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Announcement December 2016

New Horizons Society/Unlimited (NHS/U) in Abeyance

A strange thing happened to this organization, mystifying everyone.

A group of well-wishing supporters are trying to resume activities in 2017.

NHS/U - despite having funding, assets and materials – ceased activities in 2015 when the Executive Officer appeared to abandon it. He seems to have decided to make his living marketing products from one of NHS/U’s beneficiary self-help groups, as can be seen from his personal Facebook postings.

There was no resignation or notification to the Board of Directors or to authorities who not long before had re-registered the NGO. A new project had been approved by the donor; appeared to be going well, and arrangements for the annual audit set to take place. In fact the auditor was waiting for the financial records to be delivered, as promised. The landlord of the office was left with the assets, rent unpaid. Although there has been some communications from the Executive Officer, he has still not formally notified anyone of his plans. He has not handed over keys. He has not yet accounted for all the funds entrusted to him by the donor on behalf of beneficiaries.

Yet we do know that most of the money has been properly used to sponsor poor children to go to school, as intended. Indeed they acknowledge it as do partner NGOs. We know too that there are still poor families needing more of this help in both provinces of Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Thom. Some funding remains unspent from the main donor with more available from other donors.

So the mystery is why the Executive Officer has behaved so strangely He worked well and effectively for NHS/U for over 5 years (with a good regular salary).

We hope to have answers early in 2017. Authorities will require annual reports under the Associations and Non-Governmental Organisation Law (LANGO). They are willing to use their powers. We hope that this will not be necessary. Explanations are needed. One must go to the donor as they too need to account to their Board and home country authorities for the generous grant given to Cambodia.

Mr Kat Bunheng (kat.bunheng@gmail.com) and I have formed this group with other well-meaning supporters. We are open to offers if anyone can assist. We will keep this site posted on any developments.

John Lowrie (former Secretary-General) lowriejohn@gmail.com

Announcement 10 December 2015

We are sorry that our website has been down due to technical problems, so we have not updated it for a while. Please rest assured we will do so soon. Despite no news posted, we have been busy with activities for vulnerable members. Twelve young people, equal numbers of boys and girls, graduated from their computer training in Kampong Chhnang. Our social enterprises, giving poor families new livelihoods, are doing well, one especially so. We are also forging closer links with other NGOs, working on shared actions for indigenous ethnic minority youngsters, especially girls.

We will write up and post stories and pictures as soon as possible.

The Board of Directors and Management,
New Horizons Unlimited

Announcement 19 September 2014

We are pleased to announce that on the exact same day as Scotland voted against independence (19 September 2014), our organization decided that it no longer needed its UK connection on its senior management. NHS has therefore become a completely Cambodian-owned, registered and managed local NGO, with a small change in the title and acronym to NHU. We have therefore revamped our logo and banner, as well as revised our target groups. We will still target disabled people and families living with disability or pronounced social disadvantage. However, as the government is committed to improving state pensions and benefits, from now on we will usually work with those groups who remain outside the public scheme. We now include indigenous people – our new Chair-person is from the Kuoy ethnic minority.

Our main activities will continue to be to facilitate poor children to access schooling and to be able to go on to tertiary education and obtain Computing and English skills. As you may read below and in other pages, this is the best way to create “life-changing opportunities”, for families to escape permanently from poverty and to avoid social ills. We take this opportunity to thank our main donor Stichting Kinderpostzegels Nederland (Foundation for Children's Welfare Stamps) Netherlands. We look forward to soon passing 2,000 beneficiaries since we started work in 2009. In coming weeks, the new management will be updating these website pages. We will keep existing ones as a historical record.

Please go to "Latest News" for a report on the handover.

Overcoming odds, changing mindsets,
new life-changing opportunities

International development literature generally and Cambodia specifically now abounds with theories; studies and complex projects. Some operate with government agencies, others by or with international Non-Government Organisations (NGOs). They are led by "experts" to introduce change and "sustainable" solutions. Very often as time-frames for such projects are short, up to 3 years, they rely on participation only by those people who stand the best chance of assimilating the change. Invariably these are people who already have opportunities - some education, some land, some resources or political/social connections. These projects are not genuine pro-poor. Society's poorest and most vulnerable - our members - are usually excluded. If not excluded, due to starting off with greater disadvantage, they lag behind other groups.

Families living with disability are among the poorest of poor in Cambodia. Alongside them are female-headed households, and families with many dependents and limited breadwinners. The living conditions of all our members are self-assessed and checked. Through their self-help group, they develop their own solutions. These can be short-term, long-term or a mix of the two. Hand-outs are not given or wanted. Families usually want modest start-up capital to run a new enterprise or relieve them from crippling debt of repaying loan sharks.

