Action 4 Cambodia

 ACTION 4 CAMBODIA.

 The Parish Charity of St.Alban and Good Shepherd, Blackburn, England.

 Parish Priest: Canon Jude Harrison.

 

A Prayer for Cambodia.

We ask Mary , the Mother of our Saviour, to help the people of Cambodia. We ask her to intercede for us so that God’s love and Care may be felt in the lives of those wounded in body and spirit, and suffering from the breakdowns in society.

We pray for those who are trying to improve the lives of the people of Cambodia and ask that God may give them the vision of a new, peaceful and invigorated nation and the means to create it.

Our Lady of Cambodia, pray for them.

Our Lady of Cambodia, pray for us.

 

Mission Statement.

The charity exists to bring together the previous two parishes of St. Alban’s and The Good Shepherd into one united parish and Catholic community, and to give this community the opportunity to develop spiritually and to fulfil Christ’s command ‘to love one another as I have loved you. With the help of the associated schools, St. Alban’s RC Primary School and Our Lady & St. John Catholic College, it will attempt to provide spiritual, moral and financial support to our representative in his or her work in the designated areas of Cambodia

It is our aim to create links with people in our community with people in Cambodia. We shall organise a variety of fund-raising events in our parish and schools to give financial support to our representative. It is hoped that through this we will provide children with a reasonable standard of education and, where necessary, with medical support for them and the adults in their community.

We also hope to respond to emergencies and to provide relief at a time of trauma, conflict and natural disaster.

 

What is in a name?

It is now seven years since we set up our parish charity ‘I Believe, Action Cambodia Today.’ Recently we have discovered that there is another charity with a similar name. This explains some of the letters we have received which made us wonder if they were really for us. We also received compliments for an interview in the ‘Irish Times’, but that wasn’t us. To avoid any further complications we are changing the name of our charity to ‘Action 4 Cambodia’. This new name reflects the two churches in our parish and our supporting schools, St. Alban’s R.C. Primary School and Our Lady & St John Catholic College. From now on we would ask anyone who wishes to donate by cheque to make the payment to ‘Action 4 Cambodia’.  Many thanks for your continued support.

 

CHURCH APPEAL FOR ‘ACTION 4 CAMBODIA’ MADE ON THE WEEKEND OF 11TH-12TH FEB. 2017.

It is a year since our parish charity last made an appeal for funds in our three churches. Over the last twelve months there have been several developments that mean that we need your help more than ever. Last February I told you that we had received a request for $20,000 or £14,500 from Fr Indon, our contact at Jesuit Service Cambodia. This was to make a contribution to the payment of 8 teachers  and six librarians working in our school, ‘New Bonneys’ in Champak Sa and another primary school in the neighbouring village  of Popeil, and for working in our refurbished mobile libraries in the education of children and adults. We were also asked for funds for equipment and stationary for our new school extension, for new school uniforms, and 29 Bike Scholarships and 35 Rice Scholarships. This was a big ask, particularly after we had only paid for the school extension the year before.

I answered Fr. Indon by telling him that whilst we had most of the money he wanted we didn’t have all of it, but we would try to raise the rest in the coming months. Part of our effort to do this was last’ years appeal. We did, however, think that much more would have to be done than having just one appeal. That is where we were wrong. In one week in February we managed to raise all the extra money needed. We got near to it with the church collections, but in the following two days we received several anonymous donations from people of our three churches and as a result we were able to despatch $20,000 dollars to Jesuit Services Cambodia. An achievement in days rather than weeks. The money paid for everything asked for. As I said in my annual report in October, we are now helping to educate around 3,600 people, children and adults in Cambodia.

