The Latrines For Life program is structured as an entity under the 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, Class-ACT (Class – Arts, Children & Technology, Inc.). Initial planning for this current latrine sanitation program started in the summer of 2013 while we were conducting our lending program called Microloans For Mothers. We had initiated the lending program following the visit to a small school in Cambodia (October, 2009) that was at that time being supported by the Class-ACT organization, and where it was conducting its Children’s Global Art Exchange program. Board members have over time adjusted the mission of Class-ACT from supporting schools, to issuing micro-credit loans to the mothers of the school, and finally, now currently being fully committed to building latrines through the Latrines For Life sanitation program.
The Microloans For Mothers program started in 2010, and since that time and it’s closing in 2016, had issued 169 loans to 130 women. The loan principal issued over that time was $21,600 with a payback rate of 95%. The women received the help they needed, and then moved on with better lives running successful businesses. So many have benefited, improving the lives for their families in significant ways.
Through several visits to Cambodia, board members and donors became keenly aware of the poor sanitation that exists, especially in the rural areas, and decided to help improve the situation by building latrines for poor families. Now our Class-ACT non-profit organization is fully supporting sanitation improvement with the Latrines For Life program.
Staff in Cambodia prepare a progress report on each latrine construction project that is available on our website under the tab, “Reports”.
Class-ACT (the umbrella non-profit organization for the Latrines For Life program) has been a viable organization serving the community since its inception in 1998. Support has been received from many organizations, businesses and individuals, as well as major city, county and state funding. Programming has increased steadily throughout its history. The first programs were in the area of local arts education, which by its tenth year was serving 150 classrooms (representing service to approximately 18,000 children – each receiving six to ten hours of art contact). Also, when considering the many performances done by children, the impact of this local arts education component extended beyond the classroom and into the community, touching the lives of many more – estimated to be an additional 10,000 to 15,000 parents, friends and neighbors. The program brought not only arts and cultural enrichment to students, but also new technology skills that enhance academic excellence.
In the summer of 2008 the organization started its global outreach component called the Children’s Global Art Exchange, designed to support arts education for adopted schools in a developing world country, and create a link with children in our own local communities. The local school art component incorporates a fundraising element and then links the local classroom of children with those in the adopted classroom where we fund school supplies, school art projects and other educational needs. This global outreach program lead to the support of schools in Cambodia that several board members visited in October of 2009. The trip was extremely productive, and became the inspiration for initiating the microlending program, Microloans For Mothers, and eventually leading to the current Latrines For Life sanitation program.
The executive director of Class-ACT, Niels Lund, holds a California teaching credential and two university degrees in Education Administration. He is well known in the local business and education communities through years of volunteer work, and has wide knowledge and experience in Arts Administration and Marketing. He has for many years worked directly with children in the creative field of the performing arts, and founded the San Diego International Children’s Festival that served over 50,000 children over a period of six years (1989 – 1995). Mr. Lund is responsible for the management and operation of Class-ACT and its programs.