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Dream Big for Vithu Village: Kian

All this week, we’ll be introducing you to some of the children living in remote Vithu Village, a region in western Cambodia which just five years ago was littered with landmines. As the explosive devices have been cleared, an increasing number of impoverished families have moved to the village despite it having no electricity, clean water, or school. Of the 90 children who currently live in Vithu Village, most suffer from chronic malnutrition. LWB has set a big goal to start a primary school in the heart of Vithu Village, including a daily hot lunch program, to make sure the children have the opportunity to receive an education and a nutritious meal each day.

By replicating our proven Believe in Me school model, we can greatly improve the lives of the vulnerable children in Vithu, who are growing up without an education. We’d love for you to be a part of this essential and exciting new project. But first, we want to introduce you to Kian.

When our team first visited Vithu Village to deliver emergency food supplies in late 2020, we immediately recognized one of the children who excitedly ran up to our team. Kian used to be a second-grader at our Believe In Me school in Sokhkem Village. Here’s a photo of him back in 2017.

Kian loved coming to class to learn his letters. He especially loved our hot lunch program since due to poverty, he often went without meals at home.

Two years ago, Kian’s father tragically passed away, leaving him and his mother without any way to support themselves. His mom made the difficult decision to move to remote Vithu Village when she learned that a small plot of land (20 x 65 feet) would be given to her family. It pained her heart to move there, however, because she knew that it meant her son would have to drop out of school.

When Kian saw our director Leng delivering emergency food supplies, he immediately ran up and asked, “When can I go to school again, teacher? My friends want to learn, too!”

He told our team that after his chores, he and his friend just hang out together all day in the village with nothing to do. He said he misses his teacher and classmates so much and dreams of a chance of getting to go to school once again.

Kian’s mom shared with us that she herself was orphaned at the age of 10. She worked to support herself and her siblings by picking rice in the fields, and she said she remembers vividly being taunted for being illiterate. She said it was very painful to grow up feeling despised because of her lack of education.

When she found herself widowed with a young child, life became harder than ever before. She decided to raise ducks in order to provide for her son, but she said each day is still a struggle.

She has been so worried about Kian not getting an education because she didn’t want him to have the same difficult life she has had. She told us that she never dreamed there could actually be a school he could attend, as no one wants to willingly come and live in such an impoverished village. She thought her son’s schooling would be forever stalled at second grade.

When she learned that LWB wants to create a village school in Vithu, just like her son had attended in Sokhem, she began to cry. Through her tears, she asked us to please thank everyone for helping the children in remote areas who rarely have people care about them. She ran to hug her son and told him, “Your life is not ending. You can go back to school and have a new chance.”

The Vithu Village school program will bring a new chance to Kian’s mom as well. In order to provide a healthy, hot lunch to the children in Vithu, we will need to hire two “kitchen ladies” to cook and prepare the meals each day. Kian’s mom has already applied for the job.

Would you like to help bring real change to this rural community? Join us as we dream big this week by making a donation to our Vithu Village school fund. It’s a gift of reading, learning, and nutrition that will last a lifetime.

PS: A generous supporter has offered a $10,000 matching grant! Your gift this week can have twice the impact!

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