2017 UPDATE

*rubs eyes* is it almost March already? I bet your wondering where the year has gone! well we can tell you with a series of updates of our families! So sit back, wriggle until your comfortable and get ready to hear all about whats been happening over here in Cambodia! 

We will start with our youngest members and work our way up- 

Kids, Our little star lights. 
Even though Christmas is not a Buddhist holiday, for some strange reason their school decided to throw a big Christmas party, and our little disco divas loved every second of it, each class did a dance performance in front of the whole school where they could show case their best moves. 

All our little ones moved up a grate last semester, and while Raksa aced every class with A's, the rest struggled in the higher grade. On seeing their first semester results we knew they needed some extra help and assistance, So Mumma Cas marched down to the school to question why they all received such low marks, when attendance is 100% and participation is at 95%. 
After a chat with both the teachers and the principle it was decided extra assistance in the classrooms was necessary. When second semester rolled around every single score had improved a grade, the D's had turned to C's the B's to A's, they all came bouncing in to show us their improvement. Smiles from ear to ear! Proud. As. Punch. 

This year, one of our smallest bubs started "Big kid school" He was riddled with excitement everyday before he started, waking up every morning asking 'Is today the day?' 
Unfortunately our little Darlin has been in hospital all week with a severe parasite, something thats all too common here in Cambodia. We are happy to report he is now on the mend and will be back at school in no time!  

Thourn and Jill
We love visiting Thourn, its always a laugh and a reminder to see the fun side of life. On our last Thourn insisted on showing us exactly how to use the badminton rackets we'd given them for Christmas. The kids told us she plays more than they do, and hides the shuttlecocks so they cant play without her! Its impossible not to giggle when Thourn giggles, its contagious!
For those of you who knew Lauren and I's grandpa 'Bibby' she reminds us a lot of him! 

Jill the cow had a turn for the worst this month, contracting an infection that almost claimed her life. Thourn rang our social worker Samnang in a bit of a panic, asking for assistance.
Samnang was out on a delivery with Papa, and for all of you who don't know, Papa's secret nickname is the cow-whisperer. He was over there in a flash, knew what was wrong just by looking at her, he sent Samnang too the vet to get some medicine while he sat there massaging Jills stomach and legs.

VOLLA! Within 24 hours Jilly was back to her old self! Thourn said it coursed her enough worry to last a life-time! 

Heng
On our last visit to see Heng, we sat and talked about her veggies.

She spoke about each crop, and how much they are flourishing. 
She spoke about how she is now selling them to other villages. 
She spoke about what it takes to ensure all year round veggies.

Heng spoke with so much pride as she explained how she plants different crops for different season and how each area is carefully thought out.

It got us to thinking you can be highly educated and have never stepped foot in a classroom, you can be a well- informed professional at anything you are passionate about.

This is Heng, our vegetable growing guru, the most capable women in the world, standing proudly with her brand new 'cropcare' equipment.


This year has had it's ups and downs, we have lost donors and gained donors. The AUS $ exchange rate is really taking its tole here with the amount we have been left with after the conversion. Every semester is a claw to get the funds we need to secure the educational future for our kids, so we thank each and everyone of you who continually choose to support us. 

We had a set back when a donor told us they would not continue to support us they have decided to donate to Africa next year, our hearts broke, but of course there are always angels in the world, and upon hearing of our worries, rallied together and sent the amount for the next years fees. 

We are so grateful for all of you. For trusting us, and supporting us. You are changing lives. 

Pillowslip dresses

The wonderful ladies from Quota international Geelong have been busy hand making dresses from pillowslips and sending them to little girls around the world. We were lucky enough to be donated 24 of these beautiful dresses.

Since we only have a handful of little girls, we passed on some to our friends and collaborative partners at Green Gecko Project, and don't they just look stunning!

Thank you to all the ladies at Qutoa International Geelong for brightening up these little ladies day, just in time for Pchum Ben!

Rain rain, go away

Raining season is always magical in Cambodia, but it's an extra challenge for us to visit our rural families.

Last year was so bad even our truck couldn't make it through the mud for the food drops. 
Here's a photo from this weeks visit as Loz and Samnang abandoned the truck and set off on foot!

Papa's a... Farmer?

We just love this photo

This photo was snapped just after a delivery to Heng. It was such a special moment we just couldn't help but capture it so it stayed in our hearts forever. 
As we bounced down the bumpy road on the way to Heng's house she spotted us before we spotted her. Heng was helping to prepare food for a wedding in the village when she saw the truck bouncing down the road. We heard her screams of excitement before we saw her. She came running out of the wedding tent all claps and cheers.
After our greats and meets, after the donation exchange, and after the nutrition chats, as we were about to jump back on the bumpy road in our trusty truck, Heng ran over to her crops, grabbed a bag and starting filling it with fresh produce, She told Papa, if he plants this, he too can have his very own luscious crops. Now it was Papa who was cheering and clapping!

