Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Over 7 Seas & Birgit Deubner Etsy Stores pledge to Donate to a family in Cambodia

This is very important to me:

I WILL DONATE 5% of profit made through Etsy to Nakry's Family in Cambodia. (To calculate I will deduct only production costs, not my time or any other costs)

I will keep a public tally of how much is raised on this blog. I also accept donations for Nakry's family.


The backstory:
I want to donate money to the family of a friend I made in Cambodia. I know first hand of several very good charity and NGO organizations who are active in supporting children and people of all ages to have a better future. I will update this post with a link to my blog that I have to write more about these causes.

My friend's family lost 50-60% of their rice crop to last years terrible flooding that swept across Asia. My friend's name is Nakry, his family live in a small house on stilts, the wood of which is splitting and they fear it will snap if another flood hits them before they can replace it. Nakry's family, like countless families in Cambodia, rely on their family's rice harvest to supplement their basic food needs.

I don't know how cambodian families will get through this time. Food across Cambodia will have run out some time ago (it is June now, the next harvest is not due until around december, most farmers only have enough water supply for one crop a year, few are lucky and can try their luck twice annually)

My friend's name is Nakry, his home has an open door policy welcoming any children from the extended family, if they are hungry Nakry's family will share their already tight food. Tight food? The children of the family have stunted growth, as has Nakry, he is rather small, the children who are 13 years old, look as if they are 7. The loss of the rice crop is dramatic on a family like this. It is all part of why for example Nakry's cousin left school before she finished, to work for small change as day laborer on other people's fields. She is 16, she could have become fluent in french had she stayed in school. This is a can of worms. I hope you will visit my blog when I forward the address in the next weeks (I need to update the stories, or at least make a strong start).

What is needed? Money to flood proof the house, the family fear that the wooden stilts it stands on will snap if the house is submerged once more for 2-3 months in 2 foot / half a meter of water.

Waterproofing from the rain. More blankets to keep warm! I was there in december twice and you can't sleep at night it is so chilly. (surprising I know).

Money for enough food. Yes, BUT money to gain qualifications to provide for themselves.
Nakry: would benefit from French and English qualification that are on paper from a reputable school. It would raise his salary from $110 a month (I couldn't live on that and I was very frugal in Cambodia) - a salary that supports not just him but his family, his dead brother's wife, her children, Nakry's younger siblings... Everyone works when possible, but often it simply isn't possible. Food prices high, fields under water, everyone tries to fish but frankly what can you do without education and vocational skills. THIS is Nakry's question, too. Not mine imposed. He wishes he could afford to send his brother to vocational training to become an electrician . Nakry's brother wishes he could learn computer literacy. Nakry's cousin - my heart ... - she should be learning and qualifying, not being set up for a future of poverty and existential fragility; because she is a girl.

Nakry's sister in law has few hopes, wouldn't it be wonderful to present her with an opportunity to own a small business.?

Nakry's keen positive outlook has kept him and his family afloat against all odds. Countless families exist in Cambodia who struggle just the same and more. Nakry had to sell the family rice field at a time of severe need. Of course now this means that they have to rent a field. Once the crop fails due to flooding they are left with little gain.

Around about now I imagine people across the flood affected parts of South East Asia are running out of home grown food. Few resources and little access to education make escaping extreme and existential poverty unlikely to escape.

I would like to help one friend, one family at a time. I can also recommend a few very good organisations who work with orphaned children, street children, women affected by human trafficking or suffering from Aids.. Just drop me a line and I can direct you to organisations I know first hand in the Siem Reap Area. As well as a couple of great projects in Phnom Penh.

What a country! I have never seen people try harder to keep on going on! With grace and optimism against the odds. The only way! Everybody I know there works 2 jobs. Their whole life is work. Because if they don't their families will suffer. The only way to improve is too keep on going. My admiration to these inspired people.

The only way is forward and upward. Good to remember when your Etsy store doesn't make enough sales to cover your bills, when the rain outside won't stop, when life is low and you can not see when it will get better, will it ever? Best we keep on going. With enthusiasm because after all LIFE IS A MIRACLE!

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