What Price for Wisdom?

The Need

At the most basic level, the grandparents in our communities needed the most basic essentials in order to survive. All lost family members during the Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge genocide and many have no way to support themselves. CCF took the responsibility to ensure that the most impoverished grandparents received rice, clean water, a weekly living stipend and access to our free medical clinic. This modest assistance package has changed the dire lives of so many grannies.

The Opportunity

In order to provide our junior leaders with community responsibility, our junior leaders were charged with the care of the grandmothers in our program. Each group of 3-4 junior leaders, ages 12 through 17 years, visit the grannies 2-3 times a week, ensuring that they are well, have sufficient water and food and any required medicine.

They also spend time with the grannies and that is where the more subtle beauty of the program applies.

These grannies are vessels of wisdom, having lived through good times and bad, through the days of French colonization, independence, the Khmer Rouge reign and the civil wars that followed. Unlike many of parents here, the grandparents remember the true Khmer customs, family values and community responsibility. Each visit provides our teen leaders with a greater insight into Khmer society and ways, a much-needed bridge to instill the Khmer ways into the new generation.

What Price Wisdom?

“Spending time in the ‘Developed World’, whether for fundraising, speaking engagement or events, many parents voiced concerned that their families were growing up in a vacuous environment, where social media creates gated communities, false values and a lack of world perspective.

Many parents expressed a wish to bring their children to CCF. That is not practical in most cases. However we could offer the opportunity to connect with the most valuable of Cambodian assets: the elderly generation. Simply by providing support to these wonderful keepers of wisdom, to hear their stories and share their journeys, families have a unique opportunity to gain a small insight into a wiser, simpler world.”

– Scott Neeson, Founder and Executive Director

Join the Family Now

When you sponsor a granny for $50 a month, you will receive:

• A high quality photo and the life story of your granny.
• Quarterly updates from your granny (via CCF’s team of translators).
• The chance to share with women whose wisdom spans generations.

Each Granny can have a maximum of 5 sponsors. This allows CCF to support these women and to extend the same support to the elderly outside of our main area of focus, many of whom are barely surviving. The majority of the elderly people in need of support are women, however there are 8 elderly men that are supported by our program.

For more information about the program, email: [email protected]

Video: A World-First Approach

Meet the Grannies

Granny Sophy

Sponsor Granny Sophy

Granny Yuthea

Sponsor Granny Yuthea

F.A.Q.

F.A.Q.

A. This is not through our own design, but reflects the reality of the communities we serve. The majority of the elderly people in need of support are women. There are currently eight grandfathers that we support but they are either unsuitable or uninterested in engaging in the sponsorship program/ currently not part of the sponsorship program.Whenever possible we try to maintain family ties as it is part of CCF’s core philosophy that you can’t lift a child out of poverty and leave the siblings and parents behind. Indeed, our Child Sponsorship Plus option extends our support to the children’s families and community.

Q. What happens when a Granny passes away?

A. Our grannies our well prepared for this eventuality. In Buddhist culture death is viewed as a transition from this life to the next. Their main concern may well be how will their family cope with the funeral expenses. To combat this, we have assured every member of our granny program that CCF will cover their funeral expenses and assist their family (an emergency fund will be set up using sponsorship money).

Q. Can Sponsors visit or send gifts?

A. To respect our granny’s privacy, home visits will not be facilitated by CCF. If you are in Cambodia, however, please send us an email and we may be able to show you some of our facilities and give your general feel for the program. If the timing is right, it may be possible to join a monk blessing or other community based event involving our grannies.

Rather than send gifts, we would much rather direct sponsor’s generosity towards our general ‘Granny Fund’. The ‘Granny Fund’ is a pool of money used to cover emergency costs such as hospital referrals, providing new, safe housing or shelter repairs and covering funeral expenses.

Q. How old are the grannies?

A. The elders in our Granny Program currently range from 53, to our oldest granny at an incredible 106 years old. Given the destruction of records during the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 70’s, some of our grannies can have a difficult time remembering their exact age. Most remember the animal associated with their year of birth in the Cambodian calendar, which helps trace back to their true age. There are 12 animals used to identify years; rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

Q. How do Grannies join the program?


A.
To be eligible for support, a granny or grandfather must be over 50 years of age and have no appropriate support or care from their children or neighbors. The granny should not receive support from any other organization and should not be a trouble-maker in the community we serve.

For those sharing wisdom with our junior leaders, they must also not gamble or be alcoholics. They have to demonstrate a good understanding of traditional Cambodian culture and history, and Buddhist values; to generally be a positive role model for our students. Please note that the grannies who are not in this ‘wisdom’ group still receive the full support of the Granny Program.

The grannies taking part in the sponsorship program have all chosen to do so, and it was made clear to them that their support from CCF was in no way linked to or conditional on their participation in the sponsorship program. When we took this question to the grannies, their response for overwhelmingly positive; they were genuinely excited to share their stories with sponsors and delighted to connect with people from around the world.

 

Q. Where does the money go?

A. Your monthly contributions allow us to provide a range of support to almost 80 elders in our Granny Program, including:

– Economic Support (a weekly living stipend)

– Food Support (rice and clean drinking water are regularly delivered)

– Medical Support (access to CCF’s Medical Center, dentist and any necessary hospital referrals)

– Rent and Housing Support (including modified World Housing houses, and house cleaning service by our Junior Leaders)

– Funeral Support (and, crucially, the stress reducing knowledge that this won’t become their family’s burden)

– Spiritual Support (monthly Monk Blessings, excursions to famous temples and sites, and Junior Leader exchanges)

Q. Can I contact my granny?

A. You will receive a quarterly update from your selected granny, which will be taken and translated by our dedicated granny sponsorship coordinator. On top of this, there will be a quarterly newsletter, where we will profile recent Granny activities, interesting topics, and thoughts from our grannies and junior leaders.

In response to both of these, we will be happy to receive your messages, questions and photos. Please, however, be aware that it may not be possible to ask all questions directly to your sponsored granny. In most cases, these questions will go into the ‘Granny Mailbag’. From there, the questions will be asked to the granny group, rather than the individual granny, as each has varying levels of coherence. But, we are confident that through all of the engagement with our granny team you will be able to share and learn from women whose wisdom spans generations.

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