She told us it was now time for her to start giving back and if teaching Papa how to farm was the way to do it, then thats what she would do!

Oh how our hearts burst!

Salon Atouche

 It was a very proud moment yesterday.

For the last 8 months, Atouche has been a student hairdresser with Rock Paper Salon. A Hair Salon & Training Center devoted to elevating the role of women in society by providing vocational training in hairdressing & salon business.

We so overwhelmed by her achievements over the last 8 months, she has come so far. 
Yesterday she even cut and styled Lauren's hair all by herself and has started taking her own clients.

Well done to all involved, its so great to see empowered, confident women

Thank you Morris Finance

If you have been following our journey at Hearts to Harmony for a while now you will be very familiar with the names 'PAPA' and 'Morris Finance Ltd'
Both, mean a great deal to us and contribute in big ways to the success we have had.

We are so excited and grateful that Morris Finance have kindly offered to sponsor Papa's wage for another year!

Securing Papa's wage for another year means the children will continue to be driven to school safely and on time, also that all families will receive their rice and assistance on time!

We are so grateful to have the guidance and support from the team at Morris Finance, Orkun thom thom for continually believing in us

Awards are rewarding !

Today was a very special day for put little Srey Neak. Her school had a graduation and award ceremony for honorary students.

Srey Neak not only won a 'Certificate of Excellence' but also the top Maths student in her year.

We are all extremely proud

Quack, Quack, Quack

We have purchased 50 ducklings for her to raise on her land.

She is extremely excited as ducks are a big asset for a Khmer family. 
Ducks can not only provide eggs to feed the family but can also generate a good income for Toum when the are grown and wants to sell some. 
The have an added benefit of providing nutritious manure for her veggie patch.

Happy Families, Happy ducks in their new home!

New students!

Two very excited sisters ready for their first day of 'big kid' school! 
Anika and Kanika, off to start summer school.

We owe our gratitude to a very special family who prefers not to be named, but know, you're our angels.

Anika and Kanika we're bouncing around full of excitement and joy and proudly showing off their uniform for all too see.

We can't wait to watch them grow and thrive, the sky's the limit little ones!

​WE BOUGHT A COW!

Yesterday we bought a cow to be raised and loved by Tourn. Tourn is a wonderful mother to her children, so she seemed the perfect fit to be the mother of our new family member 'Jilly'

Although moooooooving the cow wasn't so easy as the buying part. The usual way of moving the cows is walking them, with an occasional whip if they are not cooperating. This just wasn't going to happen on Cassie's watch.

So Cassie personally walked Bessie to her new home 8 km's away, in thongs! We can proudly say Bessie walked the whole way without a whip touching her, and following the encouraging words from Cassie "lets go to our new home Jilly!"

Welcome to the family!

Setting an example

On our last visit to Tourns house we sat and had a discussing on the importance of setting a good example for her children. We spoke about the value of hard work and dedication and how by living these qualities Tourn would be setting a strong example for her children. 
She told spoke about her fear that her children would drop out of school as she did and was worried that an example had already been set. But what we didn't realize is the compassion she shows and her ability to share love has never come unnoticed by her children. 
This week on our latest visit, you can imagine our joy and heart warming surprise to see Tourns latest project. 
She told us that after our last visit she sat and thought about how she can improve her life herself, and how to show her children her own strength. 
She has started making woven mats to sell and generate more income. Each mat is intricate and time consuming, and she is still learning and practicing. 
We are so proud of her initiative and determination to be a positive role model for her children

A day of Hope

1/22/2015
Today has been a day of waiting, worrying and hope as one of your beautiful Hearts to Harmony young adults went under the knife to remove a large lump from her breast. 


It all started on Monday when on one of our routine visits to some of the H2H families, our Project Manager Ali came to us worried and stressed as one young lady had complained with pain in her breast. 
They had visited a local Khmer doctor and was told without examination both breasts had to be removed, that just didn't sit right with us. 

So after a referral from a western doctor, we sat in the waiting room of the specialist clinic waiting for the results from an ultrasound. 

Emergency surgery was needed, but only to remove the lump not the whole breast. 

After a day of worried hearts and tear filled eyes, our beautiful girl is now in recovery. Keep her in your hearts as she continues to recover.

Stepping Stones Bicycle Donation

 

1/22/2015
Thanks to the amazing support we have had in regards to bicycle donations we had a big back log of donated bicycles. So instead of those wheels gathering dust we decided to share the love. Our good friends at Stepping Stones Cambodia are an english school 45ks from Siem Reap, and the surrounding families are in need of transportation. So over a course of 2 days and with some help from volunteers we delivered what we could to the families. A big thank you to our volunteers Carl, Sue, Georgie, Karren and Bryan for your donations and support. Also a big ORKUN THOM THOM to our friends Rachel and So, and everyone out at Stepping Stones for making us feel so welcome. 

