ABCs and Rice

Empowering the poor, through education and community support,
to break the cycle of poverty.


Mid 2010...Finding Our Feet, and Seeing all the Potential (a few bumps along the way)

Posted by Tammy D on September 17, 2010 at 7:28 AM Comments comments (0)

Storm Damage at ABC's and Rice

Posted by Tammy Durand on Monday, June 7, 2010

Well, if you had ever considered making a donation to ABC’s and Rice, today may be your chance to make a difference! It’s bee a tough week for Matt, Vanna, and myself. Tuesday’s storm violently tore the brand new roof off of our two junior classrooms (one structure with a dividing wall). ... Luckily no one was hurt but the integrity of the building was compromised and has left more than 80 students without a classroom to attend. We are so fortunate to have a wonderful network of friends around us who are helping us to rebuild. Special thanks to JOSH at the FUNKY MUNKY!!!!!!!! Who dropped everything to help us recruit a team and get to work.

Much of the old material is reusable, but the rebuilding cost is looking to be about $200 US. This is quite the hit to ABC’s and Rice and will be taken out of the flooring budget. We are optimistic that classes will be reopened on Tuesday of next week but with the rainy season fully upon us now, the floors are a top priority.

We have been raking our brains for fundraising ideas (above the usual trivia nights) I promise to keep you posted on any plans made, and in the meantime; anyone wishing to donate from Canada can simply make a cheque out to ABC’s and Rice, and deposit at the Nickel City Credit Union in Capreol for my local supporters or to TD Canada Trust Bank Account #6405236... Branch 3716. If a swift number is required please send a request via email as these out of country donations are handled differently.

Alone we are a drop….Together we are an ocean!

In a nut shell

Posted by Tammy Durand on Friday, September 10, 2010

Well...yet again we have been flat out since the last post, and as is usual many, many things have been achieved since.

First and foremost, our damaged classrooms were rebuilt with great speed at cost of $300, slightly more than we’d anticipated, but we do have stronger structures that have withstood many a storm since!

ABC Go, part two, the bicycle ride to Thailand and back, to fund the rebuilding was a fantastic success! Tammy and teacher Phearin made it from Siem Reap to Thailand in 11hours and 30mins and a distance of some 180km, with a sizeable headwind! It was a hard but interesting first day with two very tired cyclists, who managed to find enormous humour in a dubious menu at the restaurant that we met Phearin’s sister at! The ride back was much faster, coming in at 10hours and 20 mins, (a rather helpful tail wind, for the return journey!). On arrival home we met with a reporter from the Phnom Penh post who wrote a very nice article on ABC’s & Rice and the mega bicycle ride.

The ride was made much easier through a generous loan of decent bicycles from Intrepid Travel and with the highly entertaining and helpful Mr Sarrom of Ecstatic Pizza, who kindly offered to help Matt as road side assistant and translator. He was especially helpful with the negotiations for the purchase of pigs along the way, (more on that saga later J). Other generous sponsors for the trip were; Rosy Guest House, X-Bar, Fresh at Chilli Si-Dang, Sydney Aqua Pool and Bar, not to mention all our expat friends with their generous support, particularly Ida and of course, Annie, who cooked us an amazing veggie lasagne for our return dinner, cheers Annie! All in all we raised about $1000US! Next year we plan on making the bicycle ride bigger and better, so watch this space!

I suppose you’re wondering about the pigs? Well the X-Bar’s Porkula 1, 3rd annual charity pig race was held on the 14th of August, as they were planning on hiring pigs for the event, we at ABC’s & Rice put up our hands to purchase the pigs and then place them into the community to begin small, sustainable pig farms using worthy and capable families. The race itself was a great success, raising over $850 for various charities, (please contact us if you want a full list of beneficiaries), over half of which went to ABC’s & Rice to begin the pig program. We are now near experts on pig farming theory and the practicalities of it! We hope to expand this program as the first litters come in. The pigs themselves were very difficult to source at the right price, we did manage it though, and so we now have a few families breeding pigs! We will continue to monitor their progress and hopefully, with all the processes that we’ve put in place, this project will generate sustainable income within the communities.

Those two events took a lot of planning, organising, and running around to get them off the ground and running smoothly, but the results are speaking for themselves. In the meantime we have also come to an agreement with Globalteer charity, who are helping us with volunteers and have set us up with Virgin Just Giving under the Globalteer umbrella, enabling us to more easily access donations, please visit .

Not to mention we have just negotiated a very generous five year lease plan on the current school site, as well as, the site next door. This will enable us to speed up our registration process and allow us to expand the facility without having to worry about having to move it, what a relief that is!!!!

