THE TOGETHER PROJECT (TTP) HELPS THOSE IMPACTED BY THE COVID ECONOMY AND THOSE WHO ARE IN NEED.
TTP evolved from the Covid-19 pandemic. In early 2020, with the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the closing of countries across the globe, Cambodia had shut down tighter than most. In an effort to protect themselves from the virus, the closing of Cambodia’s borders had a devastating effect on its economy with an estimated 390,000 people losing their jobs. The once booming tourist industry in Cambodia had come to an abrupt halt with suspension of all tourist visas. Suddenly, once bustling tourist destinations like Angkor Wat have become empty. Cambodia’s garment factories, its largest employer, had also closed down, resulting in a loss of 100,000 jobs alone.
With the loss of so many jobs leaving some without any food to eat, the Rural Schools Support Organization (RSSO) decided to start a program to feed those affected by the ‘Covid Economy’. In May of 2020 RSSO bought 20 tons of rice, some noodles, fish sauce, soy sauce, salt, and sugar to distribute to those in need. We have continued to work with the local commune chiefs to distribute food and identify those most in need. By the end of 2020, on top of food distribution, a new initiative began: Sustainable Crop Farming. We called that program THE TOGETHER PROJECT (TTP).
TTP partnered with the Royal University of Agriculture in Phnom Penh to help develop the program. We hired a degreed, trained agronomist as the Project Manager, and through her, secured a 70m x 80m parcel of land in Bakong Commune, Bakong District, near Siem Reap.
We have built a Sustainable Farm made up of:
(1) A Hydroponics Greenhouse 10m x 28m,
(2) A Netted Garden with drip-irrigation system 28m x 28m, and
(3) An Aquaponics System 8m x 28m.
TTP, with funding from the Landmine Relief Fund, has built the Sustainable Farm in 2021 to be used as a ‘Beta’ Farm. Here, TTP is testing out the program’s implementation as well as using it to train new farmers by our degreed agronomist. The intent is to duplicate all, or parts of the Sustainable Farm around the country with support and funding through the Landmine Relief Fund as well as revenue from the farm’s own produce sold to the local community.
Although Cambodia’s efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19 within its borders were initially successful, the country is currently experiencing its worst outbreak yet. They did not detect their first case of community transmission until November 29th, 2020, and by the end of the year, only 500 cases of COVID-19 were discovered. But on February 20th, 2021, a massive outbreak has torn through the country. As of mid-July 2021, the total number of cases are at 69,600 with over 1,100 deaths. With virtually all of the country’s COVID-19 cases being seen in the past few months, and the new highly infectious “Delta” variant making its way around the world, the efforts of the TTP to help bring relief to people in Cambodia are more important than ever.
The Together Project has also partnered with Texas A&M University. The TPP plans on working with Texas A&M Architecture students to help further improve the design of our organic and sustainable farming program so that more can be built adjacent to or near the 26 schools built by the Rural Schools Village Program (RSVP).
The design for these farms will be spread across one hectare of land and include the Hydroponic Greenhouse, Netted Garden, and Aqua Pond of the original design, as well as a storage shed, distribution building, visitors center, and a home for an intern garden manager. Local residents and students will be trained on our ‘Beta’ farm to learn how to operate their own.
WHAT WE’VE ACHIEVED SO FAR
We have distributed over 175 metric tons of rice, providing more than 2,000,000 meals for those in need. We have distributed 68,000 kilos of other food supplies, including 130,000 packets of noodles, 10,000 bottles of soy and fish sauce, 12,000 bags of salt and nearly 10,000 bags of sugar.
We have fed villages in Siem Reap Province, those impacted by the floods of 2020, and those in confinement in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh due to Covid quarantines.
We have also completed the construction of the Hydroponics Greenhouse and Netted Garden in our Sustainable Farm, with produce from both being sold to local restaurants and hotels with amazing feedback, and supporting further development.
HOW DO YOU DONATE TO US?
All of our funding is from private donations. Both large and small. If you live in Cambodia, you donate directly to our bank account at ABA bank. If you live outside Cambodia, you can donate to the American charity, Landmine Relief Fund, a recognized 501c3 charity in the US.
WHERE DOES YOUR MONEY GO
To support the Sustainable Farm.
To provide food for distribution to those in need.
To provide school supplies for kids in rural villages.
To provide a living wage to those who work for RSSO.
None of this is done alone.
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