The new CHOICE School year is well underway now, commencing on 3rd October. We have lost about 20 students that have graduated to the local High School. With our new enrollments our School numbers have increased this year to a total of 230 enrolled, now we are turning other children away. Our biggest classes are Kindergarten now 75 children. We have split them into two groups this year. That means another Kinder teacher has to be employed, another classroom and more mouths to provide lunch for. Sokheng our ex student from the first Village has been selected as the new teacher, she is studying at University weekends and with us Monday to Friday. Pictured below are the children some in the old classroom and some in the new kinder room we call “Northbridge House” This is because the room is completely fitted out with donated items from Northbridge School in Phnom Penh. The problem now is with so many children in classes side by side its too noisy for lessons to be heard. We need other classrooms, we cleared an area in August for an additional large classroom being offered as a donation, but that all fell through. So its the same old problems of not enough money to address all of these issues, and no long term western Teachers to help. Vanny has to spend a lot of her time teaching when we need her as Principle and Manager. Any offers of help would be really appreciated.
Sokha is now able to walk for a few minutes with the aid of a frame on wheels and support from her son Channy. She still gets dizzy after and hour or so in the wheelchair, and they still living in the VIC Physio center.
We continue to visit her twice a week, today we gave her more diapers and a years supply of Multi Vitamin tablets, thanks to the sponsorship for the family. We also sent a bag of rice out to the rest of the family.
On the 15th Dec 2009 CHOICE was told about a homeless, deaf, pregnant girl and maybe HIV+ in Phnom Penh. We located the girl about a week before Xmas, and with her permission we had a blood test done which confirmed she was HIV+. She could neither read nor write, it was difficult for us to communicate. CHOICE supplied her with some clothes and food and small money.
We contacted Charles from DDP (Deaf Development Programme) with his help we determined that the girl was 25, and abandoned by the father of the baby, a foreigner, when he found out the girl was pregnant. She did not want to keep her baby. The staff from DDP were excellent and they intend to educate her with job skills as well as teach her proper sign language DDP engaged the help of a related Maryknoll Group PMTCT (Preventing Mother To Child Transmission).
They provided medical help for the girl as well as an Ultra-sound and would help the baby after birth as well. LIA Orphanage offered to take the baby if need be. Unexpectedly we found out that a 2.5kg baby girl was born on Monday 11th Jan. by cesarean, and the Mother has changed her mind now and will keep the lovely baby girl, as well the grandparents have come forward and with a combined effort we are all trying to help out. Now we are waiting to see if the medicine has prevented the baby from contracting the HIV and of course the baby is not being breast fed.
We will keep you up to date on this story. Update, unfortunately we have lost contact with the family, they are not using the same phone number, we can only hope that all is well.
The baby pictured here is just 4 days old.