August saw a large group of volunteers coming from Korea who donated a very generously in the form of, the start up costs for breakfast club (including a few months of breakfast for 20 of the most needy students)...Hooray Breakfast Club is here at last!!!!! J, new bicycles for the children who are without, a new fence and gate (increasing security), internet installation and 2mnths of service charge at the volunteer house, mechanical transport with a GPS unit (very helpful for collection census data, and so we don’t get lost when we are checking on the pigs or a family in need), and a generous sum for admin needs. A big thankyou to our Korean friends for their hard work fundraising and their time with us. Without people like you raising awareness and being proactive, we can’t hope to achieve the goals we have set. Thank-You!

As we continue to make these milestones we will continue to keep you updated! Thanks to all our supporters and our fantastic students and teachers,

Talk to you all soon,

ABC’s & Rice J “Being the change”

Early 2010, ABCs School is Born

Posted by Tammy D on May 21, 2010 at 7:22 AM Comments comments (0)

Catching Up

Posted by Tammy Durand on Saturday, February 6, 2010

Well, it sure has been a while; and I apologize for that. The last month or so has been full of bad news from Canada, and it was quite difficult for me to write to all of you about the fabulous things that are happening here in the slums of Siem Reap.

Pair that up with the fact that I have been working round the clock on various ABC’s and Rice projects, and you’ll understand why it is often difficult to pedal my way in to town for internet usage.

So, you miss a little, you miss a lot! Since my last update, I’ve paired up with some equally enthusiastic people and the steps ABC’s has made with their support have been ASTOUNDING! (Thanks MATT!!!)

We are in the process of registering ABC’s and Rice as an indigenous NGO here in Cambodia. We have opened a brand new school, and I am now running a volunteer guest house to help support this project. Our new well will be completed today and the water filter should be installed early next week. I believe my statement to you all before I left in December was “I now have 168 children to care for; I’ll see you in March.” Happily, that is no longer the case….I have over 300 children now; all of which will be drinking clean water by Wednesday at the latest, and I am not sure when I’ll return.

I miss my friends and family a great deal but the work being done here is too important and still too fragile to leave behind.

I have accepted a part time paid position in the city teaching English to Kindergarten and Grade 1 children. The pay is lousy but it will support me, and pay for the land I’ve leased at the new school.

I celebrated my birthday here yesterday. It was AWESOME!!!! At 7:30 in the morning I had about 60 smiling faces singing “Happy Birthday Teacha Tammy”, got a ton of beautiful hand-made cards, and more hugs and kisses than most people receive in a life time. After school I headed off to the airport to pick up my newest volunteer, an English University teacher from Korea. He must be an angel, because he showed up with a donation substantial enough to cover the well, and some much needed school suppliesJ.

…..not a surprise to most but, I bawled like a baby, then proceeded to dance barefoot in the streets when my mom called and I got to tell her the news.


We are still very much in the Grass Root stages but with support, sponsors, and volunteers contacting me from all over the world….We will sustain this project and continue to grow. The changes being made in this developing world are far greater than I could have ever thought possible and I am so blessed to be a part of them.

Please, come see for yourself! I promise any future visitors the experience of a life time.



The New School

Posted by Tammy Durand on Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hey Everybody,

Sorry that it’s been such a long time since we’ve posted an update. You can imagine that it’s been pretty busy here in Siem Reap. Where to start?

The end of January saw the initial building and swings go up at ABC’s and Rice school. The biggest thing was opening it to a small group of local kids 28/01/10. February brought on the completion of 3 more classrooms, the hiring of our amazing Khmer teachers, Suni, Phea Rin, Hunly and Suki, and our special friends from London, Hayley and Emma, who, sadly are due to leave us after a couple of months of fun, and fantastic volunteering. We will miss you both sooo much! Good luck for when you get home and get back to the grind of earning an income J

We also dug a toilet and drilled a well, we had to drill 60m! to get to water!

February also brought us Rick, and who made some amazing donations, including TEXT BOOKS! For each student, some shade sails and repairs to the road outside the school. Rick also brought some interesting ideas on curriculum and fundraising.

A small garden was planted and has since expanded a little, we have some flowers and mango trees, which the students are in charge of watering every morning and afternoon.

We also met Keris and Harry who brought wonderful art supplies, which, have just been put to great use for an art competition that we held. The prize was being able to paint their picture as part of the mural wall. It was an extremely fun project, where all the kids got involved and learned a little about primary colours and mixing paint, (it was a little scary at times though! The kids were so excited that it was hard to hold them back from mixing every colour into some bizarre shade of…brown…?) The result in the end was some excellent and interesting paintings in the mural!

Vanna had his birthday, which we had a little party for, involving the volunteers and teachers of ABC’s and Rice, SOID and VDCA. Everybody had a wonderful time and some good networking was achieved. Plus, the orphans had a blast on the Karaoke system, that’s when they could get the teachers off it, of course J!

March saw Emma and Hayley off to a couple of weeks in Vietnam for a well deserved break, and the introduction of Maggie and James, who spent only a short time with us, but, made a great impression on us and the students. We would like to thank them for their generous donation towards the tin roof, which will be up before the rain arrives!

