Written by Ratha Ung; edited by Sarah Bartley
One of Sothea’s favourite activities is raising his family’s chickens. Photo: World Vision
Sothea is nine and has big dreams. He’s growing up in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with his grandparents in a neighbourhood where the stench of garbage and sewage hangs in the air and children can be easy targets for criminals.
Being raised by a single parent, Sothea’s mom works in a garment factory. The long hours mean she’s away from home most of the time. Thankfully, his grandparents can care for him and his older sister. After getting back from school, Sothea does his chores and curls up with a good book. He likes to be helpful around the house and knows that his responsibilities come first. “I usually help my grandparents by cleaning the house, washing dishes and feeding the chickens before I read,” he says.
The city can be intimidating and unsafe for children who are alone. On his two kilometre walk to school, Sothea passes by residents who are gambling and using illegal drugs. This is why Sothea wants to be a police officer. He wants to help other children in his community feel safer than he does. As a sponsored child, he writes his sponsor regularly and even sent a drawing of the police uniform he hopes to wear.
Sothea demonstrates his first-rate dishwashing techniques. Photo: World Vision
Sponsorship has helped Sothea with the things he needs to be successful, like school materials and walking shoes. A children’s club helps him socialize in a safe environment and here he also learns how to stay safe.
The adults in the community have also benefitted from the support of World Vision. Sothea’s grandparents were invited to join training sessions, like disaster risk management, which is important for disaster-prone regions like Sothea’s village. The savings group also encourages his family in financial responsibility and goal setting.
Invest in the future of a farmer. Give families a source of income with training, seeds and tools.
Sothea is on the right track. With great role models at home and World Vision’s support to help boost him, we’re excited to watch him grow and achieve his dreams. We think he’ll make a great police officer one day.