In 2006, The Indochina Starfish Foundation was set up by four friends who had all worked inthe Far East and were looking for an appropriate way to give something back. Bioflow Chairman Paul and his wife Myra immediately signed up as Trustees and Bioflow became a founding donor. In the last 4 years the ISF has achieved both remarkable growth and focus in what it does.
We now have two primary programmers, education and football, which are driven in dependently but using the same Organisation. A Bioflow Distributor from Ireland, Kate Griffin, has been the country manager in Phnom Penh for the last three years after extending a three month sabbatical in 2008.
The Education Programme
This is focused on taking the poorest children from the rubbish dump area of Phnom Penh and educating them. These children work on or nearby the dump within a family that is too poor to afford to school it's children. Through a comprehensive support package we educate these children until they are at a grade that matches the mainstream children in State Schools. At this point we put them into the State system but continue to support them through their remaining education years.
In order to enable us to take the children from their work we reward the family with a small quantity of monthly nutritious food. The children are screened and inoculated against disease and have their medical, dental and nutritious needs monitored and supported by the programme. Bioflow is particularly focused on this program and has to date injected funds to fit out a sports hall, supply computers and supported a football team.
The Football Programme
This started as a small group of children that were keen to play soccer. It has expanded to incorporate 2,500 children, boys and girls, from all over Cambodia into a weekly League and a number of annual tournaments. There are now over 30 squads sponsored by individuals and corporations around the world.
The future of the ISF is very exciting, the Education programme has just received a grant to buy land for a new purpose built school and hopefully this will be fully funded and constructed over the next two years. The programme is looking at a complete replication of our current Centre elsewhere in Phnom Penh to support another large group of children. The Football Programme has commenced a project to bring disabled children into soccer and other sports. We have already held a deaf/dumb children's tournament which was successful. In parallel we are looking to purchase further land for multiple football pitches as we are currently reliant on state owned facilities which are difficult to book and manage.
The ISF supports over 250 children in Education and the community along with 2,500 children in the soccer program. Funding comes from around the world but the contribution of Bioflow and its Distributors is considerable.
For more information please visit www.indochinastarfish.org