The books that Dobber-Hockey donated also arrived, and with those a new curriculum designed to make learning easier and more comfortable for the students, teachers and volunteers. The books are an excellent colourful aide for the kids and their teachers. We have set up three 45 minute periods for the morning and afternoon sessions and teacher training on the use of text, exercise books and volunteers.

The writing and implementation of student, teacher and volunteer policies also took place, although we are still in the midst of getting a ‘volunteer handbook’ written. We will have it ready as soon as we possibly can.

April already! Well, April promises to be a busy month. Khmer New Year is upon us mid next week. This Friday we’ll have a student party in recognition of the most celebrated event in Cambodia. The students are very excited and can’t wait ‘til the end of the week, when they’ll play some traditional games and music. We’re sure its going to be a fabulous day, probably very tiring for everybody though!

We would like to invite anybody who happens to be in Siem Reap to stop by for the morning, we are planning to party from about 8am until 11am. The kids would love to have fun and games with you, a small donation of fresh fruit for the kids would be warmly welcomed.

At the conclusion of the party we will close the school until the 19th, which will give some of them the chance to head to their home towns to visit their families, and others to simply have a rest and a good time at home with their crew.

If only we could say the same for ourselves!

While the school is closed we are planning on doing some general maintenance around the school, including leveling classroom floors and fixing worn out desks and chairs, building repairs and general gardening.

Charlotte and Rich also started with us this week. We look forward to working with them over the next couple of weeks, we’re sure that they are going to be very useful helping us with the party and also our maintenance schedule next week.

Well that’s us pretty well up to date. We apologise again for the time between updates, as you can tell, we have been swamped with things to do.

We would like to take the opportunity to thank all of our donors and volunteers over the last couple of, hectic, months! We look forward to working with you in the future J


Talk to you all soon,


ABC’s and Rice


May 2010

Posted by Tammy Durand on Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hi Everybody!

Well it’s the start of May already and things are moving along quickly!

All of the girls had an excellent time in Bangkok catching the New Year celebrations on their way home, though we think that Hayley and Emma would have preferred to get home sometime sooner than they did! Being stranded in Bangkok due to low flying ash over Europe could be fun, but when you’re well ready to hit the home town we’re sure that it would become rather tiresome. On the plus side, two nights in Mumbai in a hotel room with its own swimming pool courtesy of the airline couldn’t be too hard to handle!

New Year in Siem Reap was quite the busy period. A party at one of our friend’s restaurants, Real.Khmer.Cook., for their staff was on New Year’s Eve, ‘twas a jovial affair indeed. We managed to get home at a reasonable hour so that we could beat the heat and do the schools gardening early in the morning. The afternoon was spent with a quick trip out to Bakorng Temple/Pagoda to look at the festivities and market there. Loud it was!

The biggest news for the week was that Barry and Allison kindly organised for ABC’s & Rice to join the Charity Trivia circuit at the Funky Munky, held every Thursday, which generated $106 in donations and gives us the opportunity to be on the docket every four to five weeks. A fantastic networking opportunity for us, not to mention the donations from the evenings! Thanks Barry and Allison!

Friday came around and it was off to Chilli Si Dang for another trivia fundraiser, this time we shared the docket with Trailblazer Foundation and raised another $51.50 each. The money raised will go towards the weather proofing on our buildings, and drip water systems for remote communities through Trailblazer.

ANZAC day, 25/4 was a highlight for the local Aussie expats, the AFL was on at Rosie Guest House in the morning and a Two-up ring was put together at Chilli Si Dang, where we met Yvonne who will be volunteering alongside Barry and Mel, thanks Warren for the introduction, over the next couple of weeks. Both Mel and Yvonne have fantastic energy and wonderful ideas, we’re sure that the students will learn a great deal with you guys in the classroom!

The students had their first test quiz last week. We were very pleased with the high level of results achieved and with the way that they are learning and understanding the material they are studying. It certainly was highly entertaining to us watching the children protecting the work from the students next them. The level of pride that they take in their work is highly rewarding for us and beautiful to see in young imaginative and driven minds!

On Saturday we took the staff off to Globalteer for a very generous free introductory course on Child Protection. It was a fantastic morning, our teachers were very responsive, enthusiastic and they asked many thoughtful, intuitive and intelligent questions. They are all very keen to continue the courses in greater detail. We will continue to work hard in this area and have them complete the certified course in the near future.

This week we are on docket for the monthly Friday Trivia Night at Rosie Guest House and are very much looking forward to getting out there and meeting some new faces. And that friends, brings us pretty well up date for the last couple of weeks.

Thanks to all our supporters and donors, we will talk to you all very soon.

Haley and Emma we miss you! Juup khneer moi donk ti-it! (see you again)

Aakuun Jaraan (Thank-you very much)

-ABC’s & Rice-