Ms. K and her son
Do you remember this devoted mother, Ms. K ?
Last year, we featured Ms. K a member of our Family Support Program. We mention her again this year because it is important to understand how your support has helped Ms. K and her family over the past year.
Ms. K is a 40 year old mother with AIDS who has been in our program for many years. For much of her adult life Ms. K has supported herself in a subsistence lifestyle by collecting recyclables on the streets of Phnom Penh. As a single mom, she also supports her two sons: the eldest , now age 10 and the youngest, a one year old baby. This photo was taken shortly before the birth of her son.
Some history about the baby boy
In early 2019, Ms. K decided, without our input, to leave Phnom Penh to go to live with her sister in northeastern Cambodia. For several months she was not being monitored by our staff. While visiting her relatives during the Cambodian New Year holidays in April 2019, Ms. K was raped by the husband of her aunt and she became pregnant. The man does not deny his responsibility but he and his wife refused to provide any support for Ms. K or the baby, so she returned to Phnom Penh .
Where our program comes in
Ms K, returned to the care of our program where our field staff person worked to connect her with an organization which provides free infant formula to mothers who work, as she does, in trash recycling. This is a real blessing as the estimated cost of infant formula power is about $ 30 per month, additionally as a mother with AIDS, she could not safely breast feed her infant.
Ms. K continued to work throughout her pregnancy, pulling a cart around the city streets most days collecting recyclable materials such as bottles, cans, cardboard and scrap metal to sell to supplement the support from our program. High blood pressure some times limits the number of day when Ms. K can do such hard work but she works whenever she feels able, about an average of 3 or 4 days per week.
Previously, when Mark had asked Ms.K how she expected to do such work after the baby was born, Ms. K explained that when her older son (now age 10) , was born, she stayed in the hospital for three or four days and then immediately resumed working on the streets, keeping her newborn infant son in the same cart in which she hauls her recyclables. Ms. K explained, that once again, she intended to return to working on the streets very soon after the birth of her new baby.
We continue to provide support and assistance but Ms. K , determined to work to support her children, returned to her work with her baby, very soon after his birth. Ms.K is now , again , working hard , out on the streets where she continues to collect recyclable materials on the streets with her cart, reluctant to give up her tiny income and independence , not becoming totally dependent on a program like ours which she fears could one day possibly end.
Your generous support really does make a difference. It means that we can continue to support fragile families like Ms. K, her son and her new baby and provide the living and the educational support that is needed to break the cycle of inherited poverty.
We are deeply grateful to you for your wonderful support.
Barbara & Mark
Family recycle cart