Danith and his familyAbove all, they see the education of their children as the most essential pre-requisite for their family's long-term benefit. Our organization meets the wishes of our members.. Now after a decade, we have the proof that this low-cost, low organizational-overhead approach works.

To give a better idea, here we illustrate Danith one of our newest beneficiaries. Our work is about “Life-changing opportunities” or making a difference to the lives of poor families with vulnerabilities. Until last year most of our beneficiaries were Khmer, the main group of Cambodians. Our move to work in Kampong Thom has enabled us to include indigenous “Kuoy” people. Danith, aged just 9, and his two younger sisters (Sophors, 6; and Sambath, 3) will grow up in a very different world to their widowed mother Mrs.Tith Tha. They, like other Cambodian ethnic minorities, must adapt to the modern world; economic development, loss of land etc.

Education is the key to being able to adapt and work their way out-of-poverty towards prosperity. NHS is very pleased to help Danith realize his ambition to attend school. He says:

“I really want to go to school like other children because it is fun and I wish that I can become a teacher if I finish school. I like the standing of our teacher, everyone in the village loves our teacher”.

Faraway in distance from Danith, but close in mind and heart, is an 18 year-old girl Tharoth who says "I want to be a pharmacist; I want to make my dream come true...!" Please read here Tharoth's heroic struggle to achieve her ambition. Let’s hope that both Danith and Tharoth will emulate Kiv described below, or Visal – perhaps our most successful beneficiary with his own computer school and business. To find out more about Danith, his family and latest news of his progress, click here. Danith is one of 32 new sponsored children (13 girls) in Kampong Thom, along with 68 families in new livelihood self-help groups. In all, the project has supported 1290 beneficiaries since SKN and PVF awarded funding in June 2009.

Kiv, a former beneficiaryIf you go to "Latest news" you can read about past students such as Kiv. She was the first member of her family to complete secondary schooling. Then she passed our computer skills training in Kampong Chhnang, and worked hard to be admitted for a similar higher education course at Passerelles Numeriques Cambodge (PNC). She passed that too! Today she is in full-time work in Phnom Penh, making a good income for her family and herself.

One of the unanticipated odds Kiv and our members have had to overcome has been the opposition mounted by our former International NGO and certain government officials. Readers of this page in the past will know of the issues. Now we have moved them to a new sub-page of Latest News as we want to give pre-eminence on our Home Page to the undoubted good news. As on 05 Nov 2013, we have assisted hundreds of students to complete schooling or go on to higher education. However, we could have assisted more. We have the money to do so. Accordingly we are in 2013 starting the project up in Kampong Thom province with new partners and where everyone including authorities are fully-supportive.

"For better lasting lives and livelihoods"

The New Horizons Society is an organization of federated self-help groups dedicated to promoting equality; ending poverty, and securing life-changing opportunities for our membership of mainly disabled people.

"A new day like no other" is what our very poor disabled and disadvantaged members want to experience. Their first day with a special New Horizon!

Our purpose is to bring about such a special day with changes that come once-in-a-lifetime, to achieve full and equal social inclusion, despite natural or man-made vulnerabilities. To do so, we address their problems and root causes by:

  • Transforming social status, confidence, skills and circumstances.
  • Raising family income, food, nutrition and other essential inputs to take and keep us all out of poverty.
  • Discovering, nurturing, and developing individual talents to reach his or her maximum potential and so enter professional and entrepreneurial careers.

We describe these in "Advocacy", "Livelihoods" and "Opportunities" with illustrated case-studies. We invite you to navigate our website to learn about us and the key values, principles and standards of our mission in "About Us" and "Governance".

We welcome your comments and suggestions.

Our current logo and banner was introduced in August 2014 on the advice of the Ministry of Interior to reduce confusion, as the “rising sun” was now in the logos of many NGO logos and the main CNRP Opposition Political Party. Mr Ray Walker, who kindly led the original design, has come up with the new one, that is simpler but still denotes a new day dawning for our members.

NHS logo Our old logo from 2008 to 2014, that belongs to our Kampong Chhnang members, will be fondly remembered. It featured a rising sun denoting a new day and "New Horizons for Disabled People". Our members picked it themselves. The message is said in the Khmer lettering appearing as the rays of the sun. The three people in the foreground include a disabled man in a wheel-chair. They are starting on the path towards their new horizon. The path crosses the Tonle Sap river, a tributary of the Mekong, that flows through Kampong Chhnang and reverses its flow between wet and dry seasons. The outline on the horizon is Mount Kongrei visible clearly from Kampong Chhnang town where our project started in 2003. According to ancient legend the hill is the body of a woman who committed suicide after her husband abandoned her.

NHS's office is at Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia.

  • Tel: +855 (0) 26 988 907 or +855 (0) 12 991 221
  • E-mail: nhs@camintel.com
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