Lack of Educational Opportunity
For poor families in Cambodia there are two major costs involved in educating their children:
1. The cost of eductation itself
Public education is never "free" but in Cambodia there are extras like exam fees; fees to teachers and even a fee to park your bicycle at school! These "fees" are on top of the usual costs for uniforms, stationery etc. and they exist because education is only partially funded by the government. Parents are required to fill the gap. This makes the system largely inaccessible to poor families.
2. Loss of income
Families with little or no income are forced to prioritise survival over education. Consequently, children end up on the streets working (even at a young age) instead of being in school. Even if a child is fortunate enough to receive some education, it's likely to be short lived. Older children are forced into the workforce from an early age, in order to support their families. This fact is reflected in Cambodian secondary school retention rates.
What a joy to see Sunshine children move from rubbish collection carts ...
... to computer classes.
Sunshine addresses the lack of educational opportunity by sponsoring the children's education, whilst at the same time working with the parents to increase the family's earning capacity. This means the children are not obliged to work and the parents can, increasingly over time, cover their child's education costs themselves and enable them to complete secondary school.