This is Change

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This is Change
by Ratha Ung

Sreypov, aged 10, is the sixth of seven children of a rice farmer family living 106 kilometres from capital Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Sreypov loves to read by a pile of hay behind her house. It is surrounded by trees which shadow the place and enable her to enjoy a book. Sreypov has a big dream, she proudly says, “I want to be a Khmer teacher.”

Her mother, Sok Nat, 42, says, “Since we did not have enough income, my two eldest sons had to drop out of school to find work in Thailand.”

The difficult financial situation also forced the parents to travel 40 kilometres from home to buy raw peanuts and cook them for sale. It often took them 1 to 2 days and they had to leave their children at home. “We would only earn 40,000 riels (around HK$77) from each overnight trip,” says the mother.

Child Sponsorship has helped the children learn about basic life skills. Children in the community have learnt about hygiene and sanitation and participated in the village cleaning day. Furthermore, they are encouraged to love education and schooling.

Through assessment from the community leader, Sreypov’s family is among the most vulnerable families that earn the least.

Raising chicken or piglet is not something new for farmers, who can learn the traditional method from their neighbours. However, there are still constraints for them. “I once raised chickens but failed. They were poisoned by anti-grass spray close to my house,” recalls Sok Nat. In 2016, the family received support along with 283 other vulnerable families in the community. Sok Nat joined a training on rearing chickens to enable the family to earn extra income. The improvement has been evident.

“Now I have enough food, I can go to school and play with my classmates,” Sreypov says.

Through World Vision’s work, Sok Nat has become an active member in her village and always attends community development activities. World Vision has provided nets, cages and metal corrugated roofs for her to keep the chickens, as well as shredded cloth to make hammocks for her village. Thanks to this support, Sreypov’s family can earn 16,000 riels (about HK$30) per hammock.

Sok Nat has learnt a new way of raising chickens by keeping them in the cages to protect them from diseases and poisoning. The cages and nets also keep the chickens safe. Now the family is earning extra income from selling chickens.

“Thank you, World Vision, for coming to develop my community, and especially for supporting my family to live in better conditions,” she says, “Without this help, my children would not be able to go to school.”

World Vision has been working in this community since 2005 to improve lives of vulnerable families by promoting health, education and child protection, and improving the living conditions of the vulnerable families in the community. “I will study hard to become an outstanding student in my class every month,” vows Sreypov.

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