Action 4 Cambodia

 

  ACTION 4 CAMBODIA  

The Parish Charity of St. Alban’s, Blackburn including the churches of  Good Shepherd and Holy Souls, along with St. Alban’s RC Primary School and Holy Souls RC Primary School.

 

The charity, 'Action 4 Cambodia', was originally founded in 2006. It was established as a result of an idea put forward by the then Bishop of Salford, Terence Brain. He suggested that where parishes were amalgamating a way of bringing two or three communities together could be by setting up a shared charity with the aim of helping a community somewhere else in the world that was in need of help. At this time St. Alban's Parish and Good Shepherd Parish in Blackburn were beginning their journey of unity.

With the help of a visiting nun from the Order of Our Lady of the Missions we were able to link up with Jesuit Service Cambodia and play an important role in their Education and Health Programmes for the people living in and around the village of Champak Sa in the Siem Reap Province of Cambodia.

St. Alban's RC Primary School has been part of the charity from the start but we have also received occasional support from Our Lady and St. John Catholic College, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour RC Primary School in Blackburn, and St. Mary's RC Primary School in Clayton le Moors.

In 2017 the Parish of Holy Souls joined the other original two parishes in forming what is now the new Parish of St. Alban's and the community of Holy Souls and Holy Souls RC Primary School became an important and permanent part of the charity. Indeed, the two primary schools in the parish now liaise with each other to discuss money raising schemes.

Every penny raised by the charity goes to Cambodia. Our printing is provided by our schools and the parish without charge, and our admin' costs are kept low and so far have been met by individual committee members. The Committee comprises of 8 members of our three churches, one of who is our Education Officer, as she works in St. Alban's School. Canon Jude Harrison is President of the charity and he is the only one who can withdraw and transfer money from our bank account and send it off to Jesuit Service Cambodia. We are tied into the Salford Diocese Gift Aid Scheme and come under the Diocesan Registered Charity Number. It is the diocese that handles our Gift Aid annual claim.

Jesuit Services have estimated that in the last year alone 4,700 people have benefitted from our help. The main part of our work is involved in keeping our school out there supplied and maintained. The original building was made up of three classrooms, but when it opened in 2011 more than double the number of pupils than expected turned up and so another, sturdier building was erected and opened in 2014. Now the school has six classrooms, all provided by the generosity of people from this part of Lancashire. We now also support another school in the neighbouring village of Popeil.

In Cambodia religions are not allowed to evangelise through the schools and so our school was not allowed to have a religious name. It is referred to as ' New Bonney's'. This is because, for years St. Alban's RC Primary School was known as 'Bonney's, after the name of a rather infamous headteacher many, many years ago.

If you would like more information please contact us through any of our three churches, or telephone St. Alban's on 01254 59331.


Mission Statement.

The charity exists to bring together the previous two parishes of St. Alban’s and The Good Shepherd into one united parish and Catholic community, and to give this community the opportunity to develop spiritually and to fulfil Christ’s command ‘to love one another as I have loved you. With the help of the associated schools, St. Alban’s RC Primary School and Our Lady & St. John Catholic College, it will attempt to provide spiritual, moral and financial support to our representative in his or her work in the designated areas of Cambodia

It is our aim to create links with people in our community with people in Cambodia. We shall organise a variety of fund-raising events in our parish and schools to give financial support to our representative. It is hoped that through this we will provide children with a reasonable standard of education and, where necessary, with medical support for them and the adults in their community.

We also hope to respond to emergencies and to provide relief at a time of trauma, conflict and natural disaster.


A Prayer for Cambodia.

We ask Mary , the Mother of our Saviour, to help the people of Cambodia. We ask her to intercede for us so that God’s love and Care may be felt in the lives of those wounded in body and spirit, and suffering from the breakdowns in society.

We pray for those who are trying to improve the lives of the people of Cambodia and ask that God may give them the vision of a new, peaceful and invigorated nation and the means to create it.

Our Lady of Cambodia, pray for them.

Our Lady of Cambodia, pray for us.


