Tabitha Foundation is a benevolent trust, founded in 1994 to support
mission and aid efforts begun and organized by Janne Ritskes. For the
time our field activities are centred in Cambodia, whose people were
decimated by a regime which promoted enforced starvation, mass
executions, slave labour and wholesale dislocation to such a degree that
the social, moral and economic fibre of the country was left in tatters.
Central to the Tabitha
Foundation is the conviction that our work should foster this sense of
community among the local population. To this end the projects always
involve the instruction of indigenous trainers who , by example and
teaching , work to restore control to communities themselves and guide
the work towards self-sustainability. The goal is always to help create
a healthy, viable community.
All members on the Board of the
Tabitha Foundation in the UK are volunteers and receive no remuneration.
September 2007 Year End Accomplishments for Tabitha Cambodia:
In the past year, Tabitha worked with 33,958 families with 271,664 dependents.
2025 volunteers came from all over the world and built 611 houses.
997 wells were installed.
Please help us do even more in the coming year by donating generously to one of our projects.
||Janne Ritskes, head
of projects, has 20 years of international experience with
integrated community development programs and cottage industry. Her
programs and projects continue, having proven sustainable among the
poorest of the poor in the slums of the United States, the
Philippines, Kenya and Cambodia.
Gordon Longmuir, Ambassador
of Canada to Cambodia 1995-99
Not long after I was appointed
Ambassador to Cambodia in 1995, I encountered a struggling grass roots
non governmental organization called Tabitha, directed, seemingly
effortlessly, by an unlikely Canadian saint, Janne Ritskes. The
ambitious purpose of this project was to give hope to some of the most
destitute of Cambodia's people in achieving sustainable and dignified
livelihoods. Janne was a member of the advisory committee of our Canada
Fund for Initiatives, and brought to it her own irreverent counsel,
often refreshingly at variance with official aid doctrine, drawing on
her unique experience with Tabitha.
Tabitha has helped Khmer
families establish productive lives with jobs, land, homes, better
health and sanitation. This has been realized in large part through the
imaginative use of credit and savings, generated initially by the
production of cottage industry products to be sold visitors or exported
to expanding markets abroad.
Tabitha emphasized then, as it
does now, self help and confidence in the future. Its work in 1995 was
concentrated in and around the capital, Phnom Penh, with one outlet for
its products. With a little help from the Canada Fund, the organization
set up its second branch in Siem Reap, near the ancient Angkor ruins.
Today, Tabitha has expanded remarkably, with a popular handicraft outlet
at Siem Reap Airport and broadly based programs in Prey Veng and Kampong
Aside from Janne (who has
herself recently acquired Khmer citizenship), its staffing is entirely
Cambodian and unlike numerous Cambodian NGOs, it maintains a remarkably
modest demeanour. The Tabitha Foundation, from a small support group in
Ottawa, has blossomed into a multi-country operation. In addition to
growing international monetary support, it has attracted
scores of enthusiastic volunteers from Canada, Australia and elsewhere
for village building projects.
I warmly commend the
extraordinary work that Tabith has accomplished over this past decade,
both in its own program and as a fresh example to others of what hard
work and visionary management can accomplish in a developing country.