Before partnering with FH, Sor explains how her family was struggling in poverty. “Ten years ago when we arrived in this village, we were having a very difficult life. We built a house which can provide us shelter but we did not have any latrine...My eldest son at that time was 15 years old and dropped out of school.... Moreover, during those times, we were living day by day to just survive. We did not give so much attention to the education of our children. [We thought] as long as we can eat every day and we have a house to sleep, we were fine.”
After attending meetings with FH staff and fellow villagers, Sor agreed to have her two youngest children register to have child sponsors. This was a door that opened opportunities for her and her husband to begin making significant changes in their family’s life. In addition to building a latrine and installing a water filter to boost her family’s health, Sor began strengthening her relationships. “As a volunteer, I am more courageous now and am not afraid. I have good relationships with my neighbours because we learn together. After I learn from the FH staff, I am driven to share my new knowledge with my neighbours because I want them to also know about my realizations. I always join in the community activity and want to help in whatever way I can.”
Her favourite training so far has been how to make toys for young children using materials easily found in the community, often upcycling pre-used items. “I learned a lot and I came to understand about the development of our children, especially their brain development. ...Not only that, we also know how to respond to newborn babies to help them develop their brain.”
Sor is grateful for the changes she and her community are making in partnership with FH. It’s transforming the way she views past mistakes and chooses to parent her two younger children. “One of the major changes is how it opened my mind about the value of education [for] my children, and how our support as parents can encourage them to achieve their dreams in the future.”
“I realized with my eldest son how he experienced difficulty, just like us before, because he did not finish his studies. When he got married, he tried so hard to find a job in Siem Reap Town to support his family. It was difficult for him to find a good job even though Siem Reap is a place with a lot of opportunities. He worked in construction and did a lot of labour but later, just got divorced.
This made me upset and I regret not encouraging him to continue his studies when he said when he was little that he wanted to stop going to school. If I knew back then what I know now, he could have achieved more and prepared himself to find a better job. ...Now with his two younger siblings, we will try our best to support them. They are both doing well in school now.”
Sor’s additional participation in a Savings and Loans group has enabled her and her husband to expand their farm and raise chickens, thereby improving their food security and income.
With a smile on her face, Sor concludes, “We see a brighter future for our children. ... I am very happy and grateful with FH. I increased my knowledge and despite the limitation of my own education in school, it was not a hindrance for me to learn new things. Every time I see FH staff visit us, I feel very encouraged and I hope that my own children will become like them in the future. They serve as role models to our children in our community.”