LWB Community


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

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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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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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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Mae’s Dream: A Community Learning Center in Rural Cambodia

When we began our work in rural Cambodia, we met with many of the teens and young adults in the region to discuss their personal dreams for impacting the community. One of them, Mae, was a senior in high school at the time. She recently graduated and is now in her first year of college on a full LWB scholarship. Mae is passionate about making a difference for the younger children in her village, many of whom live in immense poverty. She shared with us that she dreamed of creating a community center which would be a gathering space for all the children and youth to come together for positive and encouraging activities.

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Fostering Creativity in Cambodia

When LWB opened our new Believe in Me schools in rural Cambodia, we knew that art, creative writing, and music needed to become a regular part of the curriculum. Most government schools use a rote memorization system, and many of the children had never created artwork before or even seen a crayon. We’re excited to be making an investment in the arts, purchasing guitars and other instruments so the children can begin music lessons at an early age.

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Ary Village: A New School Program in Cambodia

2018 is just getting underway, but we already have wonderful news to share about our third and newest Believe in Me school in rural Cambodia, located in Ary Village. What makes our Believe In Me Ary Village school a very exciting project is that it is in partnership with the local Department of Education. Several months ago, we learned about an old school building which had fallen into disrepair in a region hit hard by poverty. This area has a similar demographic to both our Rangsei and Sokhem Village schools in that many of the children are “left behind” when their parents travel into Thailand searching for work. Malnutrition and illiteracy are sadly far too common.

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Our Top Ten Photos of 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, it is a perfect time to reflect back on the year’s highlights. Every year we go through thousands of pictures taken in our programs to bring you our much-anticipated Top Ten Photos.  As you look at the children’s beautiful faces, we hope you will realize our life-changing work is only possible because of your kindness and support. Please enjoy a few of our Top Ten Photos of 2017 and click here to visit our website to see them all!

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MERCY Youth: Focus on Robert

LWB has provided higher education support for orphaned and impoverished students in China since 2004. When we expanded our work into Cambodia, we knew that higher education support was a program we wanted to replicate. The high dropout rates in this part of Cambodia are primarily due to economic issues. Often, students face intense pressure from parents for their child to drop out of school to earn money for the family. In addition, many rural families can’t afford the school-related expenses such as uniforms, books, and teacher fees, so their children simply can’t attend. LWB is making a real difference in this western region by providing school tuition, tutoring, and mentorship to high school students.

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