Building confidence through child clubs

Panha is a 12 year old boy, living in Veal Krang Village in Kampot Province. Panha lives with his father, mother, older sister and younger brother. He also has a 26 year old brother who dropped out of school, in order to work to provide for their sick mother, who is too sick to work. Although his father also works, a lot of money is spent on medicine, and a lot of time is also required to support her.

Although Panha is trying to study hard, but he also has to take care of his mother and work in the home. Despite this he always gets outstanding results and he is well liked at school.
In 2017, COCD started Children’s Club program in Panha’s village. He joined the club, and was selected as the club’s representative. Through the Children’s Club program, he learned about child rights, and taught this to the other club members and other students at his school. He also participated in other activities such as the NGO Network, in which COCD sends all of the Children’s Club representatives to join a national workshop.
Now, his dream is to become a teacher, and his father is very supportive of him in working towards his dream. He often shares the knowledge he gained as representative of the club with his peers. He said, “I love and have an interest in helping other children in the community, and I want to be involved in community affairs, which I can learn from social work and to gain experience.”
The Village Chief expressed his supports for the Children’s Club program operating in his village, and was supportive of the children bringing their issues to a national workshop. He would like to see the program to scale up to other communities.

Panha expressed his thanks to COCD for creating the club and allowing him to become a member. He said that it has improved his confidence in speaking to other people, including his peers and others.

Our new life

Mr Nhel Toeurn, lives with his wife Rosnaram and three children, in Tasway village, Taken commune, Chhurk district in Kampot province, Cambodia. The village, with a population 690 people, is one of the target areas of COCD’s Integrated Rural Development Project. 186 families live there, including 11 with ID poor 1 cards, 10 with ID poor 2 cards, and 9 poor families without ID cards. This village is 70km from Kampot town and 50km from Chumkirri District ‘market town. The main occupation in the area is farming and agriculture, such as growing rice, growing vegetables, raising animals, fishing. Some families also run small businesses or work in construction.
Mr Nhel Toeurn is a poor farmer with an ID Poor 1 card. He and his wife work on a farm harvesting rice. Their oldest daughter Chhoeurn Phany is 14 years old and is in grade 5 and their second son Veal Kransaing primary school. Their oldest son, Chhoeurn Phanain is 11 years old and is in grade 3 at the same school. Their youngest son Chhoeurn Vanny is 3 years old and does not yet attend school, staying home with his parents.
His house is very small with no fence or walls, and it leaks when it rains. The house is unsafe for his daughter to live in, and she is at risk of harassment and sexual abuse from other community members.
The family received assistance from three programs under the Integrated Rural Development Program, including improvements to their houses, a bicycle to help their children travel to school, and a water well in their village.
Reflecting on his life before the program, Mr Nhel Toeurn, said “after moving away from his parents,
his life has become very difficult. Now we earn money through harvesting our neighbours farms and
construction work in our local village to buy food. After I left my parents my living conditions declined because I have no land to farm and I have young children to look after. One day, he didn’t have food, and he had to ask a neighbour for some rice. Even though we try our best, our living conditions are not improving.
Every day we worry about having enough food for our family. We also need to spend money on drinking water, which costs around $10 for half a month. If we don’t, we have to travel far to bring clean water home, and need to take the children to bathe which disrupts their schooling. Additionally, they sometimes have no choice but to use the unclean water from the lake which impacts their health, and there are a number of companies around the lake that pollute it with chemicals.”
Due to his living situation, COCD supported them with $340 USD to make improvements to their house, funded by HOLT International. During the program COCD, funded by BMZ, also provided a water well at their village. COCD also provided their daughter with a bicycle so that she can attend school, funded by Lotus Outreach International.
As a result, his family get sick less often due to the availability of clean water and they have less medical expenses. The children also have water to wash three times per day, and do not miss school due to travelling to get clean water.
“Without this support, I would still use unsafe water and our health would be poor. We no longer worry about our health as they had WASH training in their village and understand how to use to the clean
drinking water and how to boil the water before drinking. COCD staff have also focussed on the safety of their women including protecting them from abuse, by making improvements to their home.” “Now my living conditions have improved, my family is healthy and my daughter always goes to school on time. Her study results are good. Now I am confident in myself to continue my work, and have negotiated with my neighbour to rent some land to grow rice. I am now saving money to buy a piglet and a cow. If my livelihood improves, I will build a latrine for my family members to use. Finally, I want to thank COCD and all of the donors who support these programs, and I hope they will continue to support other poor families in Cambodia.”

Case Study of Inspiration of Study Materials

A girl Phat Minea, lives at Veal Krasang village, Takaen Commune which located in Chhuk district of Kampot province. Minea is 14 years old and learning at grade 7 in lower secondary school Trapang Bei which 3 kilometers away from home; additionally, she has received a good grade in class with her strong effort. Living only with her mother whom age 47 years old, Minea is having two siblings which her older brother Phat Samnang is moving to work as construction workers in the city (Phnom Penh) in order to earn to support the families in daily spending and sending his sister, Minea to school.

