“God’s plans are bigger than our plans!”
“This is such a good bag and I love the stationery!” many children exclaimed.
“I am so happy that my children are with Sunshine – thank you!” - a comment from many new families.
These are the voices of the children and parents when Sunshine Cambodia distributed school bags, stationery and uniform fees to them. While the children were so happy to receive these gifts, their parents enjoy the lessening of their financial burden, so this is a great blessing for both Cambodian children and their families. The children are now ready for the new school year which starts in October.
Sunshine currently works with 279 children from 188 families as we have expanded our work to the outskirts of Phnom Penh. A new children’s club has started as well as extra Parents’ Day training. The kids also received two Sunshine shirts each to wear at clubs and SC events.
“To be a Lawyer is my Dream Career!”
“My family had many problems, especially domestic violence, which happened when my father got drunk,” says Sonich, from Kompong Cham province. “My mother divorced him when shouldn’t stand it anymore.” Her mother worked hard to support her family, but as a single parent with irregular work, it was very difficult.
“My new life with Sunshine started 2009. We got many kinds of support from them and now our family life is much better. I rarely see my father but I am optimistic about my future. It is my dream to be a lawyer and I will find the fair for the needy."
Sonich is a smart student who enjoys a challenge and even responds to teachers when she thinks there is unfair treatment.
“I really thank the all donors who have prayed for us SC children and donated as well. Please keep us in your prayers!”
From Sunshine Cambodia Director:
"We are very thankful for the support we continue to receive from individuals, churches, schools, companies and funding agencies from Australia, USA, Denmark, Sweden, and Singapore. Thank you for partnering with us to bring hope and a better future for children and their families living in poverty. We are currently working with 180 children (and their families) in three areas of Phnom Penh. It’s great to see their smiles and laughter as their lives change for the better. This is our dream for all Cambodians: a better life, especially for those who have suffered great hardship.
From July, (following the success of the Sydney Fundraising Dinner) we will start working in a fourth area of Phnom Penh, Prey Tea (pronounced "Prey Dia"). It’s in the north-west, near the airport.
This is a very dangerous area with robberies, rapes, drugs, even murder. Many migrants live here in unregistered rooms. They come to town to find work in factories and construction, as street sellers, motor-taxi drivers and scrap collectors. Many men are unemployed and they cause a lot of problems.
Children don’t go to school and are at high risk of abuse and/or drug addiction. Many kids work as scrap collectors and some sniff glue.
Why the smile? Today he’s a child rubbish collector but in October he’ll become a school boy ... the rubbish collection bags will be replaced by a school bag. This is the difference your support can make. The new school year commences in October and with your help, we plan to enroll 100 children from this community into school, as well as build relationships with their parents.
We are so grateful for your partnership with us. Thank you!"
A Treat for the Kids:
One of the ways sponsorship money is used, is to provide a special “treat” for the kids each year. There was great excitement recently when “treat time” came. This year, a trip to the Water Park….
And finally…back page sports news…Sunshine Soccer Success!! We are so proud of our Under 10 Boys – WINNERS of the 2013/14 BARCLAY’S CUP. Well done Boys….Bravo! Bravo!
There’ll be another update in October, with pics of the new children starting school. Meanwhile, check our Facebook page for all the latest news.
Richest blessings to you all,
From Channy (Director) and all the Sunshine team
Sunshine Cambodia’s Family Development Program – a brief background:
Sunshine Cambodia (SC) works with 118 families in 3 areas of Phnom Penh where families live in poverty. SC is committed to working with these families over a 3 year project cycle, in order to build parental responsibility and self-reliance. SC’s programs include a Food subsidy, Parenting Skills Training, Vocational Training & Job Placement, Small Business Development and Startup Capital, Savings Groups, as well as Emergency and Disaster Relief programs.
“I want to own my own business! “
“I longed to run a small business, if only I had enough money to get started,” says Mrs Chev Phorn, a 38 year old widow to came to the city in 2006 with twin baby boys and her aged mother. However with only a low level of education, it was hard to find work and her twins faced malnutrition. A kind man brought milk for the boys for 4 years while she struggled to make ends meet by collecting recyclable things.
In 2013, things changed for the better when her family joined the SC program. Her sons received support for both education and food, reducing her burden. “I can even save some money now and I have learnt so many things from the parent trainings. I am very encouraged when SC staff come and visit me and I feel like we are working together. One day I will have my own business – I just have to save a little bit more!”