That is the good news, now for the rest. Since last February things have not been as good. On the  bright side, private, individual donations have remained strong and we should like to thank those who slipped us a cheque or cash amount, sometimes on a regular basis. Unfortunately, we are not raising as much as we did on our social events. The social we held in The Parish Hall at Good Shepherd in September raised £333, the lowest amount we have ever raised for such an event, and with the lowest attendance. Perhaps we are doing something wrong. Our funds in the bank have also taken a dive. This is difficult to see just by looking at our bank statements, but here comes the dreaded ‘b’ word, Brexit. All our financial transactions with Cambodia are done in US$ and with the value of the £ dropping what we can buy has dropped by 20%. Let us hope that this situation is not permanent. I informed Fr. Indon of this in the hope that he would not ask us for something we couldn’t afford. I told him that I would get back to him by the end of this month. So what am I appealing for this morning/tonight? As with most appeals there will be a retiring collection at the end of Mass, but we have got to appreciate that we may need to watch our own situations as the problems affecting our charity are also affecting our own bank accounts. I tried to get this over to Fr.  Indon but found it difficult and didn’t want to labour the point as we remain one of the richest countries in the world and the people we are helping have nothing to put in a bank account.

Things, however, are far from gloomy. Last year a major part of our fund went on Bike and Rice Scholarships. This directly paid for the education of 64 children. We already have the money for them to continue their education for another year, and for several more if we are asked. We also have money to help pay for the teachers and the librarians, so hopefully we can continue to play a major part in the education of 3,600 people in Cambodia. So far we have not been asked to support any new major project. So yes, if you can support our charity financially, fine, but we understand that it isn’t a good time for us to be making this appeal…….BUT there are many other ways you can help.

When we reviewed our last social event we decided that we were not offering what people wanted. So we are appealing for your ideas, ways for large or small numbers of people to raise money. You may also want to organise something yourself with your own friends and family. We used to have a supporter who organised coffee mornings and regularly made a donation to us. Things like that are great and keep people in their own comfort zones. We want to hear from you.

Two years ago Mavis Deeney did a parachute jump to celebrate her eightieth birthday. Perhaps you have ideas about sponsored events. We want to hear from you.

Our charity is in its eleventh year. It was set up to bring the two parishes of St. Alban’s and Good Shepherd together as one parish and to benefit a community in need somewhere else in the world. Now we are in a similar situation again. We now know that with the re-structuring of parishes Holy Souls will be joining the party, and our charity is there to help us get together. In the next few days we will be asking for one or two people from Holy Souls to join our committee. We want to hear from them.

But there is another way we can help, and I have already made a commitment to Fr Indon on your behalf. One constant request from Cambodia over the last eleven years has been for prayers. We have  our own prayer based on the prayer to the Good Shepherd, which has been said over many years at Good Shepherd,  but any prayer will do. Jesus told us to ask, to pray……and he wants to hear from you.

 

Finally, as supporters of Jesuit Service Cambodia we are part of a greater group from all over the world that last year raised $2,322.006. All our efforts are channelled around Champak Sa, near Siem Reap. Jesuit Service provided that area with 12 houses for 12 families, monetary loans for 29 farming families,  26 senior college/university grants for poor and disabled students, planted 790 trees, built a toilet for 7 disabled people, Ran and maintained 3 schools and 1 mini school, provided 29 Bike Scholarships and 35 Rice Scholarships, bought 63 school uniforms, paid the wages of 8 teachers and 6 librarians, supplied 89 wheelchairs, paid for the medical care of 17 people, provided school materials for 1154 pupils and built a pond and a well for a village………..your help is in there somewhere. Thank you for all you have done, this is not just an appeal for money, it is an appeal for yourself. How can you support and give yourself. We want to hear from you……Thank you.

 

 

Report by the Chairman and Treasurer of the charity ‘Action 4 Cambodia’ given at the A.G.M. held at St. Alban’s Presbytery on Thursday, 20th October, 2016.

This is a report on the period from September 2015 to the date of this meeting. The AGM is a little later this year as our previous meeting was set aside to make the final arrangements for our social which was held in The Good Shepherd Parish Hall on Saturday, 24th September.

