Happy Western New Years and Happy Chinese New Years

Dear friends and partners,

Happy Western New Years and Happy Chinese New Years – how fortunate can a person get – we get to celebrate two different new years in one month.  Then we get to celebrate Khmer New Years in April.  For me, New Years is always a symbol of new beginnings, new hopes and new dreams – it’s a wonderful way to celebrate life itself.

The year 2012 has started with so many dreams, we have over 47,000 families in our program – which means at least 376,000 people are working out their dreams with Tabitha.  In recognition of our work, I have been chosen to receive an award – I am humbled and grateful for that honor.  Let me share what it is:

“It is with great pleasure that we would like to confirm that you will be the recipient of a Veuve Clicquot Initiative for Economic Development Award, which will be presented to you during the American Women in Paris gala dinner on February 11, 2012. Our champagne house was created in 1772, and taken over by Madame Clicquot, age 27, in 1805, upon a premature widowhood (Veuve, in French). During the subsequent 40 years, she ran and expanded her business, created new processes to stabilize the explosive wine, conquered markets, with a tremendous success. People still call her “La Grande Dame de la Champagne”, as she really invented and developed a business model which remains the same two centuries later. During this exceptional period of breakthroughs, inventions and conquests, she never forgot to work hard and be nice to people, and considerably helped the development of her community. To celebrate her exceptional qualities of audacity, innovation, creativity but also social responsibility, Veuve Clicquot celebrates women of influence.”

Stephane Gerschel, Directeur, Communication Internationale – Veuve Cliquot

What a lovely and unexpected gift. But I have gifts that are of much greater value – the gift of standing with families as they change their lives.  Let me share one of those stories:

“I’m Kan Thai and my wife is Moeur Thatch I live in Toul Sa La village. I have 5 children there are 2 boys and 3 girls. We are a farmer. I had plant rice and all kind of crops but I can do only 6 months in a year in the rainy season. Fortunately, Tabitha organization came in to my village for help the poor people most of them and me don’t understand how to saving money. After that I got a well from Tabitha organization. When I had well I started plant vegetables in the dry season all the time.

Now I still continue saving money more. I bought water pump, water jar, stair build kitchen and I can raise a pigs chicken also. The people in village and my village are very happy. They are grateful to Tabitha organization all his life.”

Kan Thai’s Story in pictures

Kan Thai's story

Kan Thai’s story in pictures

This past week I have been to a school that is being built in Kampong Channang – what makes my heart so full is the sight of children – future students participating in the building of the school. It’s a bit of a problem for the contractors but the children are so anxious to have a school – they have bought uniforms and help where they can each day. They are young and full of hope and dreams – what a way to start the New Years.

New Years is the time of renewal and dreams – of looking forward – each of you have made those dreams and hopes possible for so many. I thank my God that He grants us all new years so that each of us can dream and hope for the year ahead. Thank you from all of us for that gift.

Janne Ritskes