Sunshine Cambodia (SC) are now working in four target areas in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. With her three years plan, 2015-2018, SC has worked closely with 300 children (Male: 149, Female: 151) from 200 families in the hope that each family and child will grow holistically. SC has tried her best to improve the living condition and reduce poverty within those families and also focused on the implementation of the children’s basic rights.
The children are selected and supported to attend formal education in both state and private schools. They also received school materials and extra tuition for supplementary classes – English, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Khmer and computer skills.
To build a close relationship with her beneficiaries SC also works directly with those 200 families, both fathers and mothers. SC’s staff in each areas spend time with them focusing on home visit/ case management and some activities in their community, which leads us to know more about their family situation and needs. Vocational and MED training, start-up capital, as well as emergency relief programs are provided. Moreover, Children and Parents’ Clubs have played very important role for SC to be able to work closely with her beneficiaries. They learnt useful lessons for life and get to know each other and had fun.
The following stories of change from our beneficiaries encourage and motivate all our staff to continue their hard work happily. However, SC acknowledges that without your support we are nothing.
1. I feel warm now
Nith is now 12 years old and lives with her grandparents in Sansom Kasal village, Phnom Penh. Her parents divorced and left her alone with her grandparents since she was less than one year old. She always feels no one care for her and no warm in her life.
“I don’t know when my parents left me, but my grandparents told me that they left me when I was very young.
They divorced. My father never visits me. My mother did sometimes, but she got a new husband. I feel no warm and hopeless,said Nith.
"Sometimes I want to cry. I wanted to study, but my grandparents cannot effort it. I love school uniform. When I saw my friends wearing school uniform and go to school I want to cry. I want to study too. I feel hopeless.” she added.
Some years later in 2009, Nith started her first day at school at Sansom Kosal primary school with very nice uniform as same as other friends in her village. Later on, when SC’s staff visited her grandparents she, then, learnt that SC has started to support for her study. She is now at grade 6 with good talent of Language studies. Nith has a dream. She wants to be an English teacher.
She said, “I didn’t know what was happened at that time. I was too small (young). I did not remember much, but I just knew that I had a chance to wear school uniform and was able to go to school. I was really happy. I had friends and can play with them happily".
She also said: "I attended Children’s Club with other new friends. I love to play with them. I love SC’s staff. Krue (teacher) Deth takes care of me and always encourages me to study hard for my future. I feel warm now, and not lonely. I have hope and a dream to be an English teacher.”
2. My husband is a new man.
In a very small wooden house of her mother-in-law lives a woman with her drunken husband and their two children and also other three families who are her husband relatives. Sreymom is 33 year-old and a garment factory worker.
As a garment factory worker Sreymom got little income, which is insufficient to support her family particularly to send her two kids, Mesa and Meta, to school. She always expects that her husband, Kim, will take his responsibility as a good husband and father to care for this poor family, to work and to support her family. In contrast, Kim hands this tough task to her and always gathers with his friends for alcohol drinking rather than find job to make more income for supporting their family. He drinks every day and takes no responsibility for his family, but argues with Sreymom most of the time.
“Sometime I want to run away from my husband, but I could not left my children. I love them so much. I want just my husband changes his attitude and habit, but I don’t know how to do that,” Sreymom said.
Throughout these 2 years, 2015 to 2016, SC has started to support her son, Mesa, who is 7, and has worked with her family we learnt that she has faced many challenges in life due to the lack of responsibility of her husband. SC’s staff, Chaova, has tried to build a good relationship with Kim and spent time with him from time to time.
By spending an individual time with Kim the discussion was focused on the role of a father and husband so that Kim can reflect on this. Kim is also invited to join Father’s Club, where he can meet many other men, where he learnt good lessons. As a result, Kim is now be a new man for his family, his wife and children. Kim spent time to work rather than drink. He works now as a construction worker. He had spent quality time with his family. His words and attitude are changed.
With smile Sreymom said happily that, “My family is now much better. I am happy and no more stress. My husband is a new man, I think. We are now close to each other. He is not a drunken man as before, but he takes care of my family well and tries to earn money. He goes to work as a construction work. Moreover, my son, Mesa, can go to school. He is now at grade 2.”
Sunshine Cambodia (SC) was working with 300 children (Male: 149, Female: 151) from 200 families from 4 poor communities in Phnom Penh.
Through this project 300 children have been able to exercise their rights to education, protection, health care and general well-being.The children are supported to attend formal education in both state and private schools, received school materials and extra tuition for English, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Khmer and Computer skills. It is a common for poor students in Cambodia to be unable to afford this. SC uses a community-based approach and there is a weekly children’s club and a quarterly youth club in each of the four project areas (Sansom Kosal, Stung Mean Chey, Thnoat Chrum and Prey Tea). At the clubs, the children learn about Christianity and various topics relevant to their lives, and also do creative activities such as arts, crafts and music. They also take part in special clean up days in their communities.
