Stories of Change

Ratha and her children.

Last year, CWS programs in Cambodia reached 21,373 people in 83 communities.

Source: Annual Report 2017

Healthy children mean a more hopeful life

Bun Ratha and her husband, Horm Chanthorn, are the parents of two little ones, a four-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter. They are farmers living on Ratha’s mom’s land in Rung Chrey village in western Cambodia. They raise ducks for a living, but they don’t make enough to get by and are trying to pay off a high-interest loan that they took out to buy the ducks.

Their financial struggles, combined with the fact that the children were constantly ill, were taking a toll on the family. Their community connected them to the CWS Promoting Better Lives program, which is implemented by trusted local partner Rural Development Association.

The first thing Ratha told us when we visited with her is that she knows that both of her children are underweight and likely malnourished, which is why they are always sick. When we spoke, she said that when given the chance, “I joined some information sessions that CWS supports; and I have learned a lot about nutrition.”

Being reminded, along with other mothers, that good nutrition helps keep children healthy was a first step forward for Ratha. In talking about the information session, Ratha noted, “Since my daughter was severely underweight, the CWS program supported me to take her to the local government health center for immediate treatment, which helped her a lot.”

Now Ratha brings both her children to CWS-sponsored supplemental feeding groups where young children eat nutrition- rich, multi-ingredient porridge that mothers learn to make from local ingredients. So, change is not expensive and can be made at home. Happily, Ratha also told us, “Both children, but especially my daughter, have gained weight and are growing healthier. They rarely get sick like they did before.” And, she continued, “I am happy that we don’t need to spend money for drugs and other treatments, or time worrying and caring for sick children. Now I have more time to focus on work and helping Chanthorn raise our ducks so we can pay off our loan and make a better life. I am so grateful for the support.”

Knowing that it is likely Ratha and Chanthorn may need more support to get their lives and livelihoods on a more positive path, CWS is ready, alongside trusted local partners, to welcome the couple to other activities that can help them live lives of dignity and worth. When we met them, they were quite hopeless and a bit stuck in a bad situation; now, with a little help, they are more hopeful, and CWS is proud to be there to accompany them further on their journey if they want.