Meet a Mumma

6/4/2014
This beautiful lady is Vong Vanet, she is a single mother of 5 beautiful children and is the newest family at H2H. Vanet lost her husband 4 years ago and since has struggled to earn an income. During wedding season she is a kitchen hand, washing 100s of plates and bowls. Vanet has an income of $30-$40 per month during this season, but lives off under $20 for the remaining months. Through all of this she knows the importance of education and proudly sends her children off to free khmer and english school everyday. Speaking no english yet she beams with pride as her babies great us with 'hello, how are you' in perfect english. Welcome to the family Vong Vanet! 

Bringing Hearts to Harmony First year RE-CAP


6/2/2014
What an Amazing year it's been for Hearts to Harmony! Things have progressed more than we could have imagined and we have you to thank for it!

In April 2014 Hearts to Harmony became an official registered Australian Charity! 
A big Thank you to Tara Fanning of Geoff Missen Accounting Geelong, who has volunteered her time to do this for us. We are more grateful than you will ever know. 
With the intention of paying for all the University and school fees for 21 people, we were blessed to have so much support. Our first years payment totaled a whopping $5,000 for 10 people to be educated and to be following their dreams. 
The 3 eldest children were enrolled into Western International school, with their uniforms, new school shoes and books paid for by our Hearts to Harmony donors. They were set. It was all a big shock for the little village kids at the beginning and with no English language experience they ended up taking to it like a duck takes to water. 
Our eldest Raksa (aged 12) began averaging D's an E's on her end of semester exam. Now, 12 months in, our bright star is averaging A's and B's. The future is so bright for them now. 
Our youngest babies were then put into "Mustard seed School" They can now say the days of the week, months and count to 100! We couldn't be more proud. 

With 5 older students then enrolled in University, studying things such as, Law, Tourism and Hospitality, Fine arts and Banking and Finance and Engineering, they we set for the year ahead. 

We then faced our first unexpected bump in the road. Our beautiful Bora (aged 20) was complaining about a toothache. After a visit to the dentist Bora needed 10 bridges, 3 teeth out, and 6 root canals. OUCH!  We then decided it was time for all to have a check up at the dentist. 16 out of 21 had NEVER visited the dentist.
 It was a trip that lasted all day and is still continuing for a lot of the adults and children and their teeth were in such bad condition. And you guessed it, EVERYONE GOT BRAND NEW TOOTHPASTE AND TOOTHBRUSH, and not to mention demonstrations on how to use them! 

Then, a few weeks later, Valis (aged 24, studying Law) was diagnosed with Typhoid. This is a serious issue and was on antibiotics and a lot of rest for a few weeks. What a set back for our up and coming lawyer! 

What are we doing now you ask?

Well we have just started our first stages of our expansion! 
We are increasing our family of 21 to 36! This means more rices bag drop off's, more hygiene packs, hygiene education workshops, more water-wells and toilet facilities! 
So to kick start this new project we are launching a 3 month 'Fund A Family Campaign' called 'Bringing Hearts to Harmony'. 

By holding an event, you can help us get the word out and raise the funds for this project. 

So what’s the plan? H2H will be providing each family with the necessities and then following up on a monthly basis. Initial support lasts for a year and ongoing support will then be evaluated. Each family will receive:

-       -Toilet / water pump

-       -Monthly bag of rice

-       -Hygiene pack (soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner)

-       -Hygiene education workshops

-       -Bicycle

How can you help?? We’re asking our supporters around the world to help out by throwing a fundraiser for H2H’s new project. We’ve got fun ideas, tshirts, flyers and endless enthusiasm to help you help us! You could:

-      - Garage sale

-       -Tea party

-       -Raffle

-       -Market stalls

        -Gold coin donations

-       -Casual work days

-       -Dinner Party

-       -Fun run

-       -Movie night

-       -Or your own crazy idea!

Providing a family of 5 with these basic necessities costs just $500 dollars per year. That means it costs you just $1.37 per day to help improve the health and livelihood of an entire Cambodian family.

What a great way to get involved! 

We would like to send love and thanks to everyone who has helped us so far. Knowing we have the support and love from so many people makes everything so worth while. We value every cent donated and promise to continue to do our best. This is only the beginning! 

From everyone at Hearts to Harmony OR KUN THOM THOM!

Proud as punch

7/9/2013
We are over the moon! Bunnat and Mesa are too smart for kindergarden and have been MOVED UP a grade. They are very excited to meet their new teacher and study with the "big" kids. These boys only started school six months ago and spoke no English. We are so proud of their efforts and cannot wait to see them grow and learn!

Care Packs

7/10/2013
Four weeks ago we had a generous donation from Georgie Warren and Slavko Surla. The money was used to buy care packs for our little family. The basic essentials we take for granted at home! Thank you so much!