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Not a week goes by without The Moodie Report hearing about a fantastic Corporate Social Responsibility initiative involving management, staff or executives from the travel retail industry [With additional reporting by Melody Ng in Singapore].
This week, Craig McKenna, Managing Director South East Asia and the Middle East of DFS Group, sent The Moodie Report details of an important project he and his wife Kathryn are involved in.
[Craig (left) and Kathryn McKenna with son Jerrod in national costume, with DFS Chairman and CEO Ed Brennan and Martin Moodie back in 2008]
Created by registered NGO Norwegian Association for Private Initiative in Cambodia (NAPIC) and supported by the United World College South East Asia (UWCSEA), the Kuma Cambodia project aims to provide education for the poor and marginalised children in the capital and largest city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh.
Under the initiative, a new school called Kuma, the Khmer word for ‘children’, has been constructed with a dining hall, kitchen, library, showers and toilet facilities. Students are provided with two meals a day, showers when they arrive at school and a well-rounded education which will include sport, art and IT lessons.
The Kuma school is one of several projects initiated by the NAPIC, who works with over 20 villages in the Ta Khmau province, 20 minutes outside of Phnom Penh. These same villages – where NAPIC runs a free maternity clinic and community programme for women – are the feeder communities for the Kuma School.
UWCSEA supports Kuma Cambodia on a project-by-project basis, by raising funds and awareness, donating resources, as well as providing professional development for the staff. The college hopes to involve more UWC students and members of the public.
The first intake selection process was based on socio-economic circumstances. Children who will be selected to study at Kuma School must meet some of the following criteria:
1. Be from very low-income families.
2. Have parents have uncertain jobs.
3. Have many siblings in the family.
4. Live in bad shelter (torn walls, leaky rooves, walls covered by plastic tents etc)
5. Have parents with regular illness and parents with HIV/AIDS.
6. Have houses located in the selected area.
7. Have disabled members in the family.
8. Be orphans or one-parent orphans with bad living conditions.
As well as education the children receive medical checks every three months, dental education and checks, vaccinations.
Look at the pictures below from the kids’ first day at school (8 June) and you can see what a difference can be made to children’s lives.
I’ll let Craig take up the story: “We work with a Kiwi girl at Kathryn’s school who has managed to champion this cause. She just opened this first class in Cambodia – we all visited two years ago and threw some effort behind making a difference for a desperately poor village. These kids are our day one pupils – very cool. The villa was donated to us.”
It’s a fantastic, life-affirming, life-changing initiative. Anyone interested in supporting the project – and Craig and his family’s wonderful efforts – can do so by remitting funds to: ANZ Royal Bank
Account name: Norwegian Association for Private Initiative in Cambodia
Account no: 1693312
Bank address: 20 Kramuon Sar & Corner of street 67,
Phnom Penh, Cambodia