YaNuch’s Different Childhood

Change can be a slow process – sometimes painfully so. World Vision Communicator, Dara Chhim visited a family in Cambodia and discovered the joys of seeing change happen in front of your eyes.

YaNuch, 12 years old, is the youngest daughter of a farming family in Battambang Province, Cambodia.

Life hasn't been easy for the family. YaNuch's father has battled with alcoholism. He's been unable to provide for his family, so they've each taken up the burden. The older children have all dropped out of school to help bring food and money into the home.

YaNuch's mother, Sokh No, told us how it got to this point:
"My two sons and a daughter dropped out of school because I could not afford for them to go to high school. They have to contribute to find income to support the family.”

Snakes in the night

The family has a paddy field, but harvests have been shrinking - as has the market value of any they can sell. So, to make sure they could eat, the kids spent their days, not is school, but collecting crickets, fish and shrimps. They spent many nights this way too – despite the very real fear of deadly snakes – just to survive.

As the situation deteriorated, YaNuch's mother, Sokh No, used the little money she had to arrange for her oldest son (then 18) to emigrate to Thailand for better prospects. But he returned home after three months of mistreatment.

As the youngest child, YaNuch, grew older, her time in school was running out.

YaNuch in 2014

A chance for change

But when YaNuch was 8 years old, their community welcomed World Vision. We met with local people, listened to their needs, their challenges, their aspirations. These conversations told us how we could best help the families in the area. So, our work with the community started with a keen focus on educational needs, and particularly on highlighting the importance and the value of schooling.

We also began working with most vulnerable families to help them bring in higher, and more reliable incomes – including YaNuch's own family.

When we met YaNuch in 2014, she was helping her mum to catch shrimp, and looking after animals in the field. Back then her hope was to see change:

"In the next five years, I won't be the same. I hope that my community people have better living conditions and that every child is healthy and goes to school until the highest grade."

A model family

Sokh No joined some of our groups, and took part in different activities. She learned skills for her family life, for her children's benefit. Crucially, YaNuch joined the child sponsorship scheme and Sokh No committed to helping her complete her education. To help them achieve this, we gave the family two pigs and a dozen chickens.

"I and my family, could gain much more income to support my family and my youngest daughter goes to school regularly," Sokh No explains.

This family, who couldn't see a way forward, who sacrificed their children's education to simply survive, are now viewed as a 'model family'. In the space of a few short years, the prospects of their youngest child, YaNuch have turned around. She's in school and her life is far removed from the struggles her siblings faced:

"I play and read books with my friends after school. Now I am an outstanding student," she shares, proudly.

Change for all

And it doesn't stop here. Seeing the changes in her own child, Sokh No wants to see the same opportunities for other children in her community. She's volunteered the family's yard as a safe space for the local children's club to meet. Around 40 children regularly gather there to play, learn, read and hear about safety, hygiene and education.

They have a different childhood and can look ahead to a better future.

UK child sponsors are bringing change to some of the most vulnerable children around the world. Through sponsorship, World Vision can work with communities for the long-term, ensuring that this generation get the chance for good health, quality education and a safe childhood... and the changes will last for the next generation, and the one after that.

Find out how you can change a child's life through sponsorship today ›

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