The Green Gecko Project... where kids can be kids and dreams can come true.

cut to the chase - with our new look annual report - 2018

suostei​ anak​ teang os knea (hello everyone),

If you are reading this then you are either Green Gecko family, friends or supporters, or know someone who is; or perhaps you've been here in sweaty Siem Reap to visit us in person. Whatever the connection, we'd like to say a big hello and huge thanks for taking an interest in what we do. As you might already know, we don't make a habit of inundating everyone with emails throughout the year but this one is our 2018 Annual Financial Report, recently sent out to our Gecko Guardians. It's full of fun facts, figues and colourful graphs and we thought you might like to read it too ;) If you've received it twice by chance, please click here to let us know. 

here goes...

It has suddenly dawned upon us that anyone who's ever asked to see our Annual Report has always been an avid supporter, Gecko Guardian or friend. Therefore, chances be that - either through our Guardian Gazette or our social media pages - they're already pretty clued up with all the major milestones and proud moments that our kids and families are achieving. 

And as much as we LOVE to ‘rehash our trash’ ;) we don’t really fancy delivering you our rehashed news. SO, from this year onwards you can look forward to a more streamline report; one where we've done away with the feel-good anecdotal padding and cut straight to the chase by sharing the stuff we don't show on social media... our financials. We'll also address our most frequently asked question; what's next and what do we need to achieve it? 

Therefore, our Annual Report has now become our Annual Financial Report, sharing with you WHAT we spend, WHERE we spend it and even more importantly WHY we spend it.

Of course, in true Gecko style, it isn't corporate or conventional and doesn't read like a normal financial report; but amongst the colour, vibrancy and heart-felt words, all the same essential information is here.  

Please enjoy. 

expenses by projects

On our beautiful new website (have you checked it out yet?) we have broken down our Gecko Activities into three main areas: 1. Children & Young Adults 2. Families & Community and 3. Social Enterprise. But to make it easier for accounting purposes we have divided our activities into five areas, which gives you a better idea of where the money is spent.   

GECKO CENTRAL | $112,925 | 25% :: The 'epicentre' of our project, Gecko Central, is where all the action happens, where the heart beat is. It is the place where we invite visitors to come and share our story, where our Geckos get involved in extracurricular activities, additional classes and daily assemblies, and where our management team work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the doors open and the wheels in motion.

We are big believers that education doesn't only take place within four walls of a school classroom. We encourage our kids to broaden their horizons and embrace their individual strengths and skills. Extra-curricular activities such as music, languages and sport are just as important as academic subjects to our project. And some kids just need that extra support through outside tuition and programs to get through the everyday school curriculum. Most of this happens at Gecko Central, under the watchful and caring eyes of our staff, and older brothers and sisters who have become such amazing mentors for their younger Gecko siblings.

It is a place where our children are heard, where they are encouraged to develop and express independent thought. At Gecko they learn at a very young age to participate in decisions that affect their lives.   

Gecko Central is not only our epicentre, but it's also the big umbrella covering the bigger ripples essential to creating and implementing our holistic approach; enabling us to meet all aspects of Children's Rights; Survival, Development, Protection and Participation.

Under it we facilitate and cover expenses for other important activities, education and events that are culturally important and add to the comprehensive programs that we offer. Attending and performing Buddhist and cultural ceremonies, celebrations and excursions; capacity building for our staff; Khmer literacy for our families; women’s and family workshops; and traditional martial arts are all an important part of our program.

Our Wellness & Holistic Care program helps us to meet the psychological and physical needs of the children, young adults, families and staff. Using a holistic care approach, our program covers more than just the standard doctor visits and medicines. We also value and include specialist appointments such as dentist, eye, ear and reproductive health, alternative therapies, counselling and social work.  

Everyday expenses are part of our reality too; bills that need to be paid to keep us powering along; administration costs, operation & transportation, building and maintenance. All of these costs put together help keep our gates open and our Geckos strong in mind, spirit and body.

PRIMARY & HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION | $58,805 | 13% :: No one denies that education is the key to breaking the cycle of begging and poverty, hence all of our Geckos are given the opportunity to study formal education from Primary School all the way to Tertiary Education. The Primary & High School program covers tuition fees for National Khmer Curriculum at Western International School; it also coves essential education expenses such as uniforms, stationery, school shoes and bags as well as school truck expenses.

TERTIARY PROGRAM | $39,780 | 9% :: We understand that each young adult has different needs, skills and dreams, and that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to tertiary education. Some young adults will opt for employment straight out of school and others will strive for future education. At Green Gecko we provide 'Green Heart Scholarships' which for successful applications cover tuition fees, associated education expenses and living costs for our tertiary students. See where some of our Green Heart Scholars are now.

FAMILIES & COMMUNITY | $141,948 | 32% :: According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory, the most basic needs (like food, water, shelter, safety, security) must be satisfied before individuals can attend to needs higher up (love and belonging, esteem and self-actualisation). We want our kids to thrive, not just survive, and for this reason helping our families meet the physiological needs of their children is fundamental in their and our long-term success.

