Goodbye, 2016. A reflection by Scott Neeson on an extraordinary year
Thank you all for your support throughout 2016. There have been several milestones this year reflecting the maturing of CCF’s programs and our overall model. We have held the numbers of students in CCF’s education programs at 2,000. While this is admittedly a little above the 120 students I envisioned back in 2004, this leveling of intakes is in itself a success – almost every school age child in our geographic area is now in school. Some attend without charitable support, others are supported by nearby charities, and those with the greatest need attend through the support of CCF.
The most satisfying of results is that of our first few hundred children who left the garbage dump to join CCF, 151 are now in university. At the end of the next academic year, we will celebrate our first university graduates!
Our leadership program has moved from strength to strength. Many of our community programs are now managed by our young leaders and their sense of responsibility is seeping into areas once awash with apathy and hopelessness.
Lifting the country’s most impoverished and neglected children from the landfill and through to a university education is a remarkable achievement. However, if each CCF graduate has the tools and motivation to change their society, then the impact becomes generational. Our thanks to Credit Suisse and Tony Robbins for their continued support of this program.
Our Child Protection Unit, a partnership between CCF and the Cambodian National Police, now investigates all cases of serious child abuse. The cases investigated by Operations Director James McCabe and his team are amongst the most brutal and senseless imaginable. However, with arrest rates jumping from the single digits prior to CPU to now 80%, the sense of impunity has ended, justice is reaching the most remote and poor families, and the capacity of the Cambodian National Police is increasing with each case.
For those with a passion for numbers, CCF is now one of just 51 charities worldwide – out of 8,500 evaluated charities – awarded a perfect 100% by Charity Navigator. The criteria include financial management, governance and transparency and CCF is performing well ahead of the world’s largest charities, notably in terms of the percentage of your donation that hits the ground.
Our flagship Neeson Cripps Academy opens in February 2017, a project fully funded by Velcro. This marks a milestone in CCF’s mission to deliver the best possible quality of education, especially to those students in higher education. The NCA will provide students with hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics within a state-of-the-art facility.
The challenges – social, financial and operational – are ongoing, a seemingly inherent part of working within a large and impoverished environment. However, the progress has been remarkable. Thank you for your support of CCF and for being part of this journey.
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