CHAIRMAN’S REPORT 2017-2018. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING, THURSDAY OCTOBER 18th 2018.

This is the report from 27th October, 2017 to 18th October, 2018. Our charity is now 12th years old.

After the success of the ‘Italian Night’ our funds were again increased by donations from St. Alban’s RC Primary School and Holy Souls RC Primary School. The total was £327, raised by events based on the theme of ‘Harvest’.

It was also at this time that we learned of a change of role for Fr. Indon, our contact out in Cambodia. Whilst he was remaining there control of our project was taken over by Fr. Gabriel Lamug-Nanawa. As Fr. Gabriel does not have a great deal of English and we cannot speak Khymer of Fillipino we now contact his assistant, Thomas Rigl, who speaks perfect English and actually comes from Germany.

On Friday, 23rd November the people of Holy Souls organised a quiz for us. This raised £269. Three of our committee attended this and had an enjoyable evening. The rest of the committee attended the inter-faith day held at Pleckgate High School. Along with other representatives from our enlarged parish we were able to explain to the mainly Muslim visitors what we did as a parish and how our prayer and work impacted on the local community and the wider world. This was quite a fascinating day and did much to improve relations in our area.

In December we received two reports from Thomas, the first saying what our money was being spent on, and the second was what they hoped we would provide in the year 2017-18. They were warned last year, however, that as we have to send our money in US$, we cannot always send the same amount because of the lower exchange rate between the dollar and the pound. Information from the two reports was made available through the parish newsletters.

On the weekend February 10th/11th we held our annual appeal in our three churches. Once again it was very successful and we would like to repeat our thanks to everyone for their support. The total raised was £1,267.46. In March a cheque was sent to Cambodia for £9,022.

In April we concentrated our attention on organising another social event. We had asked for ideas from our parishioners and many of these are still under consideration. It was Fr. Jude who came up with a possible answer, as some of his clerical friends had formed an entertainment group and he thought that they might be willing to help. Now we know how that ended. We never expected the response we got. We decided on restricting ticket sales to 70 but immediately we had to change that to 80 because the demand was so great. We could have sold so many more but we were aware of insurance restrictions. The concert was a sell-out and we even had a waiting list for tickets.

The concert proved to be a great success, but on the night we announced we had raised was £660. After that, however, we have received other money and pledges from ‘our satisfied customers’ and so the expected total should be around £1,000.

Once again all our printing costs have been met by the parish and St. Alban’s RC Primary School. Except for bank and transfer charges all other administration charges have been met by individual committee members, so that none of your donations have been used by us.

It has been quite a successful year and the Committee is so grateful for all the help and support you have given, but this is nothing compared with the amount of help you have given to the people of Champak Sa. I also think that ‘someone’ up there is pretty pleased too.


CHURCH APPEAL FOR ‘ACTION 4 CAMBODIA’ MADE ON THE WEEKEND OF 11TH-12TH FEB. 2017.

It is a year since our parish charity last made an appeal for funds in our three churches. Over the last twelve months there have been several developments that mean that we need your help more than ever. Last February I told you that we had received a request for $20,000 or £14,500 from Fr Indon, our contact at Jesuit Service Cambodia. This was to make a contribution to the payment of 8 teachers  and six librarians working in our school, ‘New Bonneys’ in Champak Sa and another primary school in the neighbouring village  of Popeil, and for working in our refurbished mobile libraries in the education of children and adults. We were also asked for funds for equipment and stationary for our new school extension, for new school uniforms, and 29 Bike Scholarships and 35 Rice Scholarships. This was a big ask, particularly after we had only paid for the school extension the year before.

I answered Fr. Indon by telling him that whilst we had most of the money he wanted we didn’t have all of it, but we would try to raise the rest in the coming months. Part of our effort to do this was last’ years appeal. We did, however, think that much more would have to be done than having just one appeal. That is where we were wrong. In one week in February we managed to raise all the extra money needed. We got near to it with the church collections, but in the following two days we received several anonymous donations from people of our three churches and as a result we were able to despatch $20,000 dollars to Jesuit Services Cambodia. An achievement in days rather than weeks. The money paid for everything asked for. As I said in my annual report in October, we are now helping to educate around 3,600 people, children and adults in Cambodia.

