In 2019, a charity working in the child trafficking field asked for our assistance in helping a 10-year-old boy named Lee escape his current situation.
Our team in Cambodia tried their best to find relatives he could safely return to, but they were unsuccessful. Once all avenues for family reunification were exhausted, Lee was placed in a loving home within our Safe Haven foster care program. We were all thrilled to see Lee adjust to his new surroundings very quickly!
In addition to finding Lee a safe place to live, we enrolled him in one of our Believe In Me schools. He had expressed the desire to have an education, and we were only too happy to help that dream become a reality.
Lee has shown himself to be a diligent and hard worker in school. He is a few years behind his peers in education, but he has devoted himself to learning, and to being a good friend.
Lee’s foster care manager gives this glowing account of Lee’s enduring spirit: “Lee deeply cares for the people in his life, and this is expressed through action. Whether it be picking up groceries for his foster mother, respectfully listening to his teacher, or warmly greeting his classmates or members of the LWB team, Lee does so with a warm smile and cheerful heart!”
When we first met Lee in 2019, he was in urgent need of medical care. After living on the streets, he was suffering from chronic malnutrition and stunting. His eyes were painfully infected, and he also had a congenital eye condition called blepharophimosis. This disorder results in underdeveloped eyelids that partially cover the eyes, limiting his vision. The infection was quickly treated, and Lee has done his best to not let his vision troubles slow him down.
As far as his overall health is concerned, Lee now receives plentiful food in his foster home and is full of energy. However, stunting is largely irreversible for children who suffer malnutrition in their early years of life, so he remains quite small for his age. Most people who meet this outgoing boy would not believe he is 13 years old.
Lee works hard in school and always does his best. His foster parents often praise his efforts and tell us that he’s a helpful and kindhearted boy. Lee himself says that he’s grateful to his foster parents for caring for him and for giving him a much better life than he had before.
Helpful at heart, Lee is trusted to carry out important tasks such as purchasing groceries and assisting his foster mother with cooking. He also enjoys harvesting the fresh ingredients for those meals and watering their little garden.
In return, his foster mother has the extra time available to help Lee with his studies. It’s a win-win situation for everyone!
People are drawn to Lee’s positivity and easy-going nature. He is an integral part of his family and home and takes pleasure in even the most mundane tasks, such as doing his chores and homework. He says his favorite task is taking care of the cows and other animals with his foster mother.
Lee has embraced the safety he has found in foster care and the opportunity to simply be a kid. Our supporters have given Lee this incredible gift, plus all the future opportunities that may be open to him through education. It’s a dream come true, all thanks to the kindness and generosity of strangers whom Lee will never know. We are incredibly grateful!
(For their safety, we do not share the faces of children in Safe Haven Foster Care).
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