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Hand-in-Hand (Cambodia)
Child's Story

Strive for Self-improvement

Rith is a 14-year-old student in the 9th grade. When he was just 3 months old, both of his parents passed away due to illness. Since then, his grandparents have taken on the responsibility of raising him. They have taken great care of Rith and have always encouraged him to study hard. Rith 's older sister even gave up her own education opportunities and left their hometown to work in a factory in Phnom Penh to support Rith 's schooling.

With the strong support of his grandparents and sister, Rith has been working hard and consistently ranks at the top of his class. He plans to become a teacher when he grows up and hopes to eventually transition to a government job with opportunities for advancement. However, as his grandparents are getting older and experiencing health problems, they worry that they may not be able to provide enough resources to help Rith achieve his dreams.

Optimistic Boy


Mut is 18 years old and is currently in the 9th grade. His parents divorced some time ago, and his father has moved away from Khandal Village and is no longer supporting the family. His mother makes a living by fishing. Their family is classified as low-income and they have debts to pay. Due to the small size of their home, Mut sleeps at his grandparents' house next door.

Mut loves to study and performs well academically.  While he wanted to become a doctor, his family’s financial struggles have made it impossible, for his mother was not able to afford his education any further.  As a result, Mut now hopes to complete his studies up to the 9th grade only, so that he can start earning money to support his family earlier.

Mut is optimistic and feels content as long as he has sufficient food.  Moreover, he is also a well-behaved boy who values the opinions of his grandparents and mother.

Hardworking Child


Sarann is now 14 years old and in 7th grade. Her mother is pregnant and working as a construction worker in Phnom Penh together with her 15-year-old sister, while her father often works in other parts of the village and rarely comes home. As a result, Sarann and her 13-year-old sister, who is in 4th grade, live with their grandparents.  Her uncle who is ill, a cousin who works in the rice fields, and two younger cousins who go to school stay in the same household as well.  Sarann's uncle is unable to afford medical care, so he always needs to stay at home.  The three households rely mainly on government subsidies and Sarann's mother's income to make ends meet. 

Sarann is physically weak and had to be hospitalized earlier, which caused her to miss a week of school. The doctor recommended that she eat more nutritious food. Feeling that her mother is too poor to afford her education, Sarann only wants to finish 9th grade so that she can start working to support her family.  Despite being frequently ill and struggling with her grades, Sarann, who previously excelled in school, remains determined to achieve her goal of becoming an elementary school teacher through hard work and perseverance.

Passionate about Learning


Davit is currently 11 years old and in the 4th grade. His family consists of six members, including his parents, a two-month-old sister with asthma, an 8-year-old brother in the 1st grade, and a 16-year-old sister who works at a rice mill. His father is a fisherman and farmer who works the night shift at the rice mill. During the dry season, he returns to the village to farm and fish. Their family is classified as a poor household by the government, and their current housing is very filmsy. During strong winds, their house shakes.

Despite his family's financial difficulties, Davit performs well academically and loves to study. He hopes to complete the 12th grade and find a good job or work as a volunteer like those at the "Hand-in-Hand" organization. He does not want to become a construction worker or pursue a career like his parents. When the possibility of dropping out of school early is mentioned, he cries, so his parents try their best to help him complete his studies successfully.

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