It Takes A Village

Snapshots of life in a rural village in Cambodia. 

Two hours’ drive from Phnom Penh, on Highway 1 and three hours from Saigon, Vietnam, Cambodia’s Trapaing Sre Village is one of the poorest communities in one of the poorest countries. There are no grocery stores, no hospitals and no gas stations for miles. Because of the extreme level of poverty in this village, child traffickers often come here to lure children away from their schools and families with the promise of jobs. Working-aged people are also visibly absent here. Often, moms and dads are forced to leave their children with grandparents or other family members while they migrate for work in Phnom Penh or a neighboring country. Because most families survive on what they grow, they are extremely vulnerable to hunger, malnutrition and losing their entire livelihood if there is too much or not enough rain. Every year, land mines left behind during the Vietnam War claim the lives of farmers, playing children or land developers. Of the 2,469 people who live in Trapaing Sre Village, Holt sponsors support 150 children from the poorest, female-headed families. Sponsors keep children in school and with their families. In addition to covering the cost of school fees, sponsors also help to provide mothers with job skills training, financial education and microloans so they can start small businesses instead of being forced to migrate for work. While life in this area is not easy, there is hope. Read how your support is helping families in this region.

 

“In our village, about 20 children are peer education leaders. They meet with children at a community member’s home and teach children about their rights — the right to protection and the right to participate in school and other activities, no matter what.”

— Kong Chatha (left), 15, teaches 1st through 4th graders

 

“I used to work in a garment factory, but it was far away. Being at home with my children and raising chickens and ducks is better than working in the garment factory. When I was there, my kids weren’t told they had to go to school. Now, I can make sure they go every day.”

– Yai, 34, mother of a 13-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter

 

“We want to see children live free from exploitation. Kids in sponsorship stay in school longer and drop out less, and are less likely to be victims of trafficking or exploitation. Now, the children here can dream about what they want to be.”

— Buth Saman, director of Holt’s partner organization, Child and Life Association

 

“I want to help my parents or be a doctor. Thank you, my sponsor, for supporting me.”

— Sreymao

 

Pelly borrowed $100 from a Holt donor-funded community savings bank to buy a pig. Two years later, she’s re-payed the debt and now she makes about $200 every time her pigs have a litter of piglets. “I used to go to Thailand to work on farms. My daughters lived with their grandma, but they fell behind in school. My oldest daughter fell a full grade behind, and she was very angry. But now, I don’t have to travel to find work. I want one of my kids to be a doctor and one to be a teacher, at least.”

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