Sunshine Cambodia’s Child Development Program – a brief background:
SC supports 181 children (Male: 79, Female: 102) in 3 areas of Phnom Penh where families live in poverty. Each child gets a public education and outstanding students also attend private classes. Since 2012, we have used a community-based approach and so there are 3 children’s clubs in each main area. The clubs give the children the opportunity to play sports (soccer & kickboxing) and learn music, computers and other life skills.
“I want to be an English Teacher!”
Pharith’s family left Prey Veng Province in 2000 to find work in the city but his parents barely earned enough to cover daily expenses. “We didn’t have enough food to eat, we didn’t have land or proper housing and we kids couldn’t go to school.” After 9 years of struggle, Pharith’s family found out about Sunshine. “By God’s grace, my family was accepted into Sunshine in 2009 and my sister and I could go to school again! We also received a lot of love, care and encouragement.”
Pharith is now doing well in Grade 5 and his sister is in secondary school. Their dad has been able to save money to buy a motorbike and now works as a motorbike taxi driver while their mum sells eggs. Their family life is getting better and better. Pharith says, “Thank you to Sunshine and its donors who have prayed and contributed to us. Without you all, my family and I wouldn’t be here today. Please keep us in your prayers. I want to be an English teacher who can educate the poor and needy people in the future.”
Pov Sim, now 55, migrated to Phnom Penh in 1988 as making a living in the countryside was so difficult, especially with 8 children to feed. She worked alongside her husband as unskilled builder's labourers but they always faced challenges as their income was so low.
In 2008, one of their sons was accepted by SC and received study materials, extra tuition, two meals per day, and other benefits, resulting in a reduction of the family's burden.
Pov says, “I was very happy when my son was accepted by SC during a time when my family’s financial situation was unstable. Besides the education support and meals, SC also provided various trainings and services for our family. This reduced our burden so much."
Even after SC changed from a centered-based to community-based approach a couple of years ago, this family has remained with SC.
“I am really thankful to SC for continuing to bless my family even when some of their programs changed. Instead of two meals per day and extra tuition at the center, my son has received a food subsidy and has access to local extra tuition classes. These changes have also encouraged me to increase my level of responsibility for my children,” she continued.
Pov's family still rents a small wooden house but she is able to save money with the Savings Group facilitated by SC. This is in great contrast to previous years when they had no money left.
"Even though my savings are not big, it helps us to buy the things we need. Thank you for contributing your resources, knowledge, and strength for my family as well as other families. Please keep supporting SC to help reduce poverty in Cambodia."
Back to School!
In 2011, Sitha's family left their village in northwest Cambodia to find work in Phnom Penh where they settled in a slum area. Without an education, her father worked as a guard and her mum became a garment factory worker. However, their combined low salaries were not enough to send the children to school so an NGO started to support the kids' education. Sitha was thrilled to have the chance to study but before she could even start classes, that NGO had to suddenly close its project. By God's grace, many of the children were referred to Sunshine. Sitha is now 15 and studying grade 8 this year. She loves to learn and is not afraid to ask for help.
“I am so happy that I can re-start my studies and I really would like to thank Sunshine for accepting me, my brother, and my family as part of Sunshine’s family,” Sitha said. "I want to be an engineer and support my family’s needs; I have had many challenges but I will not give up my education. And I want to say Thank You to all the Sunshine donors and supporters who keep us in their prayers."
Helping families shoulder their burdens
Since July, 53 new families were accepted into the program, bringing the total number of families to 119. With the goal of building self-reliance, the parents actively participate in Parent Days by sharing ideas, experiences and knowledge with each other.
Sor Ratha, 45, left her village 13 years ago to find work in the city. She and her husband, along with their 8 children, live in a small hut with thatch walls. Her first job as a housecleaner didn't pay enough to support her family.
"When I stopped my cleaning job, our whole family started to collect recyclable materials. We made just enough to survive, but if any of us got sick we couldn't do anything about it. Sometimes we didn't make any money at all. And besides trying to feed 8 children, we had to pay rent on the land where we built our small house."
Sunshine supports Ratha's family with a monthly food subsidy plus the education expenses of her children so that they are motivated to keep up their schooling. The parents also receive training in good parenting skills, microenterprise development, and have joined a savings group.
Ratha says, "I cannot describe my feelings - I am extremely happy for what Sunshine has done for my family, especially my children. The burden on my husband and I is relieved because Sunshine is providing for their education and is also teaching us life skills. I don't have anything but gratitude. Thank you so much for working with us. And thank you to all the donors. My dream is to see my children access a higher education and better life and become good persons in society by helping others in need. I also want to learn more cooking skills so I can open a small food business."
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