A story of hope

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Unique Boutique fundraiser benefits Cambodia’s orphans

By Carol A. Clark

Cambodia’s Hope is hosting its annual Unique Boutique fundraiser from 1-8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at the Pueblo Canyon Inn, 199 San Ildefonso Rd. Everyone is welcome.


One of-a-kind gift items will be available for purchase including silks, jewels, scarves, accessories, fine art and many other unique artifacts.

The community is invited to drop by to enjoy refreshments and live music by Stephany Bouchier on guitar and Francis Meier on piano.

The two-day event is hosted by Cambodia’s Hope co-founders Marvel Harrison, Terry Kellogg and friends.

“The future of the world does not lie in the hands of children, it lies in the hands who hold the hands of children,” Harrison said.

Harrison and Kellogg founded Cambodia’s Hope more than six years ago with the purpose of meeting children’s needs in Cambodia. The generosity of several thousand benefactors over these years is the greatest success, they said.

“Our partners include children raising funds in school projects, physicians and dentists donating medical services, a third grade class emptying piggy banks, a Chicago based law firm sending monthly dividend checks, college students selling T-shirts, moms shopping at the Unique Boutique for hand-woven Cambodian silk scarves, NHL players writing checks, successful business people sharing their wealth, high school students setting up a giving tree over the holidays, friends sending a few dollars to buy a child a pair of shoes, a book or soccer ball,” Harrison said.

Kellogg explained that the Cambodia’s Hope organization leads with its head as well as with its heart to generate opportunities for less fortunate children in Cambodia.

“We are creating a nurturing environment for children to reach their highest human potential through education, recreation and health. We provide support for children to become self-sustaining future business, academic and agricultural leaders of Cambodia to help fill the intellectual and cultural void caused by the human decimation of recent decades,” he said. “As privileged people we are challenged with the ability and responsibility to reach towards, not away.”

Kellogg recently returned from a trip to Cambodia where the project has grown to encompass 240 orphans.

“This year our focus is going to be on the Alphabet Soup project. I have visited all 16 villages where we have schools and we now have the soup program in 14 of them,” he said. “Our goal is for our children to learn to fend for themselves. We realize that only a small portion of university graduates get jobs so we want them all to also have a trade.”

Two of the orphans have completed beauty school and received micro loans to open their own business, Kellogg said.

Kellogg and Harrison expressed their gratitude to the many people of Los Alamos who have contributed not only financially, but through volunteering their time and talents to Cambodia’s Hope.

“The triumphs are many and each donor owns a part of the 2009 accomplishments,” Harrison said.

Some of the past year’s achievements include:

• secured continuing support of housing, nutrition, medical, education, cultural and recreation needs for 94 orphaned children and 25 staff at the city orphanage, Palm Tree Center and 65 orphaned children at a rural orphanage, APCA in Oudong district of Kampong Speu province;

• gained matching funds from the International Witteveen Foundation for the current initiative, the Alphabet Soup Program–Preschool for young children with a hearty soup meal for fundamental nutrition and literacy schools for adults in the poverty stricken outlying provinces;

•  the Alphabet Soup Program is currently offering 150,000 school days and meals to 625 children in 14 rural villages per year with a base cost of 51 cents per child per day;

• more than 400 adults attend literacy programs after hours at the ASP schools;

• made tenable funding for sustainable chicken farm at APCA orphanage;

• remodeled APCA dormitories and new kitchen facilities;

• continued farm initiatives of rice and bamboo planting and a cow/calf operation;

• secured basic yearly medical and dental check ups for 94 Palm Tree children;

• support/direct six preschools, including neighborhood for 195 children;

• maintain 16 staff attending university with paid tuition;

• launched a hospitality industry-training program led by a Cornell Hotel Management graduate;

• sent seven Palm Tree participants into vocational training, launching careers as drivers and cosmetologists;

• collaborated with U.S. charitable organization to offer photography and art classes for APCA and ASP children;

• 23 volunteers have spent from two weeks to 12 months assisting children in English classes, recreation, hygiene and health;

• made visits, provided meals and gifts for orphanages in other districts;

• continue ceramics teaching program with accomplished Khmer artisan;

• advanced an extensive music and cultural dance program for orphans;

• lead cultural, educational and recreational field trips for orphans to visit the inspirational Angkor Wat, the soul of Khmer culture while more than three hundred children know the joy of a water park and the bliss of playing and camping at the beach; and

• collaborated projects with Semester At Sea, PCB supply, 88bikes, schools, Cambodian Children’s Assistance Network and Follet Textbook Company.  

In 2010, the organization hopes to continue the programs and projects currently underway as to build a library for the APCA school children, support a rural orphanage that lost its funding due to economic down turn and develop a medical liaison and support program to improve the local health status.

Cambodia’s Hope is a 501.c.(3) charitable organization so all donations are tax deductible. One hundred percent of all purchases and donations support Cambodian orphans because all travel, administrative and fundraiser costs are donated by the cofounders.