As we make great strides with vaccinations and the opening of our lives again, I wanted to take a moment to raise awareness about those that are not so fortunate. Over the last 8 years, we have supported Choice Cambodia, a charity dear to my heart for the wonderful work they do in providing schooling for the local community.

I recently received an update from Ross White, Secretary of CHOICE England, that highlighted the dramatic impact that covid is now having on the lives and futures of the children that had been attending the school. With donations having halved and with no volunteers they have had to temporarily close the school.

Cambodia was doing reasonably well with the pandemic and up to the 20th February this year there were zero deaths and only about 250 cases. Then a few foreign visitors escaped quarantine, a couple of these were infected with the new strain. From this, they are now over 40 deaths and about 3500 cases. They entered a very strict lockdown, people could not leave their village, masks are compulsory and no supermarkets or banks in our village, alcohol sales are banned. Prices have doubled for locally grown vegetables, chicken, and meat.

The effect on CHOICE has been dramatic, they have had just one volunteer in the last year and losing some of their main donors has seen donations halve. As a result, they have had to lay two staff members and the rest being put on half-pay.  If this continues for too long, they will have to close the school permanently.

Unfortunately, so many of the people they helped are so poor and those that did have jobs, many have lost them. They are having to cherry-pick the worst cases and help as they can afford, either with rice or for the sick, medical support where possible.

So, if you can help support Choice Cambodia please do so here, it will make a real difference.