• A Message from the president of Cultural Quest Foundation

    Help Children for Change-Cambodia write a success story!

    Dr. William Uy Khieu

    Hello friend of CQF,

    Thank you for visiting our website.

    First, let me tell you a little about Cultural Quest Foundation (CQF). My friends and I started CQF in 2008 to explore the spiritual dimension of Vietnamese culture and its role in the hopes and aspiration of Vietnamese immigrants. Our group believed that the core values of the Vietnamese culture such as kindness and gratitude help them overcome the traumas of war and migration and face life's challenges with optimism and determination. As Vietnamese-Americans, we saw our values are the same universal values embraced by other cultures; and they are becoming the cornerstone values in the emerging global community, in which individuals can maintain their unique cultural identity, but at the same time interact positively with other cultures as well.

    Our interest in culture is not for a philosophical but a practical purpose. We believe that cultural values hold the power to change and erase the lingering legacy of war, violence and injustice including the most heinous of problems such as human trafficking in Southeast Asia. That was why we were interested in Tien Ho and George Reed, the founders of Action to End Exploitation "AEE" (see their article) and their work in providing education to the most vulnerable children in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

    The Thanksgiving Crisis

    In this past December, we were shocked to learn that the Cambodian government without notice forced AEE to close its school, which were serving nearly one hundred children. AEE had tried for years to register with the Cambodian authority but was not successful. Now, the government will not let them operate without paying them an exorbitant sum.

    It would have been a sad end to a heroic effort to save the children from the mean streets of Phnom Penh, where sex industry dominates the neighborhood. But the school's manager, Kung Yanthy (see her story), her staff and three international volunteers were determined to keep the school going. They turned the school into a local non-profit organization and renamed it URL="http://cccambodia.org"]Children for Change - Cambodia[/URL]" or CCC. Luckily, the government did not give the new school a hard time and allowed it to reopen.

    To ensure the school's long term success, a sister group - Friends of CCC - was formed to provide CCC financial and technical support. With three volunteers, Hazell Cockle, Carl Chapman from the U.K. and Sarah Kergin from Canada already in Cambodia, CQF joined Friends of CCC as its fiscal agent and principle funder to ensure the school's success through the first year. Aid to Children without Parents Inc. provided a crucial gift to help the school running March and gave the new organization enough time get its operation together.

    At the helm of CCC are three young Khmer leaders. Kung Yanthy, in her early thirties is now a mother to be. Tang Pouv is a medical student in residency, and Chansoranni Lim is a third-year accounting student at a local university, both supported by scholarships from overseas donors. In the company of energetic, passionate and talented staff and volunteers, CQF feels honored to participate. We know clearly that CCC is not just any charity. The children here live in a slum and surrounded by the most exploitive and dangerous redlight district in Phnom Phenh. Watch this brief news clip of the neighborhood around CCC and you will get a sense of the danger for children.

    Watch a brief CNN news clip about a Phnom Phenh young girl who became a victim of the pervasive sex business in the surrounding CCC neighborhood

    Please Give a Hand to CCC!

    While many people are distraught at the close of AEE, angry at the Cambodian government, and apprehensive about the long-term success of CCC, the fact is that the school is a gem in this impoverished community. How much money and time will it take to rebuild another school like CCC? How many children will have to suffer the fate of the girl in the video? How much more time will pass until someone in this community stand up and start taking care of the long term needs of the children in this community?

    For those of us who can give some money, all it takes is one US dollar a day to give one child an education for a year. Yes, just $1/day, and CCC needs 100 individuals to do this so CCC can pay for rent, tuition, food, uniform, books and supplies for the existing students through 2013. With more support, CCC can establish new vocational programs for the older teens such as word processing and basic accounting, so they can have a sure path out of poverty. We invite you to visit the school's website for more information http://cccambodia.org.

    As a fiscal agent for Friends of CCC and an IRS 501(c)3 non-profit organization, CQF will forward 100% of all money collected to CCC and maintain all receipts and other proof of expenditures for members of Friends of CCC to review. All donors will receive a receipt and contributions from the U.S. will be tax-deductible as allowed by law.

    You can help write the success story for Children for Change - Cambodia. Only a $1 a day will help to fulfill a dream of not only a child, but of an embattled community. On behalf of Cultural Quest Foundation, thank you for your support!

    William Uy Khieu, MD MBA
    President of Cultural Quest Foundation

    The staff of CCC: Ton, Lakana, Vatey, Chansorrani and Thy

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