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Going "All-In" In Rural Cambodia

BY KATRINA MURPHY


VANN RUN (LEFT) AND HER THREE CHILDREN. DAUGHTER VA REA PHOTOED IN ORANGE.
“Nobody told me that my life would be better in the future,” says Vann Run, “I was always discouraged.” A mother of three and an enthusiastic supporter of Food for the Hungry’s work in Chann Hear Village in rural Cambodia, Vann Run explains that before Food for the Hungry (FH) began to partner with in Chann Hear, life was difficult, but more than that: it seemed hopeless. She thought she could see her family’s future, and the prospect was not a happy one. 

The family often fell sick, and money was tight. “We could not support our family,” she remembers. “My husband and I decided to ask our son to drop out of school to help us earn enough to survive; he was in grade six then. I thought that my children would have no chance to continue in school.”
My husband and I decided to ask our son to drop out of school to help us earn enough to survive; he was in grade six then.

Hope, for her family, has been powerful, and it is contagious. She smiles, and continues: “Since FH has come to my village, I have received so much encouragement. We strongly support all the work facilitated by FH to develop our village.” Her family has become better equipped to take care of itself both financially and physically. The children help support their own education by investing in the youth savings group, and they are able to remain in school, and prioritizing access to clean water and adopting some simple sanitation practices have also drastically decreased the sickness in the household.

But the greatest change by far is hope, hope that overflows their household and sweeps all up into the possibility of a brighter future. Hope turned everything around. They are all passionate about joining in FH’s work because they have seen its effects in their own lives. 

Sorn Sophea, an FH Cambodia staff member, says that the family serves as an inspiring model for other families in Chann Hear. They are very much "all-in". The family is loved and respected by many in the village because of their love for one another and their genuine desire to see the hopes they have for their community come to fruition. Vann Run is working as a health volunteer, and her husband Som Va is a Village Development Committee member. Va Vy (17) is a youth club member, Va Rea (15) is a child partner with FH and a leader in both youth club and the youth savings group. Va Ry is a member of the youth savings group as well.

Va Rea was elected by her peers to lead both the youth club and the youth savings group. She says she has learned a great deal since becoming involved in the youth club; she mentions personal hygiene and household sanitation as well as the importance of saving money and managing it well. She is thankful that the group provides the children with the opportunity to build good relationships with each other and that, together, they are able to join in planning activities to develop the community for which they care so deeply. Rea hopes to see more positive changes, not only in her family, but also in families throughout her village; she wants to see her community grow strong from the inside out, with healthy relationships and an emphasis on non-violence and forgiveness. She desires a community built on mutual respect wherein people “continually help one another.” 
VA REA RECORDING WEEKLY SAVINGS AT HER YOUTH SAVINGS GROUP
It’s little wonder that her peers selected her to fill a leadership position. Va Rea’s friend Sang Sreysor praises her for her steadiness of temper and her patience with the group. “She always encourages other children to study hard; she loves to study,” says Sreysor. And yet, with extra-curricular responsibilities on top of school work, Va Rea diligently attends to her household chores; she feeds animals and cleans pig pens. “She’s honest,” says Sreysor, “we can trust her.

“Most especially,” says Va Rea, “I want to see the young generation finish their studies, continue to university, and find good jobs in the future.” 


Rea is thankful to the FH staff who have encouraged her to make clear goals for the future and to work steadily towards those goals. She has promised herself that she will graduate and become a teacher, and it is hope in her flourishing family, hope in her group of peers, hope in the village she loves, that gives her the courage she needs to work toward her dreams and faithfully build good relationships with the people around her.



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Food for the Hungry: Going "All-In" In Rural Cambodia
Going "All-In" In Rural Cambodia
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Food for the Hungry
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