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Beat Richner and his Kantha Bopha Legacy

We awoke this morning to the sad news that Dr Beat Richner had passed away. Dr Richner was a truly inspirational human being who dedicated his life to his firm belief in free access to medical treatment for all children.

A Swiss national, Richner first came to Cambodia with the Swiss Red Cross in the 1970s where he spent some time working at the Kantha Bopa Children’s Hospital in Phnom Penh. The hospital was subsequently destroyed during the Khmer Rouge regime, but Richner on the request of King Norodom Sihanouk (who’s daughter the hospital is named after) and the government, returned to Cambodia in 1992 to reopen the hospital, and with funding from his Kantha Bopa Foundation, provide free medical care to all children that came.

Since then the hospital has continued to grow, opening different branches in Phnom Penh and one in Siem Reap (where Dr Richner would also conduct cello concerts to help raise funds and awareness of the issue of healthcare in Cambodia). The hospitals have proved to be a true lifeline for so many living in Cambodia who could not have afforded medical treatment otherwise (including many of our students) and have saved countless lives.

We are full of admiration for a man with such generosity of spirit and caring of natures and hope his legacy continues for generations to come.

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Posted by on September 10, 2018 in 2018

 

Little Rays of Sunshine!

It has been a rainy, rainy season here in Cambodia, one of the worst we have seen in years. This combine with the turbulent time that the city of Sihanoukville is going through has made for some tough times. BUT the spirits of our children will not be dampened! They continue to inspire us turning up to the center with smiles on their faces and hope for the new day.

The city is undergoing huge investment/development currently, which, while in the long run may bring more prosperity to the region, is placing poorer families under huge amounts of strain, with living prices increasing exponentially and jobs vanishing as the tourist trade changes massively. This compounded with the strain on the infrastructure, seeing more frequent power and water cuts, severely damaged roads, and huge amounts of uncollected rubbish, has lead to some difficult times for the people living here. This makes our small bubble of a safe haven even more important and a joy to be in. The resilience of our students is something to truly be admired!

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2018 in 2018

 

English Lessons

Our English classes continue to be very popular with students of all ages, with all of our classes full. Even our youngest members enjoy their speaking practice! The Khmer and English languages are about as different as you can get and getting your head and tongue around some of the alien sounds can be really difficult. We are putting extra emphasis on pronunciation with our youngest groups to get them in the habit early. Our teachers have also been learning some different techniques to try with their classes to keep them interested. It is a testament to our brilliant teachers that the children continue to arrive for their classes even in the torrential rain!

 
 

Rikreay Chhnam Thmei

Happy Khmer New Year!! The staff are having a well earned holiday after a fantastic term with our lovely students. We closed up with our regular new year party with lots of games and performances. Our younger children got really involved this year and bravely performed 2 dances and a fashion show. It was very sweet. Looking forward to seeing everyone back next term.

 

Silly Putty

As we know how much our students like to make a mess we thought we’d try them on making some (basic) silly putty. We used a mix of colouring, glue and talcum powder, worked together for some time until it creates a putty. It lasts a few days if wrapped up after use. The children loved making it. It is very tactile as it has to be worked in the hands until it is not too sticky nor too dry. Then they had great fun making models with it and playing around. It is great to give them something they can take home and enjoy too.

 

Beaching

All of our students have been performing really well recently, both academically and in their attitudes to school and team work. For this reason we decided to treat them with a trip to the beach to reward all their hard work. The staff along with our regular helpers gathered them together for a day in the sun. We did lots of swimming and sand castle building along with a shell collection (we will be using these in some of our murals). Lots of our younger school members (who have been doing incredible things with teacher Kolab recently) got to come along too and absolutely loved being able to play in the water. Many of the older ones who had attending our recent swimming classes were also able to put into practice what they had learned. A really great day!

 
 

A Very Happy Christmas!

We would like to wish everyone a very happy Christmas from all of us here at the center. We had a wonderful party yesterday with lots of dances and games. The students had a really good time and many of their family members came to join in the fun too. We have had a fantastic year and feel very lucky to be part of such an amazing place. None of it would be possible without the overwhelming support we receive from you all. Best wishes to everyone and here is to a new year full of happiness!

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2017 in 2017