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!”
Sunshine Cambodia (SC), in July 2014, was working with 282 children (Male: 139, Female: 143) from 185 families from poor communities in Phnom Penh: Sansom Kosal, Stung Mean Chey, Thnoat Chrum and Prey Tea. Over the year, 32 stopped coming as families moved to the province (21 cases) or obtained jobs for older children (11 cases). So as at June 2015, 250 children remained in the program.
Each child received a public education and outstanding students also attended private classes. SC uses a community-based approach and there is a children’s club in each of the four main project areas.
The clubs give the children the opportunity to play sport (soccer & kickboxing) and learn music and other life skills.
SC also works with the 185 families of the children (a total of around 1005 family members) 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 Start-up Capital, Savings Groups, as well as Emergency and Disaster Relief programs.
ONE STORY OF A BOY:
HOW SPONSORSHIP CHANGES THE LIFE OF A FATHERLESS BOY …
When he was just 8 years old, Reaksa’s father died. Reaksa became addicted to online games which made his mother angry with him most of the time, and he got poor study results.
Reaksa’s mother sold vegetables in the market and worked hard to support the family but sometimes she could not pay for rent or food. Reaksa felt hopeless and unhappy and so he spent a lot of time with his friends and playing games. He didn’t attend school regularly.
In 2008, Reaksa was accepted into SC’s Child Development Project. SC’s support covered school fees, food subsidy, uniforms, stationery and other school materials. Now he is 13 and in grade 6 at Sansom Kosal Primary School, and goes to school regularly. He is a good son too. Life for Reaksa and his family has improved a lot since receiving support from SC. His mother has moved her small business to another area and is getting better every day. His studies are also improving.
Reaksa : “Now I study very hard because I want to be a good student and make my mother happy. I also help her in my free time. I used to be a very bad boy, making my mother sad and unhappy, but now I am very different !”
ONE STORY OF A YOUTH:
Like so many Sunshine children, Chenda’s parents were rural migrants, arriving in Phnom Penh in 2005, seeking a better life. However, they found themselves struggling to meet even the most basic needs of food and education for their two young children. Without Sunshine’s assistance, Chenda’s life could have been very different. Children like her in slum communities are at risk of sexual abuse, drug use (especially glue sniffing), violence, child labour and human trafficking.
Once in the Sunshine program, Chenda thrived. She proved a bright, able student and a hard worker. In the past 10 years she completed her primary and secondary education and has just finished the first year of a sociology degree. However, her studies will now be postponed due to the increasing pressure to support her family. This is a common situation in Cambodia where there are virtually no safety nets. Her mother will soon stop working due to ill health and her father makes very little as a motorcycle taxi driver. A relative has given Chenda the opportunity to start a small business selling car tires. If the business succeeds, Chenda will be able to buy a small home for her ageing parents in the outskirts of Phnom Penh. If they can help look after the business, this will give her time to complete her degree sometime in the future. Chenda has thought and prayed a lot about this decision to put her dream of a university education on hold. However, she feels that providing for her family is the right thing to do and Sunshine staff, both past and present, support her decision.
“Because I am from a poor family and was supported by Sunshine, I wanted to become a Social Worker and help others like me. However, I have to stop my studies for now as I need to help my family. I hope that someday in the future I can finish my degree. May God bless all those who have blessed me and so many other Sunshine children.”
ONE PARENT’S STORY: THE SMILES OF A FAMILY OF RUBBISH COLLECTORS
In Thnout Chhrum, a slum community in Phnom Penh where many migrant people struggle to make a living, lives Rin, 33, and her husband. They are rubbish collectors. Eleven years ago they left their home in the countryside to look for work but they could not find any job because of their lack of education. Their family of five lives in a small rented room. The family has faced many challenges over the years and they could not send their kids to school or to hospital when they were sick.
“Dirty Girl, you should be in school!” the villagers would taunt. Channa, known as Dirty Girl, would tag along with her parents as they collected rubbish for recycling. In 2013, Rin’s family was found by SC staff and Channa is now in grade 3 at the Jesus School. Rin has been equipped through Parents Day Trainings and has learnt parenting skills, Micro-Enterprise Development (MED), communications, money management, setting goals, and other life skills.
They now have a Tuk Tuk which helps them to make more income.
RIN :“Through Sunshine’s support,my daughter can go to school like other kids. She studies both Khmer and English and learns other useful skills in the Children Club. I am also grateful to have learnt many good lessons during Parent’s Days. Thank you for supporting my family. My burdens are reduced and my family is much better now” .