That is the good news, now for the rest. Since last February things have not been as good. On the  bright side, private, individual donations have remained strong and we should like to thank those who slipped us a cheque or cash amount, sometimes on a regular basis. Unfortunately, we are not raising as much as we did on our social events. The social we held in The Parish Hall at Good Shepherd in September raised £333, the lowest amount we have ever raised for such an event, and with the lowest attendance. Perhaps we are doing something wrong. Our funds in the bank have also taken a dive. This is difficult to see just by looking at our bank statements, but here comes the dreaded ‘b’ word, Brexit. All our financial transactions with Cambodia are done in US$ and with the value of the £ dropping what we can buy has dropped by 20%. Let us hope that this situation is not permanent. I informed Fr. Indon of this in the hope that he would not ask us for something we couldn’t afford. I told him that I would get back to him by the end of this month. So what am I appealing for this morning/tonight? As with most appeals there will be a retiring collection at the end of Mass, but we have got to appreciate that we may need to watch our own situations as the problems affecting our charity are also affecting our own bank accounts. I tried to get this over to Fr.  Indon but found it difficult and didn’t want to labour the point as we remain one of the richest countries in the world and the people we are helping have nothing to put in a bank account.

Things, however, are far from gloomy. Last year a major part of our fund went on Bike and Rice Scholarships. This directly paid for the education of 64 children. We already have the money for them to continue their education for another year, and for several more if we are asked. We also have money to help pay for the teachers and the librarians, so hopefully we can continue to play a major part in the education of 3,600 people in Cambodia. So far we have not been asked to support any new major project. So yes, if you can support our charity financially, fine, but we understand that it isn’t a good time for us to be making this appeal…….BUT there are many other ways you can help.

When we reviewed our last social event we decided that we were not offering what people wanted. So we are appealing for your ideas, ways for large or small numbers of people to raise money. You may also want to organise something yourself with your own friends and family. We used to have a supporter who organised coffee mornings and regularly made a donation to us. Things like that are great and keep people in their own comfort zones. We want to hear from you.

Two years ago Mavis Deeney did a parachute jump to celebrate her eightieth birthday. Perhaps you have ideas about sponsored events. We want to hear from you.

Our charity is in its eleventh year. It was set up to bring the two parishes of St. Alban’s and Good Shepherd together as one parish and to benefit a community in need somewhere else in the world. Now we are in a similar situation again. We now know that with the re-structuring of parishes Holy Souls will be joining the party, and our charity is there to help us get together. In the next few days we will be asking for one or two people from Holy Souls to join our committee. We want to hear from them.

But there is another way we can help, and I have already made a commitment to Fr Indon on your behalf. One constant request from Cambodia over the last eleven years has been for prayers. We have  our own prayer based on the prayer to the Good Shepherd, which has been said over many years at Good Shepherd,  but any prayer will do. Jesus told us to ask, to pray……and he wants to hear from you.

Stephen Hedderman - Chairman


Finally, as supporters of Jesuit Service Cambodia we are part of a greater group from all over the world that last year raised $2,322.006. All our efforts are channelled around Champak Sa, near Siem Reap. Jesuit Service provided that area with 12 houses for 12 families, monetary loans for 29 farming families,  26 senior college/university grants for poor and disabled students, planted 790 trees, built a toilet for 7 disabled people, Ran and maintained 3 schools and 1 mini school, provided 29 Bike Scholarships and 35 Rice Scholarships, bought 63 school uniforms, paid the wages of 8 teachers and 6 librarians, supplied 89 wheelchairs, paid for the medical care of 17 people, provided school materials for 1154 pupils and built a pond and a well for a village………..your help is in there somewhere. Thank you for all you have done, this is not just an appeal for money, it is an appeal for yourself. How can you support and give yourself. We want to hear from you……Thank you.