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An end-of-year update from one of the most effective organizations on the ground in any country …

Dear friends and partners,

Today is the last day of our program year and what a year it has been. We had so many goals – so much we wanted to do. We had so many dreams we wanted to achieve – dreams that each of you made happen.

Let me share some of our highlights.

This year our goal was to work with and reach out to 42,545 families with 340,228 dependents – we ended the year with 43,546 families with 348,368 dependents – we worked with another 358 families in cottage industry. It is a remarkable achievement.

Our goal for our New Year starting this week is to reach out to 59,140 families with 473,120 dependents. Together we can do it.

The core of our program is savings: 90% of acute poverty is attitudinal – a mindset created by any number of factors – for our families it has been 40 years of war and genocide. It results in despair – an inability to think ahead – to plan for the future – what is the use – I will lose all anyway. It results in an often heard slogan from our families – we are bad – a statement that reflects
their inability to grasp the loss of so much in their lives.

Savings breaks down the attitude for savings involves people starting dreams – achievable dreams – it involves saying they are worth something – no matter how insignificant we think that something is. It involves action, for the people must give of their own money – it involves people standing with them, cheering them on – it involves achieving those dreams and making new ones.

Their initial savings isn’t much – usually .25 cents a week – but those little bits of money grow into big money – our families saved $2,037,313.90 this year but what is the miracle is the purchase and life changes brought about – they purchased $10,919,450.00 worth of goods and services. Savings works – for families pull together all their resources to make a positive change in their lives – we as Tabitha staff are cheerleaders, encouraging and celebrating each achievement.

The families say to us – you helped us to think again. The attitude has changed. It is so very good.

We talked about our impacts on families – we always start with basic necessities of which eating better food is a key marker – in our newest expansion areas people eat only once a day – rice and whatever insect’s people can scavenge from the fields. This year 27,907 families were able to achieve better food. I asked the managers what that meant – it means people are eating two to three meals a day which are balanced with vegetables and fruit daily and meat and fish at least twice a week. As we were talking, I asked how much do you think that costs a day say for a family of 8 – the universal answer was $5.00 a day – we started multiplying the numbers – families eating
times day times cost in a year and the end figure boggled our minds -over 50 million dollars worth – it is teaching all of us about the micro economics of food.

13,129 families are moving towards food security with their ability to purchase 3 months supply of rice. All of our families were able to purchase basics such as clothing, sleeping mats, beds, tables and chairs, pots and pans, mosquito nets and much more.

Water and its life giving strength – we were enabled to install 2015 sources of water – with over 1000 hectares of land put under year round cultivation – earning our families an average of $500.00 US per month – or $6,000.00 per year up from the low of $300.00 per year.

In Income generation, especially in agriculture and fishing – 18,728 families were able to raise animals such as pigs, chickens, ducks, cows, etc.. Another 18,893 families were able to grow crops such as rice and vegetables year round – it is so very good.

We talked about the number of school aged children in our program- in the communes where we work – and how many got to attend school this year. We had a dream to build 7 schools and we ended up building 14 schools. We talked about the impact it has on the children in our program. In our new areas, an average of one child per family is able to go to school – in areas where we are in mid – program – the average is 3 out of the five – in the areas where we built our schools – it is 4 out of the 5 children. This year we enabled 120,878 children to attend school for the first time.

Our dream this past year was to have 55 teams come and build 950 houses – we had 97 teams come with 2,425 volunteers come and help build 1,182 houses for our families. It is so very good – The volunteers become friends and supporters – people who have a deeper understanding of poverty and its impact on people.

It has been an amazing year – a year of being blessed and giving blessings. I thank my God for this privilege. I thank my God for the staff and for each of you who have made so much happen this year. I pray that our dreams for the next year will bear much fruit for those whom we serve.

Janne

Tabitha USA was established in 2003 to provide funding and support for Tabitha Cambodia, a humanitarian NGO in Cambodia. Our mission is to improve the lives of people living in poverty in Cambodia. We seek to raise funds to support Tabitha Cambodia’s community development efforts, which include a savings program, house-building, digging water wells, and building schools. Tabitha USA is an official IRS 501 (c)(3) non profit organization that grants all donations tax-exempt status.

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