Our Story

Tabitha Cambodia was founded in 1994 by Janne Ritskes to restore hope and dignity to the people of Cambodia and help them rebuild their lives after decades of war, displacement and unspeakable inhumanity largely at the hands of the Khmer Rouge regime. Tabitha aims to instill a sense of self-worth within Cambodians through programs that promote self-sufficiency and security for individuals (primarily women) and their families in some of the poorest communities.

Mission – Our mission is to enable the poorest of the poor in Cambodia to recognise and develop inherent skills and resources in a way that brings dignity and respect within the people we work with; within the country and within the world; and that will result in measurable and visible improvement in the lifestyles of the people we work with.

Vision – The vision is to develop processes which will enable people to actively make their own choices and processes which will result in alleviation of poverty – results which can be clearly identified and seen.

Tabitha Foundation (Singapore)

Tabitha Foundation (Singapore) is a volunteer-driven non-profit organisation established to support the mission of Tabitha Cambodia. Our objective is twofold: 

  •  To raise awareness of Tabitha’s life-changing programs in Cambodia among individuals, organisations and schools across Singapore;
  • To promote and sell the beautiful handcrafted silk merchandise produced by Tabitha’s silk cottage industry.

 

Tabitha’s Transformational Programs

Family Savings Program

At the very heart of the work of Tabitha is the Family Savings Program which encourages families to begin the practice of savings – as much or as little as they can afford – in order to achieve personal financial goals they set for themselves. In the early years, these goals may be as simple as purchasing a towel, or pot. As they progress many will pay off debts, purchase livestock or make other investments in things like education, a bicycle, or other equipment that will help to diversify their income.

Since its inception in 1994, 586,074 families with 4,688,529 dependents have been impacted through the savings program.

 

The Cottage Industry Program

Tabitha Cambodia trains and employs women and families to produce exquisite, hand-woven silk products that are sold at Tabitha’s showroom in Phnom Phenh and through its affiliate volunteer foundations abroad.

In addition to providing fair wages and a safe work environment, Tabitha provides valuable training that enables women to develop the skills they need to achieve a sustainable income and work their way out of poverty.

Tabitha Singapore is the largest importer of Tabitha silk outside of Cambodia.

Tabitha silk is sold at a number of events throughout the year, including community fairs, home sales, pop-up shops and school fairs or directly from our stockroom at UWCSEA Dover. 100% of silk sale net revenue is remit to Cambodia to support their high impact community development programs that are fostering self-sufficiency and creating economic prosperity.

 

Water Sources Program

The Water Sources program provides families with access to clean, potable water that is used primarily for drinking and irrigation. Tabitha currently works with families to provide the following water sources according to their needs: 

WATER WELL – in or near a village, typically supports 5 families or approximately 40 people

FIELD WELL–  in a field to grow crops, sometimes far from the village, typically supplies 2 families with irrigation to grow crops year-round.

FIELD POND–  in rocky land where wells do not yield good quality water, filled by seepage from the water table, provide water for households and irrigation.

RESERVOIR – in areas without other sources of water, fill up in the wet season, provide drinking and household water during the dry season Access to a safe and clean water source not only improves the health of the community but also leads to greater economic stability and growth. Tabitha is currently providing 200-300 new water sources per month throughout Cambodia and has provided a total of 22,079 water sources since 2008

 

The House Building Program

Tabitha's house building program is a partnership between Tabitha Foundation, local communities, Cambodian families and volunteers from around the world, each contributing time, labour and funds to the building of simple homes that provide safety, securing and stability to the people of Cambodia. This program directly addresses the UN's Sustainable Development Goal #11 to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable" and aims to ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums.

Since 1996 Tabitha has achieved the following:

Built 12,780 homes

Engaged 26,292 volunteers in house building

Link to Youtube video of time-lapsed house build

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jp5qCZxYNE

 

The School Program

As Cambodian families achieve their dreams through the Family Savings programs, their needs change from basic needs such as food, water and shelter to dreams of providing an education for their children. When a community reaches this stage of development, the families approach Tabitha to request a school. Faced with an acute shortage of schools, particularly in rural areas, Tabitha Cambodia cooperates with local communities, provincial governments and the Cambodian Ministry of Education contribute to the construction and operation of the school. Tabitha raises the funds to build and equip the school, the community provides the land and the government is charged with staffing and running the school once complete. Tabitha has built 94 schools since 2010.

 

Get Involved with Tabitha Foundation (Singapore)

In Singapore we are supported by a range of individuals and organisations each of whom has found one or more meaningful ways to support the transformational work of Tabitha. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Volunteers who give tirelessly of their time in our stockroom, at silk sales, at events and in schools;
  • Corporate partners who serve as ambassadors for Tabitha or engage in volunteer efforts;
  • Schools whose teachers, students and their families support Tabitha through a variety of clubs, service and global concerns groups;
  • Shoppers who buy, wear and gift our products;
  • Individuals who give in a variety of ways to ensure that Tabitha can continue to make a meaningful impact in the lives of Cambodians.

We welcome you to our community and encourage you to explore the many opportunities to get involved.