SC also works with the 200 families of the children (approximately 1,042 family members) to build parental responsibility and self-reliance. SC’s programs include a Case Management and Visitation, Counseling, Food subsidy, Parenting Skills Training (Mother and Father Clubs), Vocational Training & Job Placement, Micro- Enterprise and Development and Start-up Capital, as well as Emergency and Disaster Relief programs. In the Parents’ Clubs, they learn parenting skills, child rights, health care, economic empowerment, etc.
Here is a story of a youth from Sunshine Cambodia programm.
Kunthea, 15, shyly shares her dream to be a brilliant accountant. But as she recalls her past, the tears flow as she remembers not being able to join kindergartners in their smart school uniforms because her family was too poor to send her to school. Her father was an alcoholic and then her mother died from a long term illness.
When Sunshine Cambodia’s program was introduced to her village, Kunthea joined the children’s club and found a level of love and care which she had never experienced before in her family. “I have made more friends and I have great teachers who love, encourage and guide me,” says Kunthea. “The Sunshine staff have encouraged me to have a dream for the future. But if I can’t be an accountant, then I’ll open a hairdressing salon.”
Kunthea says Mr Deth, SC’s Children Development Facilitator, always encourages her to study hard so that she can achieve her dreams. His support means a lot to her as her own family, including two older siblings, have not been positive role models for her.
Here is another story of a family from Sunshine Cambodia programm.
Preytea Village is an industrial area close to Phnom Penh International Airport where different types of work are available. Many people come here from the provinces looking for a better life.
Srorn is a 45 year old spinster from Prey Veng province. In 2006 she came to Phnom Penh with a few of her neighbours, looking for work in a garment factory. Her living situation at that time was very difficult because the rented room they shared was very cramped and she didn’t have enough food, leading to poor health. Three years later, she adopted a 3 year old boy, Chhay Li, and eventually stopped working at the factory because she didn’t have enough time to care for him when she was working.
‘’At that time, I borrowed money from a Microfinance institute to buy a sewing machine. I walked from house to house to collect clothes for sewing. Even though I was paid for my sewing services, life was more difficult but I was still happy to live with my adopted son‘’.
After Chhay Li was accepted into the SC program in July 2014, their lives improved a great deal.
‘’I feel very happy now because Sunshine has helped us a lot with school uniforms, study materials, food subsidy, English lessons and many other things. I have also learned general knowledge and parenting skills through Parents’ Days and how to run a small business. I even got start-up capital from Sunshine to improve my business. I used it to buy more cloth to make clothes to sell. Now I have three sewing machines in my business and I also rent one machine to my neighbor. More than this, I have a plan to save more money to buy a clothes shop. Finally, I really want to say thank you very much for Sunshine’s support to my family.
Sunshine is now supporting the education of 300 children, from 200 families – 1,000+ direct beneficiaries.
Here is a story of a boy in the programme:
Panya is a gentle 9 year old boy who has been with Sunshine Cambodia for 5 years, along with his 7 year old sister, Nita. Their father drives a remorque (a trailer pulled by a motorbike) and their mother works as a cleaner for a microfinance organization. But even though they have work, they barely earn enough to get by.
Panya, which means ‘wisdom’, is now in Grade 4 and with Sunshine’s support has received school supplies, uniforms, help with paying “informal” school fees, and a food subsidy. He has many friends and enjoys attending Sunshine’s children’s club where he’s learnt lots of useful things but what he remembers most are the lessons on child rights and child abuse, and playing on the computers.
“I know that when people hurt me or other children, it is the child abuse and it is against our rights and we will look for help from others,” he said.
Even though he is one of the top 5 students in his class at public school, he enjoys learning English at a privately-run school even more.
“I prefer studying English at the private school because at the public school, the teacher does not explain the lesson much and there are too many noisy students in the class!”
Over the years, he has seen many improvements in his family’s life. They now have enough food to eat and his father has bought a better motorbike for work. They can sleep on a mattress instead of a straw mat and they have nicer clothes to wear. His parents have a better relationship and the whole family practices better hygiene!
For Panha though, his education is the most important thing for his future.
“My dream is to be a doctor so that I can help people and make enough money to live on. And if this dream doesn’t come true, I have another dream of working in a bank because bank workers can work in air-conditioning and dress well all the time. I don’t want to work under the heat of the sun! Banks can also help people improve their finances.
Thank you very much for supporting me through Sunshine!”