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Goodbye 2017, hello 2018

2017 is almost over and that means it’s time for us to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported us this year. That might mean checking in on this website, spreading the word about our work via Facebook, or donating.

As anyone who has visited us will know, we are a very small NGO with a small budget and a small team, but there’s nothing small about our work. Every day around a hundred kids come through our door, kids who have been driven by extreme poverty to either work from a young age or dragged towards a life of gangs, drugs and crime. At our center, they find sanctuary and schooling.

Because of individual donors we were able to pay our rent and our teachers and keep offering these lifeline services to some of Cambodia’s most disadvantaged kids.

If you donated, this is what your money meant to these children. We were able to help around 1,500 kids in 2017. Around two new students joined us every week, 90% of students attended every day, and 92% said they now felt motivated to learn, often for the first time in their lives. Even more importantly, 61% were also going to public school every day, meaning they are on track to a full education and the possibility of a bright future.

We’re talking about kids like 11 year old Lan, whose desperately poor family had been driven out of their countryside home when she was 8. She spent the next 3 years in Phnom Penh’s slums, being rejected by NGOs her family asked to educate her. On 18th October she arrived at Tiny Toones for her first day at school and began learning. “Thank you for allowing me to study,” she said in that first week. “I don’t want to leave.” Not only is she still with us, but she’s one of 384 children receiving support and counselling through our peer mentoring programme, kids who’ve been through terrible trauma or still face appalling family circumstances.

Which brings us to 2018. In the coming year we want to reach more kids, and improve the education we offer to them. We want to increase the number who feel able to return to public school, and see more students go on to university.

If you can help us again over the next year we’d be incredibly grateful. We’ve just launched our new fundraising drive for 2018. Just $10 pays an inspiring teacher for a whole day. $30 provides a whole month of education, including dance, to one of our kids. Starting the year with a good fundraising drive will free up our small team’s time to focus on improving the lives of these kids rather than fighting for every cent. You can find out more about our plans at US readers, remember: donations made before 31st December are tax deductible!

But if you aren’t in a financial position to support us again, we completely understand. The most important thing we want you to know is that your support in 2017 really made a difference, and that we are very grateful for it.

A very happy 2018 to you, you deserve it.

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