Kiva Lending Team: Cambodia Baseball
We loan because...
We in-need of loan to help impliment and support of our baseball program in Cambodia.
Cambodia Baseball is a non-profit group with the U.S. 501 (c)(3) Federal Tax ID. We're dedicated to bringing the joy and learning of baseball to young people in Cambodia.
Here is Joe's story in his own words:
"Hello, I'm Joe Cook, Cambodian-American, 35 years old married with two children. I have worked as a chef for over 15 years and currently work at the Mikata Japanese Steakhouse in Dothan, Alabama. I first fell in love with baseball when I came to America at 12 years old.
Escaping to America
"During the 1970s, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge began brutally enforcing radical communism. Mass executions, starvation and disease killed more than two million Cambodians - including my father and two younger sisters.
"Land mines and other wire mines also killed over 80,000 people and wounded 900,000 more. I was one of those wounded by a wire tree mine.
"Since the day I was born in 1970, I experienced suffering due to war, poverty, illness and no education. After my father was killed, my family was sent to work in labor camps - and in 1976 three of my sisters were separated and lost. In late 1978, when I was eight years old, my mother, oldest brother and me escaped from our camp and began a journey to the Thailand border.
"We walked and ran bare foot for four days and three nights. I was starved and exhausted and near death, following my accident with the tree wire mine, but we made it to the border. And, after four miraculous years in refugee camps, we came to Chattanooga, Tennessee on May 13, 1983.
"I am very lucky and proud to be in America.
Traveling back to Cambodia
"Nearly twenty years after coming to America, I heard that my sister was alive and I went back to Cambodia to reunite with her and her family in May 2002.
"While I was there, my niece and nephew took me to see their school and friends.
"After seeing the school, I knew what I must do to help the children and the school. I told them that when I came back I would bring baseball and school supplies.
"No one had ever heard anything about baseball before - and had no idea what I was talking about. At the time, I had no equipment to show them so I promised that when I came back to Cambodia I would bring some.
"A few weeks later, back in Dothan, Alabama I began collecting school and baseball equipment to send to those children in Cambodia. And I am extremely grateful to the those who helped me collect these supplies.
Baseball is born in Cambodia
"In November 2002, I returned to Cambodia as promised with gifts for the children and donations of school and baseball equipment for the MeasChum school in the city Baribo, 68 miles west of Phnom Penh.
"Over the following days, I helped the children build Cambodia's first baseball field. And on November 26, 2002 baseball was 'born' in Cambodia and I officially introduced it to people for the first time.
"I taught the children and teachers how to pitch, throw, catch, hit and run the bases. They soon got the idea - and I was so happy to see children playing baseball for the first in Cambodia.
"In Baribo, baseball has grown into a very popular sport. More and more children and adults have gotten involved. Some players had walked over three days to play or learn baseball.
"Within five months, the people and the Mayor of Baribo donated land to build a second ballpark called Koom Baseball Field.
"Baseball equipment is hard to come by for these players and many play with bare feet and no gear. Baseballs, themselves, are in limited supply too. And never thrown away regardless of their condition. I am always looking for extra equipment. And, now, there are more than 50 schools that would love to participate.
Coaching Baseball from a world away
"Since 2002, I have been coaching baseball from across the globe - via the internet.
"Every night in Dothan (Cambodia is 12 hours ahead), I go online to communicate with those who run the programs for me in Cambodia.
On my off days from the restaurant, I go to local high schools and ballparks to videotape baseball games to send to Cambodia. these tapes are a great teaching tool for the players.
"Bringing baseball to Cambodia is my passion. And I am determined to help others have a better life.
"Thanks to generous support from people like you, we are making progress. But I am hopeful we can do much more. Today, we're working to raise funds to create two new ball fields in the provinces of Kompong Chnang and Kompong Cham. And we're always collecting baseball gear".
If you would like to learn more about how you or your organization can make a donation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Tel: 334-790-5002
Or find out more here about how you can help.
Location: Cambodia Team website
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