Rockin4Tabitha (R4T) is a fundraiser rhythm and blues (R&B) concert in support of the Tabitha Foundation Canada’s house building efforts in Cambodia.
A brief history of Rockin4Tabitha (Bob Carver)
Wendy and I first visited Angkor Wat in 2003, after several successive years of travel to Southeast Asia. We had been many places in Thailand, had seen Vietnam from south to north and back, and had been to Laos. As we flew from Bangkok to Siem Reap, we were struck by how dry Cambodia was. There was a literal line at the Thailand-Cambodia border From 30,000 feet up, you could see green on the Thai side, and dry, reddish brown earth on the Cambodian side. Rice fields could be easily seen by their raised edges, but they too were dry. Very little green….Wendy and I both looked at each other and said “What the heck?”.
Angkor was was beautiful, but the poverty was just meters away from the tourist areas. This struck us both, but we really didn’t talk about it then. The following September, I saw an article in the Ottawa Citizen about a local lady named Janne Ritskes who had started the Tabitha Foundation in Cambodia. She had spoken the night before at a fundraising event, so I had missed the talk, but with a little internet digging I found information about Janne and the development work being done by her organization. The Tabitha Foundation's goals were: 1) to deliver help but maintain the dignity of the recipients, and 2) the graduation and independence of the families.
I liked that.
We arranged "kick-a-thons" at my Muay Thai school, and sent money over for wells. Wells are cheap to put in but yield huge benefits as the families can grow cash crops year round, providing both income and improved nutrition. After doing this for several years, in 2006 we decided to try house building and Rockin4Tabitha was born. We built 4 houses with a team of 7 volunteers that first year. Needless to say, we were hooked as there have been R4T house builds every year since.
The people are fantastic. All they need is a little bit of help, they do the rest.
2015/2016 marks the 10th anniversary of R4T and a milestone in our efforts – since its inception in 2007, R4T has built a total of 130 houses, providing clean, safe, dry homes for ~660 deserving Cambodians, and has raised $238,000.
Rockin4Tabitha works through the Tabitha Foundation Canada with the primary purpose of raising money to build houses, wells and ponds. An international volunteer group of builders from all walks of life, the R4T build team travels to Cambodia each February.
Each volunteer team member pays for all their own travel, accommodation and food costs associated with the trip, each team member must fundraise $1100, the cost of a single house.
House building in Cambodia is a very rewarding experience. Each builder is responsible for upholding the good will that the Tabitha Foundation has worked hard to foster within the organization and the relationships built with the villages. Cambodia is a country still coming to grips with the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge regime, a country unsure of the role of Westerners in their world, as well as a country with deep beliefs in the Animist and Buddhist religions.
The R4T build team is very respectful of the cultural and religious differences in Cambodia and is focused on helping the Khmer villagers.
In February, 2016, R4T will travel to Preah Vihear, Cambodia.
Our goal in 2016 is to build 20 houses in Preah Vihear province