In July 2017 I had the opportunity to fulfil a dream. A dream of meeting and connecting with people in the slums.
Through family friends I was put in contact with Duncan. We had the opportunity to meet on the last day of my visit in Cambodia and the first day of one of his trips.
When we entered the slum, I was fortunate enough to have all the children run up to me, try and talk to me and hold my hands as we walked around
I was able to give these children some books, stationary, stickers and bubbles I had bought from home.
We were invited into the homes of some of the sponsored children, many of whom were similar ages to my three daughters. As they proudly showed me their work, I was amazed at the standard of education these sponsored children were receiving. These children were learning the same maths as my children in Australia and were so grateful for the education they were receiving. They managed to study in an environment where the whole family ate, slept and lived in the one room.
While I was in Srey Phoeun’s home, where I humbly received a very welcomed cold drink, I had the pleasure of meeting her friend. This girl was not sponsored and went to the local school and I realised she did not have the same privilege and opportunity, through education, to change her or her family’s life. The comparison of these families to mine touched my heart. It was at this moment that I started thinking how could I make a difference.
When I first returned home I struggled to get Cambodia and the children there out of my mind. I told my children, family and friends all about the extreme poverty in this country, the slum and how I truly wanted to make a difference. I had my first opportunity a month later when one of my daughters was turning 16 and wanted to give to charity as part of her present. I purchased on her behalf a donation of a bag of rice. I knew that every cent I was spending would be going to this person.
Mrs Pheom Chan Tol who received the donation of rice from Kate
A couple of months later I decided that I had to do something to help educate at least one child in the slum I had visited. As a single mum, studying at university I knew first-hand how education can change the opportunities in people’s lives. As sponsoring a child myself was financially not an option while I was at university, I decided to get a group of 16 local mothers and sponsor a child together. Our child will be starting school in January.
As I had also been studying slums at uni I had learned that having clean water can have a significant improvement to people’s health, At Christmas time I was responsible for buying the combined family present for my dad and step mum and they had all the material possessions they wanted. So I decided the best thing to get them was a gift to help others. I decided to contact Duncan again and I organised a gift to get water connected to someone’s home and a bag of rice for a lady in the slum.
Mrs Uk Sok who benefits from having water installed and her water bill payed for 1 year
I look forward to continuing to think of ways to help the people from this village and hopefully one day I will return and see the transformation of this village and the people who live there.