You might have seen the recent changes to Taksen’s programs on our social media accounts over the last couple of months. Our community of families has evolved over our 7 years in operation, and we had evolved with them. The program changes represented a progression and expansion from the original model of providing intensive support to a smaller group of families (with additional support for the whole community) to providing inclusive, baseline education support for all families in the village. By removing smaller-scale intensive support that was no longer required, funds would be used even more efficiently in favour of baseline support for more people. We were excited. Our community was poised for real progress – not just survival.
The world changed for everyone a couple of weeks ago. With it, Taksen was brought to its knees. The world faces an unprecedented global crisis. Six major fundraisers we had planned in Australia and the US over the next few months had to be cancelled. With Cambodia’s economy mainly operating in USD and currency value in freefall, we find ourselves AUD $1700 short of what we needed to run the centre each month, even after the sustainable income generated from our monthly sponsors is taken into account.
To top things off, every education provider in Cambodia has been indefinitely closed to halt the spread of Covid-19. That includes us. The 80 children we support are at home in Taksenkangbloung village. There are no online classes, no structured alternatives. Siem Reap’s employment economy relies heavily on tourism. Families with many mouths to feed are suddenly out of work. They are without basic supplies such as soap and running water. Due to the school closure, students are likely to have to repeat the year they are currently in.
Many of our families simply have no way of helping themselves through this intense period of global pandemic. They need our help now more than ever. We are back to the start – and worse.
The need for crisis support, as well as the very real prospect of funds drying up, has necessitated a temporary re-alignment of strategy over the coming months. We need to stay solvent, we need to keep our staff employed (who have their own families to support) and we need to continue to provide hope and leadership in the village. Consequently, we will be moving to a scaled-down crisis support model in the short term.
Our two core staff, centre director Sothea and operations support worker Reay, will continue working in the village. They will now focus on monitoring welfare and levels of economic distress. They will distribute basic hygiene supplies and esure families know how to use them. They will facilitate crisis support as needed – including basic food, basic medical supplies, and referrals/transport to hospital.
We’ve suspended several services to meet our temporary goals. These include English classes for more than 80 students, transport to and from public school (which remains closed), after-school tutoring for secondary school students, kindergarten classes, internet connection and computer tuition.
For the past 7 years, we have been the spark of hope for the people of Taksenkangbloung village. A buffer. A place to turn to for support. We don’t want to have to abandon the Taksen family in its hour of need. We want to fight.
Financial support is more critical to us than ever. We simply can’t continue without it.
We understand that everyone is facing uncertainty right now. Everyone. However, if there is any way you can help us, please do. All we can promise you in these uncertain times is that we will try our hardest to ride out this storm and to come out on the other side – bigger, better, and piece by piece. Together. We might fail, but we’re going to try.
If this is something that you can help with, please donate here.