Children in Families (CIF) ABLE Project – our project supporting children with disabilities and the families caring for them – was recently featured in CIF’s GlobalGiving Accelerator Campaign. GlobalGiving is the largest global crowdfunding community for NGOs and charities. We had three weeks to raise at least $5000 from at least 40 donors. If we were successful, we would receive much needed funds to support the ABLE Project and secure a permanent place for CIF on GlobalGiving. We are very thankful for the great donations we received. Thanks to the generosity of 68 donors we’ve raised over $7300! To all of you who gave, shared, or otherwise supported this effort, we are truly grateful! In this post, Lisa, one of our ABLE technical advisers, explains what difference this campaign makes to ABLE.
The GlobalGiving fund resources ABLE to keep serving families caring for Children with Disabilities
In many of our blog posts, we try to give you a glimpse of what your generous giving accomplishes by sharing stories of some of the children, families, and staff who are part of the ABLE Project. In this post I’d like to break down in a very practical “nuts and bolts” kind of way what your money goes to when you give to support the ABLE Project.
There are no other rehabilitation services near many of the children and families within CIFs Foster Care and Kinship Care Projects. This is a primary reason the ABLE Project was developed. ABLE’s physiotherapist and Community Rehabilitation Team provide direct physical therapy services to children with cerebral palsy, autism, visual impairment, and a variety of other diagnoses at home. This helps make sure that interventions are aimed at their everyday lives.
Medical support and advocacy
In Cambodia it is not uncommon for a family to leave a visit to the hospital or doctor’s office with a packet of medicine and very little information about what their child’s medical needs are, what they can do to help, and what to expect. The ABLE staff accompany children and their families to appointments. This gives us a clear understanding of their situation. It also helps us to monitor the healthcare provided. This empowers families with the information they need to better support children with chronic illnesses, such as HIV and cystic fibrosis.
Some of the children in our care have food allergies, are malnourished for one reason or another, or have difficulties with chewing and swallowing. (This is often the case with children who have severe cerebral palsy.) The ABLE Project identifies these needs. We then provide support with food for special diets or that has a consistency which the child is able to manage.
Training and emotional support
Families caring for children with special needs face pressures that are different from general caregiving. They need information about their child’s disability, what they can expect, and how they can help the child develop to his/her full potential. ABLE staff provide training. We equip them to promote the wellbeing and community participation of the children with special needs in their care. We also listen to their struggles and concerns so that they feel supported themselves.
Access to education
Options for education are still limited for children needing special educational support. The ABLE Project partners with other organizations to enroll children into special education projects. This can include an inclusive education project for one of the children with autism, or special education services for the children who have visual impairments. For some children who need educational support, not otherwise available, our team has provided an informal education program at one of the CIF offices.
The GlobalGiving fund creates new opportunities for the ABLE project
These are all activities that we do every day. Some of the funds that we received through the GlobalGiving campaign will go to making sure that we are able to meet our budget for all of these areas. Another exciting aspect this infusion of funds provides is the means to hire a new physiotherapist for our ABLE team!
CIF is one of the few organizations who provide family based care for children with disabilities in Cambodia. No other organization has an in-house team dedicated to addressing needs of children with special needs as part of its foster care services. Because of this, there is great demand for our services.
Our numbers have really grown in the last couple of years. We currently have 45 children who are part of the ABLE Project. Yet, until recently, the ABLE team has consisted of just three Cambodian staff and two expat technical advisors. We recently hired on an additional Community Rehabilitation Team member, but we still have only one physiotherapist, Srey Ny. Srey Ny also serves as project manager. She has had a very full plate for a very long time. We are thrilled that we can now bring in another physiotherapist to help share the load and are actively recruiting for that position.
Thank you all once again for making this possible. You are helping to make a huge impact on the lives of children with disabilities here in Cambodia.