These achievements would not have happened without your support. Thank you very much for your generosity which has enabled more and more struggling families to stand own their own two feet. Many others are waiting for our support. Please continue on this journey with us. We welcome more partners and can guarantee that we will use your resources with great stewardship to be effective and accountable in every way.
Please enjoy reading our updated report.
May God bless you and continue to use you to bless others.
With my warmest regards,
Mr. Channy NOP,
Director of Sunshine Cambodia
From the Director ...We are so blessed to enjoy the support of our beloved donors, partners, friends and brothers and sisters, from different organizations, companies, churches and schools – from around the world.It enables us, in turn, to bring blessing and hope to increasing numbers of vulnerable children (and their families), struggling in poverty.
So much is happening! A new building is currently under construction and then in July, we will welcome 50 new children (and their families) onto the programme - all possible because of your support.Thank you so much!Channy NOPDirector, SC
New development phase ...We have been able to expand operations even further and are now working in a fourth community, Prey Tea (pronounced Pray Dear! An excellent suggestion…)The original 3 Sunshine communities are in reasonably close proximity to one other and so all have been serviced from the one “office” building. Prey Tea however, is further out – towards the airport – in north-west Phnom Penh. We have now purchased land here and begun building new premises to service this area.
Prey Tea children now attending school ...Even without the new building, the Sunshine team is already hard at work. Children are no longer spending their days doing recycle rubbish collecting.
A new UNESCO study has found that almost a quarter of Cambodian children aged 7 to 14 are forced to give up school, in order to work.“In reality, when your family needs food, working becomes more [urgent] than school”, Ros Sopheap, director of Gender and Development for Cambodia.
SC works to break the “education vs. work” cycle of despair by providing access for children to school, whilst at the same time, working with the parents to economically empower them. Although not without its challenges, Sunshine parents are encouraged to see the long-term value of their children remaining at school for as long as possible. (Currently Cambodia's completion rate for upper secondary is just 23%).
We have seen the model work in our other communities and look forward - with your help - to seeing similar results at Prey Tea.
Dreams are coming true ...At the other end of the development cycle, we are thrilled to report that three students from the original Sunshine community are now attending University! Without Sunshine’s support, it is unlikely any of them would have gained even a basic primary education. Sunshine allowed them to hope and taught them to dream. We are incredibly proud of all three.
GOFamiliar to those who attended the Sydney Dinner last year, Go was the first Sunshine student to attend university. He continues his studies for a Bachelor of English Literature at Human Resource University.
CHANDYStudying for a Bachelor of Civil Engineering at Build Bright University.
DARIStudying for a Bachelor of Sociology at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.
Meet DariLike so many Sunshine children, Dari’s parents were rural migrants, arriving in Phnom Penh in 2005, seeking a better life. Despair quickly set in as they found themselves unable to meet even the most basic needs of their 2 young children for food and education. Without Sunshine’s assistance, Dari's life could look very different today. Children like her, struggling in squatter communities, are at very high risk of sexual abuse, drug use (especially glue sniffing), violence and gang related issues, child labour and human trafficking.Once on the Sunshine programme, Dari thrived. She proved a bright, able student and a hard worker. In the past 10 years she has managed not only to complete her primary and secondary education but now (at 23 years of age) has been accepted into one of Phnom Penh’s most prestigious universities.
Dari is studying Sociology – working hard – not enjoying Statistics so much! However, she has good support from Sunshine; has made friends and is focused on her end goal. She is a beautiful, vibrant young woman with a bright future, thanks to Sunshine.“Because I am from a poor family and was supported by Sunshine Cambodia, I would like to become a Social Worker and help others like me.” "May God bless all those who have blessed me and so many other Sunshine children. I hope that Sunshine will be able to continue supporting other children, to at least grade 12 or even through to university, like me."We wish all three of our university students every success in their studies. They are wonderful role models for the younger children.
Sunshine SponsorsWe are so grateful to you all. Our three university students, Dari, Go and Chandy would not be where they are today without sponsor support. Although it is not possible for sponsors to correspond with one particular child, you are always welcome to visit Sunshine, to see for yourself the difference your sponsorship is making. We are delighted to see a number of younger people (often on quite modest incomes themselves) signing on as child sponsors. We also have a number of families now who are sponsoring one Sunshine child for each of their own. Our heartfelt thanks to all.
On behalf of all the Sunshine staff, family and children ... thank you ... thank you ... thank you.