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.
A story from SC’s family program
A lady left her hometown for a better.
A strong and committed lady, Chantha, who is now 44 year-old, left her hometown, Kampong Spue province in 1985 to settle down in Phnom Penh, where she hoped that it will bring her a better life. In 1993, she married Mr.Toch, a drunkard man, who is 47 year-old now. It was not much different from the previous situation after married for they were still struggling to survive. This couple had 5 children now. They planted vegetable for their living which was not able to meet their daily expenses. Her husband could not change the bad habit of drinking alcohol, which caused him had no time in making the family grows. All burdens fell on Chantha’s shoulder – daily income generating, all expenses children’s school materials and children study cost, etc. In such critical situation, she could not send her children to school. Some of them were required to help her in earning money by planting vegetable and collecting recycle rubbish. It was a critical situation for an uneducated lady to solve with.
Her burdens were taken away when Sunshine Cambodia accepted all her children – Sokto,Sokdy,Sokrong,Sokrai, who are able to make income for sustaining her family – into its program since 2000. This includes the recent supporting to Bunhong, 13 year-old boy. Sunshine Cambodia has played an active role in providing her children school materials (uniforms and stationary), food subsidy, and paid for the school fee. Moreover, through Family Development Project Chantha had a chance to learn many new things particularly throughout the lessons, which were teaching during the Parent’s Day. Those lessons brought her a new expectation for her family’s future. Furthermore, she knew many new people in SC’s family. She wanted her children have a chance to study, but she could not make this.
“But now, I am very happy; and thank you (Sunshine Cambodia) and all its staff, who always work hard to help my family. I want to pray for you (Sunshine Cambodia) and all staff to get success forever,” Chantha said.
As such, she recognized that Sunshine Cambodia brought her a better by playing an active and important role in her family particularly her children. Now, she has a very good relationship with her community members and also has a hope her children bright future.
A story from SC’s Children program
“I hope my dream come true”
“I want to be a doctor because I want to save Cambodian people”, said Sreytey, a 14 year-old girl, from a recycle rubbish collector family, who lives at Thnout Chrum village in Mean Chey district, Phnom Penh. This family left their home town, Samraong district, Takeo province, with a very bad situation. At the beginning of their settling in Phnom Penh her parents used to try to look for a proper job, but eventually ended up with collecting recycle rubbish for raising 5 children including Sreytey. In such situation, Sreytey were not able to school regularly, which caused her got just an average score in class. In those days, she lived with no hope and could not imagine what she will be in the future. An unexpected change and hope took place within her and this poor family particularly when Sreytey was accepted into Sunshine Cambodia’s program.
With SC’s supporting program, which providing her school fee, food subsidy, and other study materials, presently, Sreytey is able to go to school regularly and is at her grade 7 in this academic year, 2015, at Daem Thkov Secondary School. She is able to reach the over average (fair) score in her class according to the latest record of the academic observation book of her school. The contribution of SC toward her family and study bring Sreytey a huge hope for her future.
With big smile which shows her hope in mind Sreytey said that, “I want to be a doctor because I want to save Cambodian people. I hope my dream come true.”
Greetings from Cambodia!
It is our pleasure to present this update covering the last three months ...
From July, we welcomed 107 new children into our program. In total, we now support 281 children, from 188 families, in 4 communities in Phnom Penh. Our newest community, Prey Tea (pronounced “dear”) is where I have lived for the past 10 years. I have seen many problems there such as children working as scrap collectors, glue-sniffing, robbery and rape. I felt guilty to be helping other communities far away and not those who were my neighbours. My prayer was answered via Sunshine and our hope is that this community will be transformed like the other 3 communities we work in. Other highlights are that 2 more students graduated from high school and will start university this month and our boys’ soccer team are undefeated champions! However, there are challenges as we slowly build trust with parents and teachers in the new area. In addition, we need to continually develop our management team and find the time and space for busy staff to reflect together.
107 very happy children ...
In March this year, over 200 Sydney-siders gathered for a Sunshine Fundraising Dinner. Thanks to the extraordinary kindness and generosity shown that evening, 107 new children were able to start school in October. It's an opportunity they otherwise would not have had ...
At the other end of the development cycle ... Sunshine is committed to working with parents as well as children. Meet Mr Sim, a Sunshine parent who is achieving financial independence ...
"My dream is becoming reality ..."
"My dream was to have my own small business, a motorbike repair shop. But I wasn't able to make it happen, even though I had the skills to repair motorbikes," Mr Sim said.Mr Sim has 3 daughters and has been with Sunshine since 2009. (He has a physical disability - a withered leg). With his positive outlook, he quickly became a respected member of the Sunshine community and was elected to leadership of the Community Savings and Credit Group. He also actively participated in Sunshine's Micro Enterprise Development (MED) courses and learnt how to run a small business.
"I'm so grateful to Sunshine who gave me the technical knowledge to run a small business. With the money I saved in the Savings Group, plus start-up capital from Sunshine, my dream is becoming reality. I am happy, even though I don't have a proper shop but work on the edge of the street. I plan to be self-reliant by next year. I love this business and will enlarge it eventually and I am happy to train other Sunshine beneficiaries who want to learn this skill."
And from another Sunshine parent ...
"Sometimes, no-one wanted to listen to our sadness and problems, but Sunshine Staff did. They visited my family very often when my family had a problem. After listening, they provided some options to us. Thanks for working with my family."Mr MEAS Thoun
Christmas Greetings Warmest Christmas greetings from all the Sunshine kids and families. We are so grateful to God and to all our supporters for a great year of growth and expansion, and look forward with excitement to the year ahead. Richest blessings as we celebrate again, the arrival of Hope into our broken world. Sunshine Director, staff, families and support team “The wise seek Him still…..”
“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!”
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