Sunshine Cambodia works to release children and their families from the downward spiral of poverty. Our work gives hope to the hopeless and creates the possibility of brighter, better futures for whole families. We seek to provide hand-ups, not hand-outs, teaching, encouraging and equipping Sunshine children and families to turn their own lives around.
The genocidal Pol Pot regime of the 1970s, preceded by decades of civil war and unrest, has made Cambodia one of the poorest countries in the world, ranked 153 out of 194 countries with a GDