Forme Spa sponsors many girls each year as part of the Cambodia Charitable Trust. The trust is for creating a brighter future for vulnerable Cambodian children, through providing them with access to education.

Here is the story of Khouen SreyPrich, one of the girls we are lucky enough to sponsor.

School & Education:

Sreypich attends Santak Fransfoir Secondary School. It takes Sreypich 30 minutes riding a bicycle along a dirt track to get to school. She leaves home at 6.30am and returns around 5pm. It’s a long day. Sreypich likes school and is placed number 10 amongst 29 students. She likes all of her subjects with Khmer being her favourite and Maths and English being the least favourite. Sreypich would like to be a teacher. Being a teacher is a very respectable job and attainable. She does not want to follow her mother into garment factory work. When asked what was the best thing about her life, she said going to school. Given the family’s economic circumstances, your sponsorship support is ensuring this is a possibility.

Living Circumstances & Family Dynamics:

The roads in rural Cambodia are single lane clay/dirt tracks designed more for motorbikes and bicycles than cars or vans. To get to Sreypich’s home we drove down a long single lane track with rice fields either side, dotted with occasional rural homes and palm trees. This is the track that Sreypich rides her bike to school. In the rainy season it can become very muddy and awash with water. In the below photo it is very dry and easy for her to ride her bike or in our case driving the van.

Sreypich lives with her Mother, Father, and three younger sisters ages 7, 10 and 12 years. All of her sisters attend school. Her grandmother lives close by, as do an aunt and some cousins. There is a strong family bondand Sreypich and her father are most welcoming. The father is very proud of all his daughters being at school. He wants Sreypich and her sisters to study hard and get good grades.

The work and school day is a long one. Sreypich has chores after school, helping with the rice harvesting, cleaning the house including the new toilet block and washing the clothes. After dinner the family like to sit together and chat.

Living Conditions

The family live in a rural home made of wood and corrugated iron, on stilts. It is approximately 10 years old and Sreypich’s father helped build it on land owned by the family. The house has one room upstairs and the four girls sleep in here. The parents sleep on the outside wooden slat table under the eaves. The kitchen areas is downstairs. The home is small with few personal belongings. The father is very proud of the separate modern toilet block which is needed with a family of five females. He had to take out a loan to build it, repayments were expensive for a rural Cambodian family, but it is now paid off.

They use electricity to provide light and wood to cook on an open fire. The pond is approximately 150 metres away. Drinking water will be boiled if taken from the pond. Water is
fetched in large containers and poured into the earthen jars.

Transport:

The family’s transport is one motorbike and two push bikes with one being quite old.
Income & Literacy: Sreypich’s father is a part time rice farmer and construction worker. Many rural Cambodians are subsistence farmers, growing rice for their own use. Sreypich family have a small field that grows a rice crop but it is not enough to feed the family and they need to buy rice for 5-6 months of the year. Unfortunately construction work is not regular and often not in or around the local village. To assist with the family living expenses her mother works at the local garment factory. She leaves for work at 5am, returning home at 5pm. She makes approximately US$5 per day if sufficient work is available. If there is not enough work, pay may only be US$1 per day. Transport to the factory is via a van, that she pays US$12 a month for. Often garment factories in

Cambodia are not the best of working conditions however it is a regular income. Sreypich’s father can read but not write. Her mother can do neither. This makes it difficult to access
information and for them to get any other job than the jobs they have. It is important to them that their children learn. They want a better future for their children and a higher standard of living. They are very proud of what Sreypich is achieving and they are focused on a good education for all their daughters.

Health:
Sreypich and her family have good health. They clean their teeth regularly and limit sugar (painful and decaying teeth of our students has been found to be an issue in many schools). If a family member became sick they would go to the health centre (if they can afford it )rather than use local remedies. The new toilet block will help to keep the family healthy.

They eat two meals a day.
Animals:
The family does not have any farm animals such as a cow or bullock. They have three pet dogs which helps with protection in a rather isolated area.

What makes them happy:
This visit was a pleasure. Although the family are poor, Sreypichs father was very proud of his girls and they seemed like a close family, who enjoy spending time together. This family will make the most of the assistance this sponsorship will give them hopefully going from very poor to reaching the next rung in the ladder.