Minea’s family is extreme poor and the widow mother has chronic illness. Talking about her family, he left the family since daughter was little and married other lady; perhaps in Prey Veng province, and never come back to visit the children and without sending of any support. The mother played important role as mother and father alone to treat two of the children since then.
Currently they are holding Poor II ID card which recognized by the government standard of identification of poverty. The family has a small rice field which bought about 70A size before her father had left. Eventhough the land is small but family can grow and harvest to serve their needs in the period of time; however, because the mother is sick and in needs budget and human labor of ground plow, she couldn’t grow the whole rice field. Beside growing rice and monthly support from Minea’s brother, the mother has raising some chicken and ducks which could support her in dealing with her daily food and support Minea to school.
Referring to Minea class participation, she is an outstanding student and always receive top grade every annual of the academic. Nowadays, she has 4 hours per day but every of Tuesday and Friday she is having swop class between morning or afternoon. She also has an extra class 1 hour per day from Monday to Friday. Back from school, Minea, a good daughter, helps her mother in house chore such as cleaning house, cooking some foods, feeding chicken and ducks as well as reading her lesson.
Minea said “in the morning before going to school, I always help my mother to walk the cow to field, clean around the house and carry the water for day usage. I walked to school and sometime asking help from friend to ride bike with. After school, sometime in the afternoon, I helped my mother to walk cow back home. In rainy season, I assisted in transplant at rice field. Evening normally I help in cooking and feeding chicken and ducks.” She added “I never forget reviewing lesson before bed and complete my homework”.
Phat Minea raised up her challenge “because my family is poor so sometime I didn’t have enough money to school, sometime my mother couldn’t afford in buying me study materials, school uniform and no vehicle to ride and the school is located far from home; moreover, during rainy season, I find it really hard to walk to school and sometime I shamed to ask for help from friend since they had been helped often.” She continued, “I am so worried and sad every moment I think of my mother’s illness and saw her hardship in making money to support my education. I was exhausted somewhat in doing house chore after school but I have to help my mother in return”.
Even though the family situation is struggling but she never thinks of give up her effort in pursuing her education and life goal of being a teacher in the future. She stated confidently that “I will never give up although my family is poor and hard but I will try my best to finish my education. I want to be a teacher in the future because I want to help other children in promoting literacy and out of negative social action.” Minea also expected to encourage poor children and have better income to support her family in return.
She spoke with her sadness “if any NGOs support my education or support my education materials, I will do my best in making good grade until I can get better job to support myself and family”.
Seeing her family in difficult situation and her strong commitment in pursuing education, COCD with the cooperation from village chief at Veal Krasang sponsored the study materials in order to give encouragement and reduce burden of the mother. Moreover, Minea also received one bikecycle in 2017 which she can cycling to schools every day.
After receiving the support and bikecycle from COCD, she stated ”I am so happy to get the support and encouragement from COCD. I would like to give my respect and deepest thanks to COCD as a whole. I am committed to study hard and will never give up my passion”

Mrs. Pon Srey Mom known as the mother told us that she was so sad because she is poor and less ability to purchase her children even study materials and cloths as other mother did. She continued “I am thankful to COCD for this kind contribution and I promise to keep my daughter in school and urge her to finish her schooling”.
The village chief of Veal Krasang also spoke “this family has extreme poor compare to other family in the village. Minea’s father had already left family without contribute any treatment to children. I am also happy working closely with COCD and seeing this kind of support to her family”.
Last but not least, according to the observation and questioning with Phat Minea’s family, we can conclude that both daughter and mother were smiling from the bottom of her heart after receiving the attention and support from COCD. Anyway, village chief and neighbors also excited instead of her family since her truly extreme poor condition.

A headed household female improved healthy condition after accessing to water well

Som Oun, an old widow, lives in Chamkar Morn Village, Taken Commune, Chhuk District, Kampot Province, with 2 children and 2 grandchildren. Her daughter, Prum Sophath and her son in law, Mon Tha, they both work as construction worker in Kampong Som City.
The first granddaughter, Houern Sreyleak, a 13-year old girl who studies at Chamkar Morn Primary school of Taken Commune . The second granddaughter, Houern Sreylap, 3, does not go school, just stay home under taking care of grandma.

