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The Final Bow: COLT's Unwavering Commitment to a Brighter Tomorrow

 

Dearest Readers,

 

In reflection of the transformative journey that COLT has undertaken, we find ourselves at a significant crossroad. The landscape around COLT, both in Phnom Penh and within our organization, has shifted in profound ways. Therefore, we have made an important decision that we would like to share with you. Before we dive into details; please know that we will keep you informed to the best of our abilities about any significant updates in the upcoming months.  

Rapid changes in Phnom Penh and COLT

The heartbeat of Phnom Penh has quickened, embracing progress with open arms. The community surrounding COLT has evolved, with families once reliant on our support now standing tall in the 'middle income' bracket of Cambodia. As the city of Phnom Penh -and with it the Dangkao district- advance and develop quickly, the fundamental mission of COLT to support the most vulnerable families in Phnom Penh has evolved, rendering our presence there less imperative.

 

Closing the shelter
Earlier this year, we announced the closure of our shelter. Since 2005, we've provided a nurturing sanctuary for numerous children, offering them not just shelter, but also education and sustenance. As a growing body of research indicated better options for alternative care than the residential care institutions, government regulations tightened. Therefore, COLT embraced a Family Care First approach several years ago. As a result, we were able to reintegrate the vast majority of the children in our long-term care. 

 

By December 2023, the last children from the shelter will embark on their next chapter, marking the sunset of our shelter activities. As with all children that have been reintegrated over the years, we will provide post-reintegration care and stay in touch with all of them. Mr. Piseth arranges monthly phone calls and plans at least one formal home visit a year, as we have been doing this the past years with all other successfully reintegrated children. Our growth over the past years has been beautifully showcased in the video we produced with Family Power about Phally and Phalla and our home based care program.

Sign up for one of our post-reintegration packages*:
  1. School Package: €10 per month - ongoing school fees
  2. Reintegration Package: €30 per month - ongoing school fees, food & hygiene
  3. Community Up Package: €15 per month - ongoing support for the families surrounding COLT such as day care fees and social support
*Donations for specific children, monthly sponsor packages, and Club of 100 sponsors will be automatically transferred into post-reintegration packages. 
 

 

New future 

The confluence of Phnom Penh's rapid developments, forcing poorer families out of the community we support, and the winding down of our shelter’s activities prompted a profound reflection on COLT’s future, with the ever returning question: can we continue to support children and families in Cambodia sustainably?

 

Endless discussions ensued, contemplating our ultimate purpose, our continued efficacy, and our financial sustainability, especially amid dwindling donations exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through these deliberations, the collective decision emerged: COLT, in its current state as a community center, has reached the maximum of its potential. Acknowledging the reality that this chapter has run its course, we, the Cambodian and Dutch board members and advisors, have made the heartfelt decision to shut down all activities at our community center by this year's end. 

 

Following the intentions of our original founders, COLT will continue to make an impact on underprivileged Cambodian families and children, albeit in a vastly different way. Whilst we are still exploring different opportunities to reach the goals that are written in our statutes, we did want to share this decision with you as soon as we possibly could. 

 

We also appreciate your understanding that we weren’t able to share this message any earlier, since the involved parties in Cambodia deserved to receive this information before the message was publicly shared with our supporters around the world. 

 

Celebrating 18 years of COLT with all of you

This choice was not made lightly; it was accompanied by tears, particularly from our dedicated staff. To honor the remarkable 18 years we've shared, we invite all the children, staff, volunteers, sponsors, and partners of COLT to an online celebration. 

 

We aim to celebrate the years of today's version of COLT with all our close followers and commemorate the glorious past and share the amazing moments with everyone who wants to. 

Celebrate COLT’s journey with us at an online event in December ‘23!

This event, to be held online at the end of December, is a moment for us all to say our goodbyes, sharing cherished memories and gratitude for the impact we've made together. Mr. Piseth and the (former) COLT children will be present at COLT. Those who are not in Cambodia will be present online. We will inform you with the exact date and time in the next newsletter, as we’re still arranging some logistics for this celebratory moment. 

 

Exploring a New Chapter

While this chapter concludes, our commitment to aiding families in need persists. Even as we bid farewell to COLT in its current form, we are exploring new avenues, seeking innovative ways to continue our mission in Cambodia in a sustainable and responsible way. We assure you that we will update you once a decision is made about how we continue to support underprivileged families in Cambodia.

We extend our deepest gratitude to every person who has been a part of this journey. Your support, dedication, and love have been the bedrock upon which COLT has thrived. As we step into uncharted territories, we carry with us the spirit of community and resilience that defined COLT.

If you have any questions about anything you read in this newsletter, please feel free to reach out to us on info@colt-cambodia.org!

With warm regards,
The Cambodian board and the Dutch board of COLT-Cambodia, and its advisors

Questions & Answers:

What will happen to the children that use the community facilities such as day care, preschool and school?
We are working very closely with surrounding parties such as the pagoda, local community chief, other NGOs and schools to ensure the children have a safe place to go to before/after their regular school activities. 

 

What will happen to the staff of COLT?
Mr. Piseth is making a plan together with each staff member to see what their next steps can be. For some, this means they will start their own small business and COLT will provide them with a starting package. For others, they will receive positive recommendation letters which they can use in applying for a new job. Furthermore, depending on the length of their stay at COLT, they will receive a pension package.  

 

What will happen to my (monthly) donations?
We remain committed to supporting families in Cambodia, and therefore, we welcome any recurring donations. As we aim to evolve into an organization with even greater impact, we will end up in a transition period. During this transition period, we still require financial assistance for post-integration packages for children reintegrated in previous years. We maintain regular contact with them and will continue providing ongoing support, making your contributions invaluable in sustaining our mission.

 

I have donated for certain objectives in the past, what will happen to them?

All previous donations made for specific objectives will endure, either by being redirected to similar organizations or by being utilized in future chapters of COLT, ensuring their lasting impact.

When do you expect to provide us with more information about the next chapter of COLT?

To the best of our ability, we will try to inform you on any significant updates as soon as possible. We expect to provide you an update in the first half year of 2024. 

Announcement - The Final Bow: COLT's Unwavering Commitment to a Brighter Tomorrow

In reflection of the transformative journey that COLT has undertaken, we find ourselves at a significant crossroad. The landscape around COLT, both in Phnom Penh and within our organization, has shifted in profound ways. Therefore, we have made an important decision that we would like to share with you.

 

Announcement - The Final Bow: COLT's Unwavering Commitment to a Brighter Tomorrow

In reflection of the transformative journey that COLT has undertaken, we find ourselves at a significant crossroad. The landscape around COLT, both in Phnom Penh and within our organization, has shifted in profound ways. Therefore, we have made an important decision that we would like to share with you.

 
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