The first event of this period was a ‘Lancashire Evening’ held The Good Shepherd Parish Hall on Saturday  12th September. It was an evening of quizzes, music, raffles, conversation and potato pie. It raised £537.

On the evening of 15th  November our Primary School held a fashion evening as part of the programme ‘ Growing in Faith Together. This raised £589.

With the changes in personnel and management at Our Lady and St. John, also in November, I had a meeting with the Headteacher’s P.A. to explain our charity and the school’s previous support and involvement in it. Two days later I received an e-mail saying that the Headteacher, Mr. Murden, wanted to continue working with us and that the school would support us in any way that it could.

In our November Committee  Meeting we asked Canon Jude if we could make an appeal in our two churches in the run up to Christmas. It was decided that so many charities were collecting at that time of year we would be better collecting in February. This was to be our first collection in church for three years. In the previous years we had reported back at the end of Mass on all we had done and were planning to do but we had never asked for donations there and then.

We planned to speak in both churches, at all the Masses on the weekend of February 6th and 7th. Canon Jude also had a word with the Parish Committee at Holy Souls and we were invited to appeal at the two Masses there on Sunday, 7th February. The collections together raised £2,500. As a result of the success of this appeal we were able to transfer $20.000 to Jesuit Service, Cambodia. $4,000 of this went towards paying the salaries of nine teachers in the primary school we have built and another school in a nearby village, and six librarians working with the mobile libraries we have re-furbished. The rest was to pay for school supplies in our new school, for new school uniforms and Bike and Rice Scholarships for 61 pupils. Through the schools and adult education programmes we are currently helping to educate over 3,600 people.

With the much appreciated contribution made by the people of Holy Souls and the interest shown by them it was decided to invite them to formally become part of our charity. In agreement with the Parish Committee at Holy Souls it was decided to make the invitation when I go and meet the Committee after we have all received the final report from the Bishop on the re-organisation of the Salford Diocese.

I should like to take this opportunity to thank all those people from the three churches who anonymously give us private donations or make regular payments through standing orders. Their contribution is a very important part of our annual income.

In the summer two of our committee set up a ‘Pick a Date’ competition in the two churches. This raised a further £210.

On September 24th we held a social in The Parish Hall at The Good Shepherd. We did hope for a better attendance, but the event raised £333.

We are currently waiting for Fr Indon to let us know what our money will used for this year. Early thoughts are we shall be concentrating on maintaining staffing levels in our school, ‘New Bonneys’ and a similar number of Bike and Rice Scholarships as last year. Unfortunately the money we send to Cambodia has to be sent in US dollars. With the recently fall in the value of the pound we will be sending less money this year than we did last year.

Once again, however, I can say that all the money we have made has gone to Cambodia or is in our bank account waiting to be sent. Administration costs and printing have been met by the committee and our two partner schools , St. Alban’s R.C.Primary School and Our Lady and St, John Catholic College.

Fr. Indon and his team at Jesuit Service, Cambodia are very grateful for your help and remember you in their prayers. On behalf of our committee I should like to thank you all for your continued support.

                                                                                                                                                                     Stephen Hedderman (Chairman)

 

TREASURER’S REPORT.

This year we have raised £7,920, made up of standing orders - £525, donations £1,250 and events £6,145

We spent £14,688, which was the amount sent to Jesuit Services in Cambodia.

We now have £3,040 in our account at 20th October 2016.

                                                                                                            Chris Birch (Treasurer)

Our Projects.

Bike Scholarships. These enable pupils to attend Junior High School several miles away from the village. The pupils attendance is monitored to make sure they are using the bikes correctly. Anyone with poor attendance has the bike taken away and given to a more deserving candidate. The current cost of this scholarship is £18.

Rice Scholarship. This pays for a supply of rice for a family and releases a young child from having to go out into the fields to pick rice each day, and enables them to go to primary school. The current cost of this scholarship is £38.