She is a poor widow with health equity card. Its number is 0807030-0123. She said that her family, since her husband survived, was a livelihood through firewood sales and construction work to support her family’s daily life. She continued” Since my husband passed away to my life, I have been very difficult because there is no farmland to do farming, I get older, live depend on my children, and neighbors. Anyway, I am busy with taking care of grandchildren that I have no time for making money”. A poor widow lady raised her voice” nowadays, I solve this problem through selling vegetables to my neighbors in order to make a little money for buying food for my family , even I work hard, I am still lack of food for families because I am jobless but my high risks is lack of source of clean water every day! In fact, my own and my neighbors have paid for purchasing water once that it costs $ 10 ( Ten dollars) and is used for half a month only.” If I do not buy, I spend a lot of times collecting water away from my homes, sometimes I take small children along with me and then their Learning were slow and sometimes they went to school late. At that time, my grandchild also use unclean water, which was seriously affected to their health as some companies and farmers used toxic chemicals on fruits and vegetables, and they flow into their source of daily water.”
As the result, this old widow lady, Mrs. Som Aun, was sick on typhoid and came to a private clinic in Chumkiri District and Doctor checked on her health by blood checking, she said that due to lack of hygiene and poor drinking water as a consequence, the poor widow charged the total cost of treatment was 150,000 riel. On April 27, 2018, Cambodian Organization for Children and Development (COCD), provided to a pump well for 16 households that lacked water sources for both seasons (Dry season and rainy season).
Villagers are no longer concerned about health issues, because she uses the source of clean water provided by COCD. While existed this pumping facility, my family was less sick and had not spent the money to cure the illness, and the grandchildren and other children in the area took three baths a day to clean themselves, and they went to school on time, said by an old widow. She continued “If there is no this project for construction of water well, I and my neighbors still continue to use unsafe water and often get sick and spent a lot of money to clean water that is the root cause of poverty.”

Finally, She would like to give deep hank to COCD as well as Donor that they are kind to all villagers here for provision of water well. She said “I live in a better way, with my family healthy condition and they go to school on time and then I continue practicing only safe drinking water and selling vegetables, now I plan to save money to buy a pig for raising in the future.”

My life has been changed

Mr. Thu Vorn, 60, born in Talang Village, Baneav Commune, Chhuk District, Kampot Province. He was a former soldier during the Pol Pot regime in 1978 and he got married by matching arrangements from that organization in 1979. At that time, he got injured on his leg because the bullet in the thigh and then caused it handicap. After the war, he lived nearby Cambodia-Thai border with his wife. Unfortunately, his wife passed away and he has been pursuing his poor life for 10 years with his five children there.
In 1995, he decided to marry to a new wife, a native of Prey Pheay commune, Trapeang Phleang Commune, Chhouk District, Kampot province and lived together in 12 Kilo Village, Andong commune, Kampot town, Kampot province, by working as a fisherman at the sea for livelihoods but it could not afford for his family’s living. Therefore, he and his wife decided to sell their land and their homes to live in their hometown, where is at Prey Pheay village, Trapeang Phleang commune, Chhouk district, Kampot province. Firstly, he has bought land to build small hut for settling in with his wife and 8 children including 6 daughters. His eldest daughter, 23, and her four-year-old youngest daughter, living in the care of her eldest daughter, did not study, helping with housework and taking care of children, at that time, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth children went to school and then the seventh and eighth children did not go to school as their home is far away from school and they do not have transportation for school and other factor is because of the small.
Mr. Vorn and his family do farming and sometime, they used to find bamboo in the forest for selling in the market for income generation for his family. The poor man
“I cannot afford my family to live better as my foot has been painful since war time that I cannot work like other people, so the income is less, and then I and my wife are always sick regularly and we need to spend much for treatments. We want to live in a new place, but I do not have money at all, this is the reasons that I and my family are continuing to live in misery as the most”. He continues his eyes filling with tears “I am sometimes sick in bud in my poor hut without medicine for cure, and I’ve not thought that I’m still alive.” But for my children, I have to cope with my illness and to work hard to earn money to support my family, said by disable man.

According to the members of the village who live nearby, Mr. Thu Vorn’s family’s live faced with food shortage. Until 20 October 2017, COCD staff joined a village chief to create a self-help group in the area where Mr. Thu Vorn lived, and at that time, he attended, too. He was also elected as a vice chair of Self- Help Group from that time. At the time of the village savings team’s arrival, he was able to easily borrow money when there is a quick and easy way to loan, with a lower interest (3%) than a private bond, with a savings group ensured by the people who were members. At that time, he loaned 650,000 Riels to make chicken cope and to buy more chicken for raising. So far, his family has raised more than 100 chickens, including 30 hens, 2 cocks and other 68 chickens. As the result, he has sold 10 to 15 chicken per month that 1 kilo of chicken is 15000 Riels and this case, he can get income around 300,000 Riels per month from selling chicken.
He raised his voice “My family improved than before.” He is happy to have a savings group in his area that allows him and other villagers to loan easily and save money in order to help each other. Strong man continued “I would like to thank to COCD, which has cooperated with local authorities to create this Self-Help Group to help people in the village e not only make people access loan easily but also involvement of educating the members to collaborate to work together and to improve other knowledge on social development.

Finally, he said hopefully and strongly “However, I must try hard to earn more income through doing farming , finding more extra work such as being as worker in the mango tree in the free time because I need to spend much expense for his 7 children to go to school. I am planning to expand more chicken to raise for income generation for family as possible as I can, said by committed 60-year old man with 8 children.