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:: MIRACLE FISHES, TRAGIC FAREWELLS AND NEW BEGINNINGS                                             Dec 10

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Almost to the end of the year already, Green Gecko has turned FIVE and so much continues to happen in Gecko land. From feeding our families with fish we have grown to our first mum at vocational school, there has been much going on.

Although many of our Gecko friends have joined our Facebook page, to receive regular updates, we know that others prefer to receive our newsletter, direct to your email inbox. This snapshot of just some of the Gecko happenings over the past few months is especially for you.

Before we share with you our good news though, we would like to make special mention to all the families who lost loved ones in last month’s Phnom Penh Water Festival tragedy. Our love and blessings go out to all of you. We would also like to remember Chan, the mother of Saron, Reit, Tha and Srey Mom, who sadly lost her battle with cancer in September. Thankfully, her children were able to spend her last days with her and were surrounded by a huge Gecko family who loves them dearly.

:: GECKO KIDS HONOUR A MOTHER'S PASSING

Chan was honoured by all the children and staff of Green Gecko in a traditional Khmer ceremony. Sadly, the children’s dad was human trafficked in an organised begging ring to Malaysia over two years ago and has not been seen since. Khmer children are particularly resilient, and the four kids are all doing so well under the circumstances.

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Saron has always had a quirky sense of humour and every weekend there is the same unwavering banter she shares with Tania. When the other children go home to their families, without fail Saron says, “this weekend I go home”, to which Tania responds, “Saron, you are home - you are stuck with me for the rest of your life!” to which Saron responds with a reassured giggle.

:: THE MIRACLE OF THE GECKO FISHES!

Some months ago we were inspired by the children and teachers of Gilmore College WA to look into fish farming... and look into fish farming we did! Rem went on research mission, a hole was dug, the rain came and 50 kilos of catfish fingerlings were released in to a big pond. The fingerlings were fed… and they got big! Big enough for us to celebrate our inaugural catch last month - enough fish to feed 24 families with plenty left over and lunch for 100 at Gecko. Our first major step in successful sustainability!
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50 kilos fingerlings ready to pour into their new home
Buckets were heavy and a little bit slimy
For good luck we honour the land spirits with this little offering... pig head and all.
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From this
To this! Plenty of fish and HAPPY FAMILIES!
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:: ACADEMIC ACCOLADES FOR THE GREEN GECKO KIDS

We are proud and excited to announce that a strong contingent from Green Gecko was once again invited to attend the NYIS – New York International School - Outstanding Academic Achievement Awards for 2010. To be invited to the awards, students must have placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in their class for the year. Eight of our Geckos were amongst the country’s brightest, and headed to Phnom Penh to receive their awards from the Ministry of Education. In addition, all of these students were invited to sit a separate exam to compete against top NYIS students from across the country. It is with great pleasure we announce that our very own Miss Pichet won FIRST PLACE for Grade 7 in all of Cambodia!

It took her a long time to walk to the stage as she was in a state of disbelief... needless to say we celebrated the night away with dinner and a carnival! CONGRATULATIONS to Pichet, Kim Suan, Ni Preab, Rayou, Thai, Kunthea, Srey Nao and Nott. WELL DONE ON A FANTASTIC JOB!

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NUMBER 1 Year 7 Student in all NYIS schools of Cambodia goes to... Miss Pichet from the Green Gecko Project!
Gecko kids take centre stage
Award Winners: Nott, Srey Nao, Pichet, Kim Suan, Ni Preab, Rayou, Kunthea, Thai
ecko mum
Celebratory dinner… adult free table!
More celebrations... Nott and Nele on the roller coaster!
Ni Preab's face tells it all, moments before she spent the next hour bending forward!
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:: FIRST GRADUATED GECKO ENTERS VOCATIONAL TRAINING

We are also extremely proud to announce that our 2nd eldest Gecko son Davvy graduated high school and was accepted to study at Paul Dubrule School, a very well respected hotel and tourism vocational school in Siem Reap. We are over the moon for him and look forward to supporting him during his studies. 19 year old Davvy has always dreamed of working in hotel reception... as well as being a love song superstar, of course! This makes at least one of his dreams one step closer to fruition.

CONGRATULATIONS Davvy on your first day at Paul Dubrule School. We are so very proud of you, and think you look very handsome in your new uniform!

:: FROM BEGGING TO BAGS

It’s not only the kids that have been reaching new heights in the past few months - we have also had a Gecko mum start her first ever class, enrolling in vocational training! With mild physical and mental disabilities herself, along with an elderly blind husband and four children to care for, begging has been the family’s only form of income for decades. Not strong enough to cart a fruit trolley or book stall around herself, this mum had the courage to try her skill at learning to weave bags at Grace House Community Centre… and she LOVES IT!

It was a jubilant day as her first bag was completed! Needless to say, Tania jumped at the chance to buy the bag as a reminder of a huge hurdle that this Gecko mum has overcome, and a major step in providing for her family with pride.

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As usual, there is always more we could tell! You don’t need to a member or sign up to keep in the loop through our Facebook page, just head to www.facebook.com/greengeckoproject whenever you feel like a dose of latest Gecko photos, quotes and news.

Thank you very much for all your ongoing support, particularly to our angel donors, creative contributors and fabulous volunteers... you know who you are (and so do we!).

Much Gecko gratitude,

Tania, Rem and all the Green Gecko gang


Ps: This year’s calendars and cards have just arrived in Cambodia and we are over the moon with them.  The rest of the stock is in Sydney and Tania’s mum is ready and waiting with her postbags to send out any last minute Gecko gift shop orders!

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