ABCs and Rice

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


Early 2010, ABCs School is Born

Posted by Tammy D on May 21, 2010 at 7:22 AM

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-

Categories: School, The Early Days

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