Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Busy April for A Mine Free World Foundation!

I arrived back from my six months in Cambodia the first week of April and have hit the ground flying! A Mine Free World Foundation (AMFW) Board member Pauline Johns is back in her home country of Australia, and many plans are already underway for our return to Cambodia this October.

AMFW President Maria van Santen and I were guest speakers at the Etobicoke Rotary Club’s Night of a Thousand Chopsticks event on Wednesday, April 27th. Rotarian Bill Rathbun, his wife Dora and our Gravenhurst Rotary Exchange Student , Federica, all enjoyed the wonderful buffet dinner at the Mandarin Restaurant. Many Thanks to the club for such an enjoyable evening. It was good to see Debra Selkirk, Richard Chapman, Hugh Williams and all our many good friends there.

Lisa McCoy & Maria van Santen of AMFW at Night of A Thousand Chopsticks
 What a fantastic surprise to see good friend and Toronto Rotarian Chris Snyder arrive! Chris is also a Board Member of the Canadian Landmine Foundation, which is supporting some of A Mine Free World Foundation’s ongoing projects.

Maria and I gave a special powerpoint presentation to everyone at the event highlighting the many beneficial projects in Cambodia that the Rotary Club of Etobicoke supported this past year for rural landmine-affected families and their children.

Lisa McCoy Provides Richard Chapman of the Rotary Club of Etobicoke
with a Report of their Club's Support for Landmine-Affected Families
 Thanks to all who attended the Night of a Thousand Chopsticks Event that will realize future help for landmine-affected families in Cambodia – particularly those that are living in the rural areas in huts that are less than adequate and pose a risk to these families’ health and well-being.

Thanks to Rotarian Ralph Chiodo for buying more Cambodian silk scarves in aid of our AMFW Rural Dental Hygiene Education Program in Cambodia, and thanks to everyone at the event who purchased at total of $169 in 'Embracelet' sales. Money raised from the sale of these woven bracelets made by rural women and girls in Cambodia, goes back to support their educational needs, and to help more women and girls.

Many Thanks to Dora Rathbun for selling close to $600 in Embracelets at our AMFW and Rotary Wheels for Learning presentations this past month. A big thanks to Bill Rathbun for driving us all over Ontario!

Chris Snyder from The Rotary Club of Toronto, Bill Rathbun from the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst
and Ralph Chiodo from the Rotary Club of Etobicoke -
All Paul Harris Fellows!

Dora Rathbun selling Embracelets with Lisa McCoy

During our six months in Cambodia and our many trips into rural villages to visit these families, we came across many living in grass huts with termite infested beams and large gaping holes in the roofs and walls – many did not even have four walls!

Pauline and I rebuilt two homes this past winter. With help from  Sopheany from the Cambodian Red Cross in Battambang and Director Chamnap of Banyan Learning Tree in Phnom Penh, we now have developed a project that can provide a new post and beam, grass-paneled, metal-roofed home for a rural family.

Your Donation of US$425 can provide a new home for a landmine survivor and his/her family. Recipients are supplied with all the building materials and tools and they build their own home. Donors are given a photo of their sponsored family’s present home, their new home and biographical information on their family.

You can read details of this project, and how to donate at the following Google Docs Link:


Patti Lee, Barbara Seagram and members of their Toronto Bridge Group are still going strong and planning about three events to raise funds towards AMFW’s project to rebuild Banyan Learning Tree School on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Members of their group had visited the school and helped give out some of the 40 Rotary Wheels for Learning Bicycles they provided for children there. You can read more about this at:

Banyan Learning Tree School provides English and basic sanitation education to close to 100 students. It also conducts many outreach projects for landmine-affected families in villages near the Killing Fields. The children attending the school are currently learning in a makeshift bamboo classroom. There is only one small outside latrine. The new, two-storey cement structure will include inside classrooms and two indoor washrooms. The total project cost is US$23,038.74. This AMFW project is supported by the Canadian Landmine Foundation. Any donation of $25 or more is eligible for a Canadian tax receipt. Donations towards this building project can be made by cheque to:

‘The Canadian Landmine Foundation’, and mailed to:

Chris Snyder
Investment Planning Counsel/ECC Group
100 Simcoe St., Suite 100
Toronto, ON, M5H 3G2

In the Memo Field of your cheque, please indicate ‘Banyan School’. Tax receipts issued in Canada for donations of $25 or more.

Please help us rebuild Banyan Learning Tree School. If we can raise $17,241.76, we can build the first storey this fall! For a full project proposal, contact me at:

More exciting AMFW rural school-building projects in Cambodia are being supported by the world-wide Round Square organization, . They will be bringing two groups over in December to fund and build two one-room cement free education schools in two rural villages in Takeo province. The first team will be comprised of students from around the world. The second will be a leaders training group. It will be exciting for all of us at AMFW to host enthusiastic people from around the world as they work alongside rural people in Cambodia to build schools to further the education of children.

These two schools will be part of our Banyan Learning Tree (BLT) organization in Cambodia. BLT Director Om Chamnap is pleased to announce that Socheat Chea will be our sub-office director in Takeo overseeing both these schools in Takeo. The school that the RoundSquare students will be building is the first structure on site. This Banyan Learning Tree School is the first phase of a huge nine-phase project – Banyan Learning Tree Centre- that will see a two-building Family Care Centre and Library & Computer Centre included – a valuable rural resource centre that will be of benefit to so many!

Director Chamnap has been working hard in Cambodia and we are happy to report that 215 trucks of landfill have just been leveled at this site!

Filled and Leveled - Ready for the Banyan Learning Centre in Rural Takeo
 One more piece of exciting news to share! St. Brigid Catholic School in Toronto, Canada will be actively helping our Banyan Learning Tree School students in Phnom Penh! They have plans to raise some funds for bicycles for the students.

Last month, 67 of the BLT students wrote letters and created masterpiece drawings that I brought back with me to Canada to deliver to the St. Brigid students when I visit their school on May 27.


We are also busy getting plans underway for our AMFW GIANT GARAGE SALE this summer. We don’t have a venue or the date set yet – we need your help – we are looking for a place to hold this giant fundraiser! We are also ready to start taking in donations of new or good-used items.

CALL OR EMAIL if you would like to donate items, volunteer or have a venue where we can hold our sale:

Lisa McCoy 705-687-8538
Jay & Linda Harrison 705-687-7679

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