Our Community Living Support covers these ‘lower down needs’ meaning that our Geckos and their families can live together safely and happily. Safe housing contribution, sanitary amenities, hygiene products, clothing, living allowance, household goods and transport as well as nutritious chemical-free food and clean water… all the regular everyday essentials that enable our kids to live with their families and/or in the community while staying healthy, clean and mobile.

We also have two student-led social initiatives that enables our kids to give back to their community:

Tnai Samrap Srey empowers days of education, health, safety and dignity for girls and women during their periods by providing feminine hygiene packs and sharing information not readily available to most rural families. 

Gecko Action is a youth humanitarian group, inspired by the Rotary Rotaract group that reaches out into the community; raising money by doing working bees and sharing the love with others in need. Whether it is giving blood, enrolling a child into school, cleaning up the community or repairing a house for the elderly; their efforts are felt and appreciated throughout the community... and the Geckos are given the empowering opportunity to give as they have received. 

To add to the fabulousness of these two initiatives is that they are already sustainable and are financially independent from Gecko. How wonderful is that?

SOCIAL ENTERPRISES | $90,316 | 21% :: Our social enterprises extend this reach even further; they not only connect our families and children to their own communities, they also magnify our work and have a ripple effect within Siem Reap. Improving the lives of local Khmer people through up-skilling, safe employment, environmental protection and healthy living; all three enterprises pride themselves on providing sustainable work, and supporting local initiatives through events and contributions.

Purple Mango Wellness Centre is a Green Gecko non-profit social enterprise that provides treatment spaces for visiting and local practitioners from all forms of holistic therapies. Services provided are primarily offered to the expat community using an affordable fee structure, which then enables us to offer treatments to the Khmer community on a donations basis, depending on what the individual can afford. Included in these treatments is a weekly dental clinic, offering fundamental dental care to not only the Gecko family, but also to hundreds of our extended Khmer community through our partner NGO network. 

It is our goal in 2019 that our other two wonderful social enterprises - the life and environment changing Rehash Trash as well as the industrious Silk Screen Printing Lab - will be financially sustainable; completing the transition from NGO projects to fully functioning social enterprising businesses. This year we were lucky enough to be awarded a large grant to build a showroom for the Silk Screen Printing Lab, which bumped up the amount spent.

It is our intention that all costs for Social Enterprise for the next financial year will dramatically reduced and in 2020 will be as close to zero as possible. 

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2018 expense distribution - by category (all projects combined)

Across our 5 main projects we have 9 main sub-categories of expenses. Below gives you an outline of what these expenses entail. Total expense for 2018 is $443,774. 

NUTRITION | $74,521 | 17% :: We all know that students can’t learn with empty bellies so that's why we place great importance on diet. This category covers fresh, chemical-free vegetables, fruit, meat and wildlife-friendly organic rice. 

EDUCATION | $64,524 | 15% :: Education is the key. This category covers all expenses for formal education programs across each project - fees and associated costs.

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES & EXTRA CLASSES | $21,909 | 5% :: Beyond the classroom walls. This category covers all extra-curricular activities for Geckos, families and staff. It also covers important ceremonies, celebrations and excursions.

WELLNESS & HOLISTIC CARE | $14,937 | 3% :: Healthy minds and hearts are as important as healthy bodies. This category covers all medical and wellness expenses.

COMMUNITY LIVING SUPPORT | $93,893 | 21% :: Every child has the right to clean water, sanitation, hygiene and to live safely with their families.

*This year’s community living support expenses included a 3-wheel disability scooter for Sokhim whose life has changed dramatically now he is able to travel independently. 

BUILDING AND MAINTENANCE | $51,694 | 12% :: This category generally consists of small building & repair projects, plumbing and electrical maintenance.

*This year we were lucky enough to be awarded a large one-off grant to build a showroom for our social enterprise Silk Screen Printing Lab, which unusually bumped up this amount.

ADMINISTRATION COSTS | $24,225 | 5% :: Uninspiring essentials. This category covers bank fees, government charges, stationery and printing, insurances, payroll taxes, telephone, internet. But it also covers the very inspiring, invaluable admin staff to keep it all under control.

OPERATIONS & TRANSPORT | $47,950 | 11% ::  This category covers rent & basic utilities, computer equipment, safety equipment and expenses for vehicles used by staff.

STAFF SALARIES & EXPENSES | $50,121 | 11% :: This category covers all the incredible crew that keep the Green Gecko cogs turning and running smoothly; cooks, drivers, maintenance staff and security, all the important people who we couldn’t do without.

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looking into the future

At Green Gecko we have never had an age limit to end access to education. We have always said to each and every Gecko, ‘do your best and we will support you all the way’. You see, many of our senior high school students are already in their early 20s, but they have their heart set on finishing their education and making something of themselves in a career that they are passionate about, not what is selected for them.

