In the summer of 2017, a beautiful five-year-old girl named Carolyn first joined our Rangsei preschool in Cambodia. Her teachers found her to be an active and playful child, eager to please and quick to grasp new concepts. A little bit on the boisterous side, Carolyn sometimes needed to be reminded to speak more softly, but overall she was a wonderful little student. (We like the lively ones!)
Two years later when Carolyn was in Grade 2, her mother decided to move to Thailand in order to find work and left Carolyn and an older brother in the care of their grandmother. Although the mother sent home money when she could, it simply wasn’t enough to make ends meet.
When our school staff learned of the family’s financial difficulties, they were able to employ the grandmother to work in our school kitchen. With Carolyn and her brother both enrolled in our Rangsei school, Carolyn could often be seen eating happily with her grandmother at lunchtime.
The grandmother’s new employment opportunity was working well, and we were able to improve the family’s situation even further through another LWB program: Cambodia foster care. Carolyn’s mother returned home from Thailand and began to foster a baby whom we called Timothy. Everything changed for the family at this point.
Both grandmother and mother were each earning a living wage, and the family was reunited and able to live together.
Carolyn was receiving an education and enjoying a nutritious hot meal each day at school.
And dear baby Timothy was able to spend 26 months in a safe and loving home as he awaited his own forever family.
It was a true blessing when Timothy was able to be adopted domestically, and he is now absolutely adored by his permanent family. As our foster care manager pointed out, “It all goes full circle. People who receive help want to help in turn.” It is indeed a ripple effect — an ongoing story of hope.
Carolyn is now in Grade 6 in our education program, and she is a good student who arrives early to help her teacher prepare for the day’s activities. She never misses a lesson or lets her mind wander while her teacher is explaining a new concept. When her schoolwork is done, Carolyn plays nicely with her friends or finds a quiet spot for reading.
At home, Carolyn is a great help to her family. Happy to help cook, wash dishes and clothes, she is a cheerful little worker. In the evening, Carolyn always does her homework before retiring to bed. She has thrived with this well-balanced routine that will hopefully set her up for success in the future.
It is our fondest hope that Carolyn’s entire family can now escape the cycle of poverty that is so prevalent in the rural areas of Cambodia. Employment is a tremendous help to her mother and grandmother, and an education opens up a whole new world of possibilities for Carolyn herself. We are incredibly grateful to our supporters for making this story of hope possible!
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