Happy holidays and it has certainly been an amazing year for Expert-Exchange. We have helped sponsor 15 kids for full-time school who would be on the streets begging if it was not for our hard work and loyal supporters. We have also supplied 4 different schools helping over 250+ children with school supplies, from backpacks to books, pens, pencils, and uniforms. Looking back we have done a lot this year. We taught basic first aid classes. We also put in 4 wells to give communities safe access to drinking water. We provided children with basic hygiene supplies and taught them how to use them.
We also learned some valuable lessons. If a donor opts to sponsor a child’s education, this is not a one-year commitment. Expert-Exchange learned that we couldn’t necessarily allow a single sponsor to be assigned to a single child, in case the donor decides not to sponsor the child each year the child is eligible for school. In this way we can stay true to the child and ensure their education until completion.
We have also witnessed the negative side of aid work and made mistakes ourselves. One thing we are constantly doing is picking up where others have left off. We find there are a lot of well-intentioned and good-hearted people who visit Cambodia. They build a school and then they leave and the school does not have the proper funding or aid it needs to sustain itself. We have spent a lot of time going around and trying to support these schools with supplies and aid. Thankfully we have had support from our donors to be able to do so. However, we need a lot more support. For example, we are working with one school right now with has 825 children. They have 7 teachers! Out of the 825 children, 35% of them regularly do not attend because they are out on the streets begging. We are kicking it up a notch and really pushing to make this problem disappear.
We also learned that there are people that take advantage of aid who do not need it and when people are living in poverty they resort to short-term thinking instead of long-term thinking. It is difficult for them to see how a long-term plan to help them sustain and bring themselves out of poverty would be beneficial when they are constantly thinking about how to get their basic needs met on a daily basis. One example Expert-Exchange had was of a child we sponsored for school. The parent sold the clothing and materials supplied for the child to go to school back to the market for the money. The child in return did not attend school for 2 weeks until we found out about the situation. After talking to the teachers we were able to get the child back into school and work out a deal with the family on how to support the child. The next blog I write will be in more detail about the ups and downs of the year. This one I want to focus on the holiday gift campaign we are running.
The good is that your donations are helping and making a huge impact. We could use more volunteers to do fundraisers and generate awareness. We also really could benefit from reliable corporate sponsors so we can plan years ahead. This holiday season we are running a campaign to give the gift of a donation in someone’s name for Expert-Exchange. In return the person will be recognized on social media and the website. This small sacrifice will literally take a child off the street and give him or her the gift of education. Please consider giving a donation in someone’s name as a stocking stuffer to a loved one. The holidays are about family and giving; remember that there are people who do not have a warm meal to eat and have to beg. There are kids going through trash instead of getting an education. This is one of the most meaningful and selfless gifts you can give this holiday season. We thank you in advance and as the founder I appreciate all of the support. The holidays are a wonderful time of year and I miss being home with family and friends. It really hurts me to know that there are kids still out there who need our help and we will do everything in our power to give these kids a fair chance in this world. We can only do so much and I am very proud of what we have accomplished this year and am extremely grateful for all the support we have had. Thank you, not only from me but also from the people of Cambodia. You have changed their lives and they are so grateful. I'd like you to feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in knowing you have changed lives and I encourage you to keep helping to support our mission.
Happy holidays and please consider supporting our mission
Executive Director's Blog
Follow Macie through SE Asia as he embarks on a humanitarian adventure and assists inspirational individuals to improve their life quality.