In Cambodia the differences between rich and poor are enormous. Above all, families in rural regions are often affected by severe poverty. Parents can hardly afford to sustain the requirements of the family. There is not enough for a school education for the children, medical care, leisure activities, or for general and necessary maintenance work on their own properties. One family affected by this degree of poverty is the “Rum” family. They consist of ten family members, and have been living in the village of Taproch, Battambang Province for the last ten years.
Together they live in a typical Cambodian stilt hut, which consists of only one living space. The hut was originally built and lived in by the mother’s brother. Ten years ago, the brother left the family’s hut and the family gathered wood in the area to make the hut more stable and clad the walls with banana leaves. Unfortunately, the wood collected was not strong enough and began to rot. The roof and the walls began to decay and were leaking. In the end, they were no longer able to use the living space. Since then the family has been sleeping in two groups. One group under the house and one in the outside cooking and dining area. Both areas are unsuitable for living and pose risks of poisonous creatures and unhealthy and damp conditions. Even though many people traditionally sleep under the house, they do so in a secured area with walls and not open to the outside conditions. Scorpions, poisonous millipedes or other poisonous animals are common here.
The father (57 years old) is a day laborer in the construction industry. The mother (50 years old) tries to contribute to the support of the family by working in the agricultural sector, harvesting morning glory, or fishing. In one day she earns only $ 1.25 to $ 2.50. Together they have six children (22, 21, 19, 16, 13 and 10 years old). The oldest son is already divorced. From this marriage there are two more children, which the family Rum cares for lovingly. The primary caregiver is the mother, who is unable to work full-time or even regularily. The second and third son are also active in the construction industry. On good days, the family has enough rice and sometimes vegetables, to eat, but for meat or more nutricious foods it is never enough. The youngest sons are both in school as it is compulsory, but there is a lack of financial resources to support this. Although the public school in Cambodia is free, the school uniforms and school materials must be financed by the parents. In addition, there is no public transport network or school bus service in Cambodia. The children often have to walk a long distance to school, the purchase of a bicycle is not an option considering the families budget. In order to enable these children to attend the school, sponsorships were taken over by the Thuringian Cambodian Society.
The second youngest son suffers from neurofibromatosis, a genitic disorder, which leads to surging tissue growth and further abnormalities. With this condition bones and organs can also be affected. And in this case the child has a pronounced scoliosis and his left arm shows pronounced changes in the tissue. Through this illness, the family has added financial, temporal and physical burdens along with the added stress. Medical care can only be received in Siem Reap and Siem Reap is very far away for this family.
The greatest and longest desire of the family is to keep themselves dry, protected and safe and to sleep.
This is exactly where the kleine Hilfsaktion e.V. intervenes to assist the Rum family within the framework of its emergency assistance program. The difficult financial situation, the illness of the son and the many family members are points that we can not really improve on a lasting basis.
But we can help by providing a safe and dry home at short notice. Here they can live in a more healthy and safe situation. Of course, we will continue to keep an eye on the family and help if another tragedy or severe circumstance should fall upon the family.
Project coordinates: 13.123077, 103.198343
Date: May 27, 2017