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This Mother’s Day, help a Cambodian mother

This Mother’s Day, we are reposting this appeal from Journeys Within Our Community because we can’t think of a better way of saying “thank you” to moms everywhere. We hope you’ll consider donating…

Our mothers are heroes. From the moment we’re brought into the world she cares for us; she strives to give us every opportunity, encourages us to pursue our dreams and is not afraid to tell us when we are wrong! She is the role model who encourages us to become the individual we are today, teaching us values and morals to live by and always standing by us when we feel the rest of the world is against us. This is the case throughout the world, whether you live in the US, Europe or Cambodia! Our mother wants us to be the absolute best we can be.

However, despite improvements over the past decade the sad truth is that in Cambodia many mothers cannot give their children the same opportunities and head start in life that others receive elsewhere. Cambodia still has one of the highest infant mortalities in Asia with 25 children per 1000 births not living beyond 5 years, highlighting the importance of access to proper services and healthcare to mothers and their children, especially in rural areas.

Mother's Day in Cambodia

This is why JWOC is working directly with and training rural women to overcome such hurdles, so they can give their children every chance to maximize their health and prospects for the future. With the support of village chiefs and a trained midwife, we are working with women to deliver maternal health training in areas such as family planning, pregnancy and mother/infant health in an engaging and informative way. In 2016, JWOC aims to deliver training through our scholarship students to over 300 women across 5 villages, a service most would not have access to or be able to afford in rural communities.

So on this Mother’s Day here at JWOC, we are not only celebrating our own mothers but also the millions of mothers throughout Cambodia who are putting their children first. With your support, we can help more women within Siem Reap province, just $30 can provide a woman with maternal health training, a donation of $300 would cover training for half the women in a village and $500 training for a whole village. With each donation you will receive a special project report within six months that allows you to see the positive impact that your generosity has had on the health of rural Cambodian mothers and their children.

On this Mother’s Day, I would invite you to consider not only celebrating our own mothers, but also celebrate the determination of Cambodian women by making a donation that will give them and their children a fair opportunity in life.

Donate now.


Mother’s Day Celebrations In Thailand

By: Jeab Meechai- Thailand Country Director

In Thailand, the 12th of August is celebrated as the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit and the entire country immerses in celebrations. As the Queen is also seen as being the mother of all Thai people, this day is also celebrated as ‘Mother’s Day.’ The first Mother’s Day/ Queen’s birthday celebration was in 1976.  Ever since then, the 12th August has been celebrated as Mother’s Day.  Thai people celebrate this day because of the queen’s benevolence towards needy and poor in the nation. The Queen has captured the hearts of Thai people through her devotion toward welfare and well- being of her people.

H.M. The Queen

A few weeks before the Queen’s birthday, preparations start at full swing. People all around the country raise Thai flags and decorate their houses with the portrait of Her Majesty the Queen. This is their way of expressing their loyalty and honor to her. Similarly, local businesses are decorated with her portraits, garlands, and colorful lights. In Bangkok, the area around the Grand Palace is decorated with colorful lights and a fireworks display is held.

People raise H.M. The Queen’s portrait with the National flag

On the 12th August, early in the morning government officials, royal army, students and teachers gather around the high tower clock. They form a procession and walk to the king’s palace. On the way to the palace, the band plays popular music pieces. After arrival at the King’s palace, the procession presents flowers to the representative of HM the Queen. It’s followed by the song ”Mother of Kingdom’, praising both Queen and King. In the evening there is a ceremony at the Queen’s garden, where government officials light candles. In this way, they pay respect to the Queen and ask for her long life.

This day is not only limited to the birthday celebration of the Queen; Thai people also take this day as an opportunity to thank their dear mothers for their unconditional love. Mother’s day morning in Thailand starts by giving alms to the monks. Following the Thai tradition, kids kneel down before their mother to show their love and gratitude. They present her with white jasmine flowers or garlands.  In return, mothers shower their blessings on the kids. On this day, white jasmine flowers are a common sight in Thailand as they are the symbol of maternal love. The white color of the flower symbolizes the purity of mother’s true love, which will never change. Charitable activities, donations, and offerings to monks are also an important part of the day to express children’s love and gratitude towards their mothers.

Jasmine is the symbol of Mother’s Day

I look forward to taking my mother for a walk around the Grand Palace this weekend to see colorful lights and fireworks and giving her a jasmine flower!

