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Empowering The Children of Rangsei Village: Isabelle

This week we have introduced you to just a few of the over 180 children who are attending our Believe in Me Rangsei school in rural Cambodia. The final child we want you to meet is little Isabelle, one of the ten children from the local dumpsite who are now able to receive an education. When we first visited the children at the landfill, we knew something urgently had to be done in order to help change their futures. Nine-year-old Isabelle was one of the first children who greeted us as we walked through what seemed to be a sea of garbage, flies, and waste.

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Empowering the Children of Rangsei: Hot Lunch Program

Over 40% of children in Cambodia suffer chronic malnutrition so serious that stunting and health issues are common. In many cases, the children’s naturally dark hair will turn blonde due to lack of good nutrition in a condition called Kwashiorkor malnutrition.  We’re working to change that number through our hot lunch program in our Believe in Me schools. Every day, cooks at our Believe In Me hot lunch program work hard to produce a nutritious meal for the 180 children who attend the school.  The kitchen facilities they use are very basic, and electricity is unavailable.

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Empowering The Children of Rangsei Village: Sadie and Neil

Yesterday we told you about our free “bus service” which we provide to help children in rural Cambodia reach school each day. Our tuk-tuk service picks children up from villages within a 20km radius of our school. Without this service, six-year-old Sadie would be unable to attend school. Sadie lives with an aunt and her two siblings due to the divorce of her parents when she was very small. Sadie’s aunt works at a local factory to earn enough money to support the children, but the family still struggles greatly to make ends meet.

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Empowering the Children of Rangsei: Trafficking Dangers

Cambodia has the highest rate of child labor in southeast Asia and remains a country plagued by sex trafficking, especially along the border regions. Without a doubt, the term “vulnerable” sadly applies to tens of thousands of children here. Children living in rural Cambodia are at risk of abduction if they walk through the countryside to get to school. Because of this, many parents in remote villages are unwilling to send their children to school. 

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Empowering the Children of Rangsei

Cambodia’s history under the Khmer Rouge was a brutal one, resulting in the deaths of almost two million people, decimating the country’s education system and throwing millions into abject poverty. After the regime was overturned, the school system in Cambodia had to be rebuilt almost from scratch, and countless people grew up illiterate. Life in the impoverished rural villages remains difficult. Many live without electricity or clean water, and a staggering 40% of children under the age of five are malnourished. Impoverished families, struggling to simply survive day by day, often felt education was a luxury they could not afford and had their children work rather than attend school.

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Renewal: Cambodia Foster Care

Spring is here in many parts of the world, and in this season, it’s common to think about new life, new beginnings, and renewing ourselves. I saw a quote for springtime by Bernie Siegel that says, “If you watch how nature deals with adversity, continually renewing itself, you can’t help but learn.” I sat and meditated on the word ‘renew’ and all that means to me, and I couldn’t help but think about LWB and the children in our foster care programs. Each one of them is being renewed or starting over again. The reasons they need a new start all vary, but the commonality is that they all now have a chance to grow and learn from their adversity. I am so glad we can play a part in their transformations by providing them safety, nutrition, education, and love.

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Let the Light Shine

In Cambodia, over 60% of homes do not have access to electricity. In remote rural areas, once the sun goes down at night, people are plunged into complete darkness. Some families choose to use kerosene lanterns, but the risk of fires is high since most of the simple homes are made from wooden planks. We’ve sadly seen many severe burn injuries in children, due to spilled hot kerosene and flames. For children who are old enough to go to school, not having access to electricity can also have a big impact on their studies. Kids often have many chores to do after school before they can think about doing their homework. Once the sun sets in the evening, they have no way to study in the darkness.

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From Helplessness to Hope

When I first started going overseas almost 20 years ago, I encountered an all-too-familiar sight of children begging for money. Like so many, my first inclination was to dig into my purse to help out, but a visit to one particular city opened my eyes to the horrific realities of many children on the street. I will never forget getting out of the taxi and having children who were painfully thin begin to crawl towards me, pulling themselves by their arms. Many of the children’s legs were bent in such completely unnatural ways, and I stupidly asked my guide why so many in this one location were severely disabled. She whispered to me that there wasn’t an orphanage in this region, and so it was secretly known that gangs would pick up any abandoned babies and children to use for begging. To make the children even more pitiful, she told me that “bad men” would break the children’s limbs repeatedly so they’d be more effective beggars.

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Help Protect Cambodian Children From Malaria and Dengue Fever

Without a doubt, one of the most disliked insects on the planet has to be the dreaded mosquito. Did you know it is also the most deadly creature on earth? The World Health Organization states that mosquito bites result in the death of over one million people each year. In Cambodia, two of the diseases seen most frequently in the villages where we work are malaria and dengue fever, and both can be extremely dangerous to children. Dengue fever cases have spiked by more than 130 percent at the beginning of 2018 as Cambodia enters into what is believed will be an epidemic year. We want to do everything possible to make sure the children in our programs stay safe, so this week we’re raising funds for every child to be safely covered at night by a mosquito net.

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Art Contest in Sokhem Village

We have been working hard to get art, music, and creative writing integrated into the curriculum of our Believe In Me schools in Cambodia. To get the parents excited about art education, we recently held our first Believe In Me Sokhem School Art Contest and are proud to announce the winners!

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