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Poverty among children. Six similar real stories

Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn't commit."

Eli Khamarov


During the Khmer Rouge period (1975-1979), Cambodia suffered an unprecedented massacre. In fact, the Pol Pot's communist regime was the cause of death to almost 3 millions of people. It was equivalent to 1/4 of Cambodia population and the main target was the upper class with higher levels of education.

As a way to silence a possible opposition, in less than 4 years Cambodia saw almost their entire people with a certain level of education to be executed.

Not only it created a huge scar on Cambodian people, but it was a significant setback on Cambodia's possible progress.

Nowadays, being one of the poorest countries in South East Asia, it is extremely common for its people to live in dramatic situations.

While visiting the country, children can often be seen begging, working, wandering or playing in the middle of the street during school periods.

A sad reality, which translates itself in the fact that more than 40% of people, aged from 6 to 24, do not attend school, mostly because they have to contribute to their household income.

As a consequence, the lack of education opportunities creates a severe gap for Cambodian’s progress.

Unfortunately, several Cambodian children depend on the generosity of others and NGO organisations to help them getting a small part of the education they deserve.



During our time in Battambang, as a joint project with Equal Chance and CCAHA, we got the chance to get in contact with several of them and share with you their personal stories!

Nonetheless, despite presenting only six brief stories, in Cambodia, today, there are thousands of children who do not have an opportunity to dream. The following six children are just a small sample of a much bigger sad reality.


  • Name: Rayouk

  • Age: 10

  • Dream job: Rayouk dreams one day to become a football player.

  • Daily tasks: during his day, Rayouk does mostly household tasks, like washing clothes, cleaning kitchen tools, cooking steamed rice and mowing the lawn in the small chilli farm his family have.

  • Public school: Rayouk does not have any money, making him unsuitable to attend public school.

  • CCHA school: every weekdays in the afternoon Rayouk attends Khmer and English class during one hour. He is in the second grade class since June 2017.

  • Family situation: Rayouk lives with his family in the village, with the exception of his sister, who is living in Battambang city in an organisation that provides food and shelters, apart from education.

  • Other: he goes to school by the family bicycle, if it is available at the time. If not, he walks and it takes about half an hour.


  • Name: Seavmey

  • Age: 14

  • Dream job: Seavmey dreams one day to become a nurse.

  • Daily tasks: Seavmey works at her grandmother’s chilli and cucumber small plantation. She also cooks, cleans house materials and clothes and helps with the general household tasks.

  • Public school: just occasionally does Seavmey attends public school, as the lack of money restringe her attendance.

  • CCHA school: every weekdays, in the afternoon, Seavmey attends Khmer and English classes during one hour. She is in the second grade class.

  • Family situation: she lives with her parents and her brother on a 14 square meters zinc room house. When it rains, due to the weak house conditions, it gets muddy and the family has to move the only bed out of place.

  • Others: Seavmey family sells a kilogram of chilli in the local market for $0,75. It is their only source of income.


  • Name: Kimsan

  • Age: 11

  • Dream job: Kimsan dreams one day to work in the Army.

  • Daily tasks: Kimsan lives by the care and kindness of Buddhist Monks near Battambang. During the day Kimsan helps the monks as much as he can, washing their clothes, cleaning the pagodas, preparing their food and bringing water from the valley.

  • Public school: Kimsan does not have any money, making him unsuitable to attend public school.

  • CCHA school: every weekdays, in the afternoon, Kimsan attends Khmer and English class during one hour. He is in the first grade class.

  • Family situation: Kimsan is an orphan, separated from his brothers and sisters who live in a province located 200 kilometres away from Battambang. A dramatic story, common in Cambodia.

  • Other: after some small interaction with Kimsan, we could see he is a clever boy always trying to communicate and learn from others. He repeated every word we said to improve his accent.


  • Name: Makara

  • Age:12

  • Dream job: Makara dreams one day to become a mechanic.

  • Daily tasks: during her day Makara does mostly household tasks, like cleaning kitchen tools, washing clothes, among others. However, sometimes Makara helps her family and friends fixing bicycle problems, time well spent, as she dreams to become a mechanic.

  • Public school: Makara's family does not have enough money to allow her attend public school.

  • CCHA school: every weekdays, in the afternoon, Makara attends Khmer and English class during one hour. She is in the second grade class.

  • Family situation: her father passed away some time ago, so she lives with her mother and two older sisters. Her two older brothers do not live with her anymore. One of them moved to Battambang city to work in the construction area, while the other went to the capital, Pnhom Phen, to find a job.

  • Other: Makara lives 2 kilometres away and normally comes to school by bicycle.


  • Name: Sokny

  • Age: 9

  • Dream job: Sokny dreams one day to become a police officer.

  • Daily tasks: during his day Sokny does mostly household tasks, like helping on the clothes washing, food cooking, cucumber collection and mowing.

  • Public school: just occasionally does Sokny attends public school as the lack of money and the need to help with the household tasks restringe his attendance.

  • CCHA school: every weekdays, in the afternoon, Sonky attends Khmer and English class during one hour. He is in the second grade class since October 2017.

  • Family situation: 2 years ago Sokny was forced to live with his aunties. His parents live far away ever since, with the rest of the family, Sokny's two brothers and one sister.

  • Other: he usually comes to school on foot, but sometimes he is lucky to have a motorbike ride from his aunt.


  • Name: Theara

  • Age: 12

  • Dream job: Theara dreams one day to become a doctor.

  • Daily tasks: during her day Theara does mostly household tasks, like washing clothes, cooks, cleans the house and also collects mango and chilli from the family farm.

  • Public school: Theara does not have any money to attend public school.

  • CCHA school: three times a week, in the afternoon, Theara attends Khmer and English class during one hour. She is in the second grade class.

  • Family situation: for some months now, Theara lives with her aunt, since her parents are close to the Thailand border trying to find a job. Once the house is extremely small, Theara shares her bed with two more siblings.

  • Other: she loves to play football, but her dream job is to be a doctor and, for that, she knows she must study very hard! However, the only education she has is through CCAHA school to where she has to walk for 20 minutes to get three hours of class per week.

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