Gecko has also never been one to merely tick boxes. We are here to create long-term and sustainable change and, because our original students were never age-appropriate for school, we decided very early on to gauge how far each child would be supported in their education by their determination, not their age.

In the beginning we had always planned to finish our project in August 2022, when our original Gecko lease ends and our first Geckos would be close to finishing their tertiary education. But in 2013 we knew we had to take on 30 of the younger siblings (ie: the kids in the main photo of this report, formerly known as the Tiger Club kids) if our project was going to have a long-lasting impact and completely break the cycle of poverty and limited education.

So as we are big believers in following through, we are inevitably now moving on past this original end date. However in saying that, it will be different, it will be more like shifting from Parent role to Grandparent role, and many of us know how good that feels... it's a whole different ball game!

Because thanks to the amazing determination, commitment and achievements of their older siblings, we won’t NEED to 'be there’ in the same capacity. Each year more and more of our young adults are getting qualified and starting lives of their own, ready to support their families. It is theirs - and our - intention, that by August 2022, they will be in a position to take over the holistic care of their siblings, and our role will be to mentor and support them from behind the scenes. We are aiming and hoping to take a more advisory role; running a scholarship program rather than running the ship itself! 

Above is a graph of our best-case scenario estimate… who knows for sure how far each Gecko will go. Some will stick it out until Grade 12 and move onto university, and others no doubt will graduate at Grade 9 and choose a trade. Either way, our intention is that we will stay with them as long as we can and take them across the education finish line into a brand new life, not only for them, but for their entire families. 

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projected costs

As you can see, by stepping into the background our costs will continue to subside each year beyond 2022. This is the year that, fingers crossed, we will be able to take that big step back and reduce the assistance and services provided by us.

Our hope is that most of our young adults will be in the position to step up and step in, taking the reins of the holistic care for their families, meaning less monitoring, staff and operation costs from us.

However, education and health costs are beyond many Cambodians, let alone young adults who were once begging on the streets of Siem Reap and have been forced into being the major carers of their younger siblings, parents and grandparents.

We would love to think that we could still be in the financial situation to be able to offer education scholarships and community living assistance until such times when they and their younger siblings were fully sustainable so that they are not overwhelmed with the financial burden as well as the responsibility.


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2018 total income and donations

2018 total income $468,383

Restricted Funds are specific sponsorships and designated to a particular expense eg: Education, Sustainable Projects, Health.

Unrestricted Funds are general donations to cover non-sponsored expenses.

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2018 in pics & links

Dental ScholarsChefs in TrainingFemale PlumberCommunity Development Scholar; Graduates in Electrical StudiesMoto Mechanics and first place in Business AdministrationShinta Mani F& B TraineeshipHigh English Language AchieversFemale Martial Artists hitting the pages of Cambodia's inflight magazine; International Competition WinnerAmbasadors of Days for GirlsCultural EventsStaff Member of the MonthCounsellors and PhysiotherapistsFootball Champion selected for the National Team; Grade 9's passing their National Exams with flying colours; Gecko Grandbabies and our story of the year... A MOMENTOUS MILESTONE, 13 years in the making!

As you can see there was so much going on at Gecko in 2018. If you missed out on these fabulous stories as they unfolded, please follow us on Facebook and Instagram to enjoy our next adventures in real time; or by becoming a Gecko Guardian, you'll receive our brightest highlights directly in your inbox. Either way we hope to keep you in the loop with all the goals the kids and families are kicking.  

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and so, what's needed now?

We are presuming that many of you reading this are already Gecko Guardians who contribute to us monthly; for this we are eternally grateful and hope you are proud of what we have achieved with your help.

However, if you aren't yet a Gecko Guardian and you'd like to get more involved, we have a bunch of ways in which you can. Join our program and become a monthly donor yourself or buy a Gecko Guardianship for your loved one as a gift that keeps on giving. How about putting the Geckos forward at your work place as the perfect project for their Corporate Social Responsibility Program. Email us for ideas on how to. 

Or if you like the idea of sponsoring something in particular, like our Green Heart Tertiary Scholarships or an individual opportunity or project, then please go to our opportunities page or email Kate to register your interest. Prefer to make a no fuss, one-off or annual chunky donation? Then we have this tax deductible link especially for you. There is no set amount for donations, all contributions are appreciated and - hopefully as you have seen here - well spent.

And if you are on the other end of the spectrum - the type who wants to dive in head first and get hands on - then our fundraisingvisting and gift store pages are for you!  

In whatever way suits you best, we hope that you will join us on the home stretch as the Geckos and their siblings cross the finishing line of reaching their fullest potential.

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Thank you!

Well that was our First Official Annual Financial Report, we hoped you enjoyed it. If you have any further questions or just some warm & fuzzy feedback, please don't hold back ;)

In the meantime, we will get on with making 2019 the best it can be

With the greatest of Gecko gratitude for your belief & support.

Tania, Rem, all the Gecko kids, families and crew.

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