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September 16, 2016

Dear friends and partners,

We have come to the end of another year and started our next program year. It’s always a time of reflection – what did we do well, what we did that is not so good. We went and visited a number of families that were enrolled last year. Cambodia is changing and the deep poverty is not so easy to travel to. Our trip involved driving on smooth tarmac, to dirt, to mud and then just fields.

It was worth every jolt and bump. We met with several families that had started last September. Our staff shared the concept of saving for chickens – chickens that lay eggs everyday!  From several it rapidly multiplies to 20, 50, 100, up to 200 chickens. They added ducks – they start to multiply and life is getting better.

 

 

May 2016

Dear friends and partners,

These past few months in Cambodia have been very difficult for millions of people here. Cambodia has been hit hard by drought and phenomenal heat. The average mid-day temperatures throughout the country is 42-44 degrees centigrade. It leaves us all feeling extremely hot and very tired. It is not a pleasure to be outside.

But the hot temperatures are spawning erratic and very dangerous thunderstorms – storms that have a high wind and lightning but very little rain. The result is devastating as homes are blown apart and families no longer have shelter.

We have a number of house building teams come in this weather – the heat is overwhelming – the lack of electricity and water on site leaves the volunteers gasping – but – they don’t quit. They continue to build and at the end of the day – families have a home.

  Click and see our tribute to house builders:  https://youtu.be/os14kcBYh7c

March 23, 2016

Dear friends and partners,

This coming weekend is Easter – a time of year that for many around the world signifies new beginnings – a new chance at life. For others it signifies the season of spring – again a time of new beginnings, of cleaning the house and watching nature spring forth with new growth.

For many children a new school – a chance at education signifies a new life; a new beginning. Over the past few years, Tabitha Cambodia has built 76 schools through the generosity of some of our donors. For the children that attend the schools, it is excitement beyond words. How can we forget the intensity of a 16 year old sitting in the first grade – struggling to control the pencil he had in his hand – he was oblivious to everyone around him – even myself – he was totally absorbed in making marks that meant new life to him.

 

       

 

 

March 4, 2016

Dear Friends and partners,

This month of March celebrates women internationally. March 8th is the day set aside for official recognition. Here in Tabitha Cambodia we celebrate women every day of the year – we celebrate family – we celebrate life itself.

Life for many Cambodian women is not easy – their value in life is seen as one who must take care of home and family.  This value is dictated by custom yet life is hardly as easy as it sounds. For many women day to day life is one of constant struggle – struggle to clothe and feed their families; struggle to manage their farm land; struggle to deal with daily health issues.

January 18, 2016

Dear Friends and partners,

It is very good to be able to wish all of you all the best in the Year 2016. We are excited about the year that lies ahead. One of the ways to start our New Year in a good way was done by Glen Stretten from Australia. Glenn produced a video about what poverty is and how Tabitha Cambodia savings is such an integral part of changing people’s lives from absolute poverty to middle class rural Cambodians.

I invite all of you to take a moment and watch the video – https://youtu.be/spHwCtL9PqI 

December 2015

Dear friends and partners,

For many of us the month of December is a month of celebrations – bringing family and friends together in a time of Christmas hope and grace. The months of December and January are times of expectation – a time of renewal.

2015 was a year of miracles – a year of blessings. With the restructuring and renewal of our programs,  we had the privilege of talking with so very many families who had journeyed from absolute poverty to middle class Cambodians – people who had become friends – as one woman said – even though I no longer need Tabitha because I am strong now – I feel like I owe Tabitha for my very life. I was so miserable and suicidal and then Tabitha came and showed me a better way. How very humbling this is!

December and Christmas is a reminder that all of us have expectations and choices that will decide what our future will bring. As we continue to work with families, it is the young people whose choices and expectations which affect me the most. 

November 19, 2015

Dear friends and partners,

It is a difficult year in Cambodia. Like many areas in the region, Cambodia suffered from a drought – a drought that left families struggling to produce a rice crop to meet their yearly food needs – a drought that left 3 million Cambodians migrating to Thailand and urban centers for work.

In one small corner of Cambodia – Kampot/Kep it also suffered from drought but this area had a secret weapon against drought – they had a dam. In early October this dam was opened and the area went under flood. Initially the flood was severe and families were moved into safety but tragedy was avoided as the rains did not fall as normal.

In a tiny Village of Ongkrang Raech we were building a school – a school that we hoped would be finished for the new school year in end of October. But the flood water was waist high and this slowed down the process.

AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FROM JANNE RITSKES

23 October 2015

As you will have heard Tabitha Foundation Australia will wind up operations in June of next year.  Before I outline our future plans and reassure you all that everything will be “business as usual”, I would like to pay tribute to the Board of TFA and in particular to Doug and Jude Quarry. I would like to thank the Board for its hard work and dedication, and the excellent results they have achieved.   Doug and Jude Quarry have been amazing stalwarts over the past 14 years.  There are thousands of Cambodian families who now have a good life because of the work done by Doug and Jude, and the millions of dollars they have raised.

Today I am announcing the formation of a new organisation that will be progressively assuming responsibility for Tabitha operations in Australia.  It will be called Tabitha Australia Ltd., and will be closely aligned with Tabitha Cambodia. 

The new organisation comes about as a result of the rapid expansion and the evolution of Tabitha in Cambodia over the last few years.

Tabitha Australia will be fully operational as of July 2016 once a transition from TFA is completed.  Please be assured that all funds are secure and all projects will go ahead as planned.   I look forward to your continued support, and to an exciting future for all those Cambodians you help.

Any questions you have can be addressed to tabithaaustralia@gmail.com

Janne Ritskes

Founder Tabitha Cambodia

September 2015

Dear friends and partners,

Good morning to all of you. It is the beginning of September which marks the start of new program year for Tabitha Cambodia. It should be a time of busyness for our families as this is the rainy season which means the planting and nourishing of their rice crops – the main crop in Cambodia. But sadly the rains have not fallen this year – a shower now and again which builds up hope and then dissipates ten minutes later. It is a hunger year. With the lack of water comes despair and with despair comes desperation and so many of our rural families have become migrants – some to Thailand, some to the cities, some to Vietnamese owned plantations. All have become economic migrants – a scene so vivid these days as newscast are filled with stories of people desperate to live a decent life.

August 4, 2015

Dear friends and partners,

Tabitha Cambodia is undergoing another change in its journey of working with the poor of Cambodia. We are in process of removing the 10% interest paid on all savings. The reason for this cannot be stated in just a few words so this newsletter is a rather longish one – one I hope that each of you will read. Thanks for your patience.

My background in community development started during my college years working with street people than 8 years in the poverty stricken slums of the Philippines, 4 years in Kenya and now 22 years in Cambodia.

The central question for me in development work is – how do I bring people out of a state of abject poverty to a decent lifestyle.  There are some key values I use to determine the means of achieving this goal:

  1. The inestimable value of each person
  2. The dignity and respect each person deserves
  3. The right every person has to choose what constitutes a dignified lifestyle and the paths to achieving it
  4. To hold each person accountable for those decisions in a positive manner
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