The Child’s Journey

DANY | Cambodia

Dany, 9, used to spend hours every day on the dangerous streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, helping her grandmother sift through garbage, looking for things to sell.

Life is still hard for this little girl, the child of prisoners. But today, she is back in school and her family has new hope.

Dany and her frail grandmother, Soo Lay, sold the items they found in the garbage for a few pennies which bought a couple of bites of food. Every bite was precious.

Soo Lay provides for Dany and her brother, who were left in her care when their parents were imprisoned.

The three live in an ancient pagoda in a former crematorium. It’s a dark, toxic place.

Until the roof was recently repaired, the floor was constantly flooded. They sleep and eat on a raised wooden bed, a few feet away is the oven where thousands of bodies have been burned.

As a child of prisoners, Dany has often been bullied by other children. “They say, ‘Your parents are in prison’ and they curse me,” she said, adding, “I miss my mother and it makes me sad. When I go to bed, I cry myself to sleep.”

She is also in constant danger from traffickers who prey on little girls. “When I’m walking, I’m afraid I will be taken,” she said.

With her parents in prison and only an aging grandmother to care for her, Dany’s life and future were in jeopardy. You can meet Dany in the video above and learn more about what her life was like until Prison Fellowship International intervened.

Just like her, many children of prisoners, the innocent victims of crime, experience rejection, poverty, and despair.

Thankfully for Dany and her family, Prison Fellowship International was able to help them meet basic needs. Now, they have new hope.

Through our child sponsorship program, we provided Dany’s family with nutritious food and helped her and her brother start attending school. A Christian caseworker and local church volunteers ensure her needs are being met and that her family is connected with a community church so they can experience God’s love and learn His Word.

Dany was thrilled to receive a new bike to help her get to school daily, and she wrote to express her thanks to her sponsor:

“Hello sponsor. I really thank you for buying a bicycle for me. Before, I always had to walk to school. Now that I have a bicycle to ride to school, I promise you I will try hard with my studies and I will get a good result at the end of the year.”

Our caseworker also connected the family with a local pastor who is a kind, trusted presence in the children’s lives. We also arranged for the children to visit their mother in prison, which made Dany happy.

“I am really thankful for your support by giving us 50 kg of rice. It is important for my family and helps reduce our daily expenses, so we can save some money to meet other real needs,” Dany’s grandmother said. “Thank you too for helping to repair the roof. Before, when it rained at night, we didn’t sleep until the rain stopped because it dripped into the house and on my bed. Now the roof is repaired.”

“My family is better than before,” Soo Lay told us gratefully.

Give a child like Dany hope for a better future.

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