LWB Community Blog

Stories of Hope: Rena

At the beginning of our year-end campaign, we introduced you to 10-year-old Rena. When we first met her back in September, she’d been left in charge of her three little brothers while her mom went searching for work. They’d been sleeping along the Cambodian border on public land after fleeing to escape domestic violence. She told our team that their meager food supplies were now gone, so she’d been taking water from the dirty creek to feed her baby brother. She hoped the water would fill his stomach enough to make his cries of hunger stop.

Both Rena and her baby brother Gregg showed clear signs of chronic malnutrition. Rena’s hair was thinning and discolored, and the baby’s abdomen was distended. Our medic confirmed that the children needed urgent nutritional intervention as little Gregg weighed just 11 pounds at 8 months of age.

Our team returned repeatedly to the border region to make sure the family had the food supplies they needed. On one of the visits, Rena shyly shared that she’d never been to school since she had to serve as her brothers’ caregiver. She dreamed of someday learning to read, and we of course wanted to help her make that wish a reality.

LWB now has two education campuses in Cambodia. We knew our campus in Sokhem Village would be the perfect fit as it also has an early child development center that can care for babies like little Gregg.  There was one major obstacle to that plan, however.  Rena’s makeshift home wasn’t close to Sokhem Village.  We knew we couldn’t let that challenge get in the way of their health or Rena’s dream.

Hooray for LWB tuk-tuks, the motorcycle school buses which head out to the most remote villages and the landfill to pick up children who otherwise would have no access to education!

One of our wonderful tuk-tuk drivers agreed to make the journey to the border settlement each day so that Rena and her brothers could have the chance to go to school.

Doesn’t she look beautiful in her new school uniform?

And how about her little brother Johnny, who was absolutely thrilled to experience this brand new adventure, especially when he found out our school has a playground.

Baby Gregg is clearly enjoying his time at the Sokhem Early Childhood Development Center as well. His nannies make sure that he empties all of his bottles, and he has now gained significant weight (and energy!) since enrolling.

We could end this story of hope right here….just knowing that Rena and her little brothers are now receiving not only education but also breakfast and lunch through the nutrition program at the school. But it gets even better than that, which happens so often when the LWB community steps forward with kindness.

You see, Rena told the other children who lived in the border settlement that she was getting the chance to go to our school. There were many other children there who, like her, had no access to education.

We know you’ll agree that with everything going on right now during the pandemic, any time there is a chance for MORE LOVE to be shared…we want to embrace it.

So on the first morning that our tuk-tuk driver dropped Rena off at the Sokhem Village campus, he delivered exciting dreams for many more children from the border as well. Soon, they would all have the opportunity to attend school along with Rena!

Children need to believe that someone truly cares about their lives, and the LWB community allows that message to reach children like Rena each and every day.

That’s the Power of Hope, isn’t it? It fills the hearts of children, living in even the hardest situations, with the vital knowledge that they are seen and heard, valued and loved. It transforms lives, and for that…we’re truly grateful.

Want to help more children like Rena receive the care and nurturing they deserve?  Make a year-end donation to our Power of Hope campaign today!

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