Meet my little sister … Thorn Chariya
Over a year ago I made the decision to sponsor a little girl in Cambodia, and this year more than ever they have needed all the support they can get.
The last year has been a very difficult time for children in Cambodia. The schools have just reopened, having been closed from 13 March with the children not able to attend classes. Some faced the reality of not being able to continue any study. The children attending Cambodia Charitable Trust supported schools have fared much better, with homework being given out at school on an appointment-like basis and teachers providing videoed lessons for children to watch. Teachers also visited children in small groups to help them understand their work.
However it has been a frightening world.
All construction sites closed, garment factories ceased operating and family members working overseas arrived home to live with families with no income sources. Food has been scarce with no money to support the family. Cambodia Charitable Trust supporters have been providing bags of rice which have given the family their most valued staple. The bags of rice have been received with enormous gratitude. This has all been in the context that if Coronavirus got into the communities there was very little in the way of medical care available and many of the people are malnourished or have existing medical conditions such as TB or other lung and heart issues. Many of Cambodia Charitable Trust sponsored children are raised by grandmothers so they were very much afraid of losing these primary caregivers.
The team in Cambodia was very concerned at first that sponsors in New Zealand may not want their sponsored children to receive their sponsorship as they were not technically attending school, but they assured us that this lifeline would not be withdrawn when the families needed it most. They just needed to find a safe way of getting the cash to the families.
The staff have been very conscious of maintaining the best practice to avoid any risk of spreading the virus. With the schools closed the team arranged a concession to allow sponsored children to come to school at an appointed time once every two months to collect their sponsorship. That meant they paid each family two months sponsorship in one go. This effectively halved any potential risk. All children were given hand sanitiser to take home and were told the importance of maintaining social distancing and washing hands.
The school budgets were reallocated to provide stationery to ensure homework materials were available. They have also been busy upgrading hand washing facilities at school to make sure the children can continue washing hands when they do return to school.
The Ministry of Education in Cambodia has been developing strategies to cope with the interruption to the school year. No school holidays are due to be taken this year and teachers will continue as best they can to teach at a distance. With the rainy season coming in Cambodia they don’t know how much they will be able to travel to visit children. Cambodia Charitable Trust has also been helping the Ministry to develop other programmes to ensure the education system keeps functioning. The supporters have also provided support for “non Cambodia Charitable Trust” schools so as children attending those schools can have homework materials. They have also helped teacher trainees continue to learn.
This has been a very hard year for everyone, but the Cambodia Charitable Trust have been able to continue to care for the most vulnerable children who live in utmost poverty.
My sponsorship has been more important than ever and has really been a lifeline. These families have relied on Cambodia Charitable Trust to get them through this time, and I know I have made a huge difference. This cannot be overstated. There is no other help that these families can rely on.
If you wish to make a difference by donating or sponsoring your own ‘Little Sister’ please click https://cctnz.org.nz/donate-to-our-dream-fund-3/