Leavin’ on a jet plane…

I always get a bit nostalgic when it comes time to switch continents. The truth is I love both my homes and in Cambodia I miss the calm of my Truckee house, and the girls in my Truckee office, but when in Truckee I miss my staff and friends in Cambodia and the constant adventures that happen while living in Southeast Asia. With Saturday and our flight home approaching fast I pulled some of my favorite moments from the last eight months, it made me realize…we’ve been busy!

We left snow covered ground in Truckee and headed back to the tropics. The kids were more than happy to get back in the swing of tuk tuk’s and chicken feet:

October Back to Cambodia

October Eating Chicken Feet at a Wedding

Couper turned two along with Sabai and we had a great visit from my parents. I also had a busy and rewarding trip to Laos to visit hotels, try out some new tours and visit the JWOC language school. I ended that trip with a visit to Bangkok where I went to a Salsa competition (as a spectator):

November Birthday Cake

November Visiting Luang Prabang and the JWOC school

A busy month at the B&B, but Brandon and I managed to sneak in a trip to the farm in Koh Ker and Callie was in her first (we imagine of many) performance:

December, Romantic trip to Koh Ker

December At the school Christmas Party

A busy month for JWOC with a documentary being filmed on clean water in Cambodia. I hopped over for a weekend in LA for a Nikaya Trade Show and we enjoyed a family night at Angkor Wat. The month ended with a fun mother son and nanny trip to Phnom Penh:

January Working on A Drop in the Bucket

January Nikaya trade show in LA

January Night Tour At Angkor Wat

January Phnom Penh with Couper and Mom

We had a new class of scholarship students at JWOC, our biggest class ever, but I had to take a trip to Bangkok to bid a fond farewell to Thailand Director Waew:

February Working with a new class of JWOC scholarship students

February In Bangkok for Waew's goodbye party

Narla graduated! and we took a much-needed family vacation to the beach enjoying Phuket, Koh Phi Phi and Krabi and ending with some time in Bangkok:

March Narla graduates

March Thailand Beaches

March McDonalds in Bangkok

After celebrating the Khmer New Year Callie and I decided to head North to Chiang Mai where we tried out a new elephant experience and some new hotels, a great mother daughter trip for us:

April New Years BBQ dinner

April In the tuk tuk in Chiang Mai

April Mahout Training in Chiang Mai

This month has been a blur, we delivered sewing machines to the prison for our new program for Nikaya, we did a spur of the moment trip to Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh for Mother’s Day and we have the Grand Opening of the new JWOC Center this Saturday!

May Delivering sewing machines to the prison

May Mother's Day trip to Sihanoukville

This doesn’t even touch on the amazing guests and volunteers we had and the huge leaps the kids have made in school and swimming and just growing up in general. It’s been a fun time and I am looking forward to summer in the states and then back for more soon!

Overnight bus from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville

We took the new overnight bus from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville to check it out and to get to the beach for Mother’s Day. I didn’t even get my camera out of the bag so…

* I don’t have a photo of Brandon getting the second to last row and Callie and I getting two seats in the back row with chairs that didn’t recline!
* I don’t have a photo of the scary war movie they played, though Couper can tell you about it
* I don’t have a photo of Brandon taking the last Ambien
* I don’t have a photo of me managing to find half an Ambien and saying a little prayer that it would do the trick
* I don’t have a photo of the Ambien taking effect and me trying to lie down next to Callie on two seats
* I don’t have a photo of the bus braking and Callie and I falling off the two seats
* I don’t have a photo of Couper freaking out in the middle of the night probably because of the scary war movie and Brandon and I having to trade places because he wanted his mommy
* I don’t have a photo of Callie rolling off Brandon’s knee and onto the floor
* I don’t have a photo of Brandon and I quickly changing back with me picking a screaming Callie off the floor on my way
* I don’t have a photo of the dirty looks we got from our fellow bus travelers
* I don’t have a photo of all of us arriving bleary eyed in Sihanoukville
* I don’t have a photo of us sleeping most of Mother’s Day because we were so tired from the bus ride

Yea, I don’t have those photos.

Travelers Information: The new “luxury” bus runs daily from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville departing at 8pm and arriving at 6am. There is a “bathroom” on the bus and it is $16 per person. You can buy bus tickets at World Express Travel near the Old Market, ask for Sophea and ask to not be in the back row.