CHEAV | Cambodia

I’m No Longer Forsaken 

Cheav, 68, is the father of ten children, six of whom still live at home. Since his wife is in prison, he is must act as both their father and mother.

They live in a poor, rural village an hour outside Phnom Pehn, Cambodia. Their home is made of thatch and leaves, which protects them very little from the wind and rain.

Cheav works as a day laborer, and makes about $1.20 a day. His body is weak, and it is increasingly difficult to manage the jobs that come his way. After his wife was sent to prison, his children stopped going to school, because he could not afford their uniforms, and they had no way to get there safely. Cheav was losing hope.

A local church partner from the Prison Fellowship International’s child sponsorship program learned of Cheav and his family’s situation, and visited them. After a few months, the four youngest, Seak Lan, Seak Long, Srey Toch and Srey Thom were enrolled and the whole family experiences benefits. Their unstable home now has new, sturdy walls, and a roof. Food packages supplement what Cheav’s meager daily wage cannot provide, ensuring the youngest children receive the nutritious food they need to grow strong and stay healthy. They also receive regular health checks, are back in school, and their new bicycles allow them to travel to and from classes safely. Cheav dreams his children will become teachers or metal workers—that they will have better lives.

Cheav is now better able to provide for his family, because the program provided him with five hens, and taught him how to clean, care for, and raise them to eat and to sell locally. Since learning this new skill, he has produced 30 chickens.

In the last year, Cheav developed relationships with the local church pastor and social worker, and through them, became a Christian. While Cheav continues to struggle to meet all of his family’s needs, he is prayerful, and grateful for the change in his family’s life.

Help give families, like Cheav’s, the boost they need to thrive.

Give a Child of a Prisoner the Gift of Hope

Learn more about our child sponsorship program

SAMBATH & KAKADA | Cambodia

From Insecure to Secure

Ten-year-old Sambath and five-year-old Kakada live in a poor section of a small village just outside Phnom Penh, Cambodia. They are growing up without the presence of a father, because he is in prison. Kakada has only known his father from behind prison walls. Their mother remarried just over a year ago, and started a new family, so the boys live with their grandparents. Once their father is released, he will go home to his own parents.

“Their father doesn’t want them,” says Sambath and Kakada’s grandmother.

The psychological trauma this experience caused by both boys made them withdrawn. And this trauma, especially for children of prisoners who are repeatedly rejected by family members and peers, compounds over time if not addressed.

The two boys enrolled in our child sponsorship program, which is giving them emotional care to help them overcome their trauma and build their confidence and self-esteem.

Since joining the program, their emotional state has improved dramatically. Sambath and Kakada are now more outgoing and engaged in school and social activities. The program has also provided safety for the boys. They no longer have to walk dangerous streets to school, as they both received bicycle to travel with to and from school. They also receive regular food packages and medical services to help them grow strong and healthy. With the financial support, their grandparents have been able to increase their small fruit-selling business, which is helping create regular income and build a stable environment for the boys.

 

Sambath and Kakada now have hope for the future. Sambath wants to be a teacher when he grows up, and Kakada dreams of becoming a policeman.

Help children like Sambath and Kakada receive emotional healing and hope for the future. 

Give a Child of a Prisoner the Gift of Hope

Learn more about our child sponsorship program

ARAGEL | Cambodia

She Wants to be a Star

Aragel was born in a prison while her mother served time. Her mother has since been released, but eight-year-old Aragel’s father is still in prison. With her mother’s past, and her father gone, this makes life a struggle and they often were alone and rejected.

But when Aragel was enrolled in our child sponsorship program she and her mother received financial support and emotional and spiritual care from a local caseworker and pastor.

Together, they work with Aragel and her mother to ensure they receive food, regular medical check-ups, and the necessary materials to succeed in school. Aragel dreams of being a star when she grows up.

Give a child like Aragel the chance to dream and have a better life. 

Give a Child of a Prisoner the Gift of Hope

Learn more about our child sponsorship program

SREYNITH | Cambodia

A Young Girl Rescued from an Abusive Home

Sreynith’s father was always drunk and abusive to his family. When he was arrested on charges of homicide, Sreynith’s mother remarried. But home life remained difficult.

Sreynith was abused when her step-father drank. Both her mother and step-father insulted her when they disliked Sreynith’s housework, and she was forced to drop out of grade school to help care for her half siblings.

Sreynith’s grandmother, Mrs. Mom, heard about our child sponsorship program through her pastor and decided to enroll Sreynith into the program.

The caseworkers brought the abusiveness and dysfunctionality Sreynith suffered to light, and determined her family was not safe to live with anymore.

Mrs. Mom moved closer to her grandchildren, but couldn’t afford to support them on her own. Two local pastors partnered with the child sponsorship program to share the cost of providing a place for Sreynith and Mrs. Mom to live.

In 2014, the program partnered with local churches to raise the funds and purchase a house.

The house is old, but it is a safe haven for Sreynith.

Today, Sreynith is happy—living with her grandmother, healthy, and regularly attending school. She has become an active participant in the children’s group at church.

Her house has been renovated, and two of Sreynith’s siblings have also come to live with them.

Sreynith and Mrs. Mom give thanks for the strong support of the program. Mrs. Mom is especially thankful for the program staff’s careful monitoring, who noticed and rescued Sreynith from abuse.

As a family, they are thankful for the blessings God has brought their way.

Help a child like Sreynith find safety and emotional support.

Sponsor a Child

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KANHA | Cambodia

Five-year-old Kanha lives in Cambodia’s Speu Province. She is the impoverished daughter of a prisoner. But like a growing number of children being cared for through our child sponsorship program, she is a survivor.

Kanha suffers from a serious heart condition that requires open-heart surgery. But her mother can’t afford the operation on her own. The desserts she sells in her village barely generate enough income to feed her three children.

Kanha’s father has been in prison for 11 years—since before Kanha was born.

“Since my husband was arrested, my family met difficulty and crisis,” says her mother. “My children lack food. [We don’t] have money for spending or [school] supplies.” She says their condition gets worse with each passing year.

To help families like Kanha’s, Prison Fellowship Cambodia is tapping into community resources. Twenty health centers agreed to provide regular health checks, and 54 churches now partner to help deliver essential monthly services to families of prisoners. In addition, local authorities are teaching personal safety workshops, and the department of agriculture is delivering chicken-farming training to empower families of prisoners.

With assistance from Prison Fellowship Cambodia and our child sponsorship program, Kanha received her heart surgery this year. Her condition is improving, and so is her family’s.

“Thank you!” says her mother. “[Our] burden has been reduced in our time of need, and [our] living condition is better than before, because my daughter [is now] healthy.”

Help provide health for a child like Kanha.

Sponsor a Child

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UDOM | Cambodia

Even though Udom’s father served his sentence in prison, he didn’t come home upon his release. Instead, he married another woman. Udom’s mom struggles with various issues and has disassociated from her family. Udom and his siblings live with his grandmother.

Though his grandmother sews for a living, she doesn’t make enough income to support her family. Their one-room house is simple, with tin walls and roof, but it’s tidy and clean.

Through the support provided through our child sponsorship program, Udom loves going to school, and he and his siblings can now eat until they are full. He treasures the letters sent to him by his sponsors. These letters are well-read, but stored so carefully.

Udom’s grandmother says, “Thank you! You have helped us be happy all the time! May God bless you!”

Give a child like Udom nutritious food and much more.

Sponsor a Child

Learn more about our child sponsorship program

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.

Sponsor a Child

Learn more about our child sponsorship program