to install a well in Cambodia is only $375USD because members of the local community are taught to carry out the construction.
The Advancing Life Foundation also funded the purchase of twelve acres of land, where locals will teach organic farming and other farming methods. These techniques will allow farmers to increase their earning potential as they sell crops that fit the Westerners standards and brings in more revenue.
In March of 2020, Advancing Life Foundation will take an expedition of volunteers to these villages to continue working on crucial projects. They will paint the interior of the school, teach English, work on the farms nearby, and interact with the villagers.
We are excited to welcome Vision Cambodia to our family of partners. Because of dedicated partners like them, the funds donated during ASEA 2019 Convention will make a major difference in the lives of thousands of people.