October 2, 2012,

 Dear friends and partners,

The last 6 weeks have been exciting weeks for Nokor Tep. I am so delighted and thankful for the very many people from around the world who are actively supporting our vision. Bruce Ford, Steve Jones and Mat Talbot rode 1043 kilometers through the Cambodian countryside to raise funds for the hospital. In their travels they were able to meet many of the women who will be helped. Our Singapore Nokor Tep volunteers held a 10 kilometer moon walk – really good fun and good spirits. Our Dutch partners in the Netherlands, Stitching Toetsteen are in the middle of their fund raising campaign – a very unique event where many people are giving up a day or two of their holidays as a donation to the hospital. Amazing! In Cambodia we are celebrating Pink October – with the selling of pink ribbons with a Nokor Tep lapel pin. Memphis Bar is celebrating Pink October with proceeds from selling drinks to go to the hospital. I am overwhelmed with all who are standing with us. My dream of having 50,000 people on our wall of caring is slowly becoming a reality – what an amazing way to welcome our women as they come to us for help – to be greeted with all your names.

Many people ask me why, why do you do this? Today I would like to share the words of my fellow co-founders – Ing Kantha Phavi and Trac Thai Sieng. English is not their first language and is the reason that I believe their words say it so very well.

Ing Kantha Phavi’s words to all of us:

I would like to share with you why I am a co-founder of the Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital. In Cambodia, we are forced to recognize that women do not get the proper healthcare that they ought to have, despite the heavy social and economic responsibility that women bear in our society. Some of the reasons for this lack of medical care for women are finding money for expensive treatment; pressure of traditional norms and the lack of awareness and information explain the limited access of women to healthcare. Despite progress in recent years, women still report difficulties to improve their health status and their livelihoods.

Women, by nature and by attributes, are the first persons to sacrifice themselves for the sake of other members of the family even though they are generally contributing to the earnings of the family. It is a euphemism to state that women are “volunteered” to sacrifice her interest for the interest of other members of the family.

Since childhood, a woman is educated to take care of the household; to contribute often at an early age to the family earnings. This caring may mean a girl will even sacrifice her education at school for the preservation of the boys’ schooling in the family when a decision to give priority for education comes because of lack of financial or labor resources. As a girl grows up to become a woman and a mother, her instinct as a loving mum leads her naturally to give priority for the expenditure of resources to other members of the family such as schooling, feeding, housing, and healthcare. Her own needs will be addressed later on!  When she decides to come for medical care, it’s usually too late for effective treatment. We see women desperately looking for hope and for miracles to save them.

Janne and I saw these women and felt so powerless to address such silent sufferings. What should we do to rectify this suffering? We decided that our first step should be to build a hospital to treat the diseases of these women and the second step, to start prevention and education through community outreach activities for regular screening and information. The mission is ambitious; however; Janne and I keep faith in moving forward.

I have embraced this vision with my whole heart. I feel that I have to do it. I believe that whatever the personal cost to me of this vision, every challenge involved is worth the saving of lives and comforting those whose lives are racked by the pain of the silent suffering.

In participating in several fund raising events organized in Cambodia and abroad, I was deeply touched by family members, friends, acquaintances and people who were animated with the same spirit, with the same vision. The friendship, the solidarity and the support they brought and are bringing to us, deeply touches my heart. When Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital is built, we can say that its birth, this vision will belong to each of us. Without the will and endeavor of all these people, all this wouldn’t happen and the silent suffering will continue.

Therefore I would like to express how much I am delighted to be with you sharing all together the same vision, the same goal andmotivation, striving to cure the silent sufferings of millions of women and their families. Thank you for your dedication and commitment.

ING Kantha Phavi  - Co founder of Nokor Tep foundation

Trac Thai Sieng’s  words to all of us:

To my grandmother and my mother that I cherish

To my wife and daughter that I love

To all the women that we care for

I want to share with all of you why I am a co-founder of the Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital. As a young boy raised in the spirit instilled by my grandmother and mother, that has become a man, I have been educated to be protective and caring towards the human beings that we care for and to act in a compassionate way towards the feminine gender. But confronted by sickness, in some situations I do feel inexorably helpless to exercise my strongest will to protect, use my strongest strength to preserve those living souls that we love and care for. In sharing these thoughts I wanted to let you know how much sickness is a powerful influence in a developing country and how much it can threaten the happiness in the daily life of our countrymen. 

The uniqueness in our endeavor to build the Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital is that for once, we dare to give priority to women, young and old, to state that the future of the humanity also goes through the preservation of women just as we were used to be told as a gentleman before a situation of great danger of a sinking boat: “the women and the children first…”

No matter what the pre-eminent role of the male gender in the society is, women sickness should not be an imparting reason to involve gender prevalence in the society. In building Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital, we simply want to express that as a man, as a son, a grandson and a father, we no longer want to feel helpless before the sickness of our beloved one. We want to have a tool to answer to the silent suffering of our grandmother, of our mother and sisters and daughters. We want to be able answer responsibly to our duty to protect them, to care for them, to love them. We do not want to live with the unbearable feeling of being helpless. For that purpose, we want the best tool that we can build, the best knowledge that we can mobilize, we want the best will that we can rally to make this tool come out. We want to express how much we love our mother and grandmother, how much we care for them, how much we could do for them in our loving memories  of them.

Therefore please do join all our efforts to make this women hospital happen, make it an answer to despair, an answer for hope, an answer for the cure instead of the useless condolence, an answer that we can do to sweep away the tears. We want to make sure; we have done the best we can do. This Hospital is the most satisfactory answer a man can do to response to his female counterpart. Let’s do it together, Build the Nokor Tep women hospital.

TRAC Thai Sieng - Co-founder

Ps Nokor Tep in Sanskrit means, City of compassion from the God (City of Angels)

I am so very thankful to my God for Phavi and Sieng – for the love and compassion for their own people, for their strength and faith in what we can accomplish. I am humbled by each of you who stand with us – for your faith in Nokor Tep – for your faith in the women of Cambodia. Thank you

 

Janne

Do read our web site at www.nokor-tep.net  for updates on all that is happening. Look for your name on the wall of caring.


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