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We hope that this newsletter finds you well and in good health. We have had a busy time in the village since our last newsletter, with lots of construction happening onsite, including:
  • The completion of a road from the village to the village farm - a vital connection during the rainy season, ensuring that the farmers can easily commute between the two and continue to develop the farming land for the benefit of the whole community, and
  • The commencement of construction on the village aquaponics, greenhouse and fish farm. While early days yet, this will eventually provide a source of food and employment in the village, and integrate with our school meals program. We will bring you a feature story on these developments in our next newsletter.
As with all our activities onsite, this recent investment in vital infrastructure is designed to help the community to achieve self-sustainability in the future - providing opportunities for employment and advancement.

The Mango Tree School continues to operate successfully, with more children applying for school than we can currently accommodate. At present, the school operates for grades 1-4, with grade 5 to be added at the end of this school year. The ongoing operation of the school depends heavily on the contributions of our child sponsors, and we cannot continue operate without them. At the current time we have 100 children awaiting sponsorship and need additional funds to keep our little school open. For just $50.00 per month you (or one of your wonderful friends or family members) can give the gift of education to some of the world's poorest children. If you would can sponsor one our of young learners, please click the link at the bottom of this newsletter. 
- Kevin & Leakhena Knight (Founders, Manna4Life)

Manna4Life's amazing local staff make a vital contribution to the charity's success. Working on the ground, side by side with the villagers, their impact cannot be understated. We truly appreciate every one of them, and to show how important they are, we would like to introduce them to you. In this newsletter, we would like to introduce Bun Leng - who has been with us since the beginning.
When Leng arrived in the village in 2013 he was one of Manna4Life's first employees at the The Mango Tree School, which hadn’t even been built yet!  He was employed as a computer teacher and English teacher, with classes taking place at Kevin and Leakhena’s house.

Whilst the school was getting up and running, Leng would go with Kevin to help him with all the other projects that were under way, including building the office and training building, working on the water filtration plant, and the school kitchen As Kevin’s ‘right hand man’ Leng helps out Manna4Life wherever it is needed: he translates, he works at the farm, he helps with planning, he gets tools, he prepares work areas, he checks details, and generally does whatever he can.

Whilst teaching computing is his favourite subject (because it can help people to get a better job in the future), Leng has also taken happily to teaching art and drawing to the students.  He finds a picture of a suitable level of difficulty on the internet, copies it onto the classroom whiteboard and then gets the students to draw it.  This has achieved some remarkable results, with the children’s artistic abilities blossoming as they are challenged to draw more and more difficult things. In the three years since he arrived, Leng has seen many changes in the village, with happier villagers who now have education for their children and hopes for the future. 

Leng studied Business Administration for four years at Cambodia University for Specialities, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree.  One of his brothers is also at University.  Leng’s Dad is a tuk tuk driver, whilst his Mum is a housewife who looks after an elderly, sick relative.
In his spare time Leng likes to surf the net, listen to music, watch tv, go fishing, and especially play and watch volleyball. Leng is an amazing asset to Manna4Life and The Mango Tree School, and we don't know what we would do without him!
At The Mango Tree School, strong emphasis is placed on student attendance, and as a result the school boasts an enviable attendance rate of 95% (compared to the Cambodian average 85%). This is all the more impressive when considering some of the issues students face in getting to school each day.

For example, in traditional Cambodian culture, older children will often be called on to undertake childcare duties for their younger siblings. This is quite prevalent in the Tang Khiev Village, were many parents must travel to secure work, and is a common reason for children's non attendance at school. Further, the parents of some children do not see the value in education - particularly where the child may be contributing to household incomes by performing work or through begging.

To help counteract these issues, the School has a dedicated officer whose job it is to communicate with families, discuss attendance and to help parents understand the importance of education. The Mango Tree School staff provide support to children in these circumstances so their education does not suffer, whilst working to gradually change traditional views on the value of education in Cambodia (particularly for girls).

Kaliyan is a Grade 2 student at The Mango Tree School. In a single parent family, with three younger brothers, Kaliyan is often required to care for her youngest sibling (Heng, 10 months old), while her mother works in the rice fields or laundry. After a number of school absences, the School Officer visited with Kaliyan and her mother. While discussing the importance of education to Kaliyan's future helped her mother to better understand the need for regular school attendance, it did not change the fact that occasionally there was no other option for the family than for Kaliyan to care for little Heng. On these occasions it was agreed that Kaliyan should attend school, bringing Heng with her. While not ideal, this at least ensures that she does not miss valuable school time and helps to support the family until alternative arrangements can be secured.

Australian Friend and Supporter Ruth recently visited the Tang Khiev Village, coming back with many stories to share about the progress Manna4Life has been making and about day to day life in the Village. Here she recounts for us her experience of the morning school run!
Mornings in the village were a busy time.  Most children in the village were keen to come to school, some of them were ready with their school bags on their backs (the ones they were all given at Christmas time) and wandering towards the school by 6.15am!

Others were a bit tardier, rushing on their too-big bikes to quickly buy something to eat before lining up with their classmates at the school door.  Popular breakfast items with the children on this occasion were banana-leaf-wrapped pumpkin, sticky rice and coconut folded into a sweet pancake, and white rice-powder slabs of jelly called Stirred Pudding.

At 6.30am the school bus left the village to collect children who attend The Mango Tree School from nearby settlements.   Bumping past families as they conducted their morning routines of washing, sweeping, eating and preparing for the day, the bus stopped twice to pick up about twelve excitable children.  Some were carrying their breakfast of hot soup in a plastic bag, or a small bag of rice.  Having their photos taken as they were on the bus was a good start to their day! By 7am the children were lined up to go into their classrooms to start morning lessons of maths, science, social studies, Khmer and English according to the government curriculum.  After a 2 hour break from 11am they then returned for afternoon school of music, art, sport, comic book (discussion of values) and homework club. It is clear the children were excited about school and were keen to learn in such a supportive environment.
Earlier this year, one of our Perth based Manna4Life friends, Rosanna, was kind enough to use her skills as a Yoga Teacher to help raise money for The Mango Tree School. Running a blindfold yoga session near the beautiful Cottesloe Beach, Rosanna and her yoga enthusiasts raised $2000!!

We know our supporters all have amazing skills (and hidden talents!), so if you are keen to help out and run a mini fundraising event (morning tea's, bake sales, clothing swaps, sporting achievements and personal challenges), please let us know via our email.
Give A Child An Education Today!
The Mango Tree Primary School and associated child sponsorships are undertaken in partnership with Global Development Group (ABN 57 102 400 993) (Project J835N), an Australian NGO approved by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the Great Commission Stories. For more information about the tax deductibility of donations and how donations are distributed within Manna4Life projects please refer to the Manna4Life website for donation information for your region.
Copyright © 2016 Manna4Life, All rights reserved.

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