LWB Community Blog

Progress at the Sokhem Sibling School

We wanted to share some photos today from our Sokhem Sibling School in rural Cambodia because we’re so excited by the progress being made with this innovative program.

First though, we want to share again just WHY this project is so important and why we believe it’s so critical that the Sibling School continues.

The idea of the Sibling School was first conceived when we opened our primary school in Sokhem Village and realized that many of the students who enrolled were serving as the primary caregivers to their little siblings during the day. The first photos we received from the school showed students as young as first grade holding babies on their laps while trying to master math and their ABCs.

Not very conducive to learning!

As soon as we started our nutrition project, we realized that over 70% of the children here were chronically malnourished, with physical stunting and even lightened hair from severe protein deficiencies (known as kwashiorkor malnutrition).

The physical health needs of the children were obvious. In addition to affecting physical health, studies have shown that malnutrition in children impacts cognitive development as well in areas such as attention, learning, and memory. If we really wanted to provide a comprehensive education program in this village long-term, then we knew we needed to intervene at the earliest stage possible.

The other issue facing these younger babies and children in this rural village was simple safety. Since so many of their impoverished parents migrate to Thailand searching for work, many of the youngest children weren’t always in safe situations. We knew that providing an early intervention school where they could be brought each day would ensure that fewer children faced injuries such as accidents or burns, or even the risk of traffickers.

And so the first LWB Sibling School was born. In the last year, we’ve seen remarkable progress. It warms our hearts to know that from the moment our littlest classmates are brought through the doors, they receive healthy nutrition, lots of stimulation and play, and a safe and loving environment to set them on a path of lifelong learning.

The data we’re collecting on this program confirms what we’re seeing firsthand: In October of 2017, 85% of the children enrolled were below the first percentile in at least one measurement. Now, only 33% of the children are.

We are beyond excited to think of the future possibilities for this rural village if every child there can reach his or her full potential. In less than one year, they’re well on their way!

Want to play a part in making sure that not one more child in Sokhem Village ever faces chronic malnutrition again?

We need additional sponsors to ensure this early intervention program continues. You can see some of the beautiful kids like Eve, Kendra, and Alfred needing help at this link, or visit our Sokhem Sibling School sponsorship page to make a general gift.

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