AGAINST THE TIDE
StarKids is helping children like Somaly and her sister get to school safely. Here, Cheryl McGrath shares Somaly’s story.
During the wet season in Cambodia, living in a house surrounded by water can be extremely dangerous. For 14-year-old Somaly, the challenges this presented were part of everyday life. The rainy season (from May to October) would often make Somaly’s journey to school difficult, if not impossible. When her father needed the family’s boat for fishing, Somaly and her sister would be forced to cross the hazardous flood waters by foot to get to class. If they didn’t, the sisters would miss school altogether. “I walked across the flood area with water from 0.5 to 0.8 metres deep,” the Cambodian teen reveals.
World Vision, in partnership with StarKids, is working to help vulnerable children like Somaly around the world. When World Vision visited the district, they learnt about Somaly’s situation. Today, her family is living in a new house right in the middle of the village. The kids also have bikes to ride to school safely and Somaly is happy she doesn’t have to miss out on her education. “I must keep learning to become a teacher, because I will help people to learn,” she says, much to the delight of her father, Cheng. “I would like to say thank you to World Vision for helping my family,” the proud father says. “In future, I commit to encouraging my children to go to school. I want to see Somaly and her young sister have a good job. I am so glad to see Somaly’s smiles, her study and her successes.”