Seven-year-old *Dara lives in extreme poverty. His family struggle to make ends meet, and reside in a small shack made from bamboo and palm leaves.
“Fortunately, his parents are only materialized poor, not mind and heart. They have been taking care of Dara very well and try to do everything to ensure he has a better future,” – Salin Loeum, Dara’s teacher.
Dara first attended Human and Hope Association Cambodia in 2018 as a preschool student. Just a few minutes into the first class, Dara ran out of the classroom and hugged his mother, bursting into tears. His mother, eager for Dara to have the education she was never afforded, stayed with him in class. She stayed with him for two months, until finally, thanks to persistence from his mother and teacher, Dara stopped crying when he attended class and began looking forward to attending independently.
Dara soon became the top student in the class, catching up with his lessons quickly, with his intelligence shining through.
“One Friday, I taught Dara about being a good child and do what he possibly can to help his parents. Then on Monday next week, he told me that he helped his mother by cleaning the dishes and washing his clothes by himself. I asked his mother about this and she agreed that her son helped her a lot at home. One day I went to his house to invite his parents to join our domestic violence workshop and he saw Dara cleaning his clothes in front of his house. What a smart and helpful son!” Salin Loeum, Dara’s teacher.
Dara graduated from preschool and transitioned to public school, which runs for half a day. He continues to attend HHA Cambodia for Khmer language lessons, and is coming top of his class.
“This result couldn’t have happened without the support of his parents as every day they always bring him to school, check his notebooks and encourage him to do homework and study at home. I am so proud of Dara and his family,” Salin Loeum, Dara’s teacher.
When you Walk to Cambodia this April, keep Dara and his classmates at the front of your mind.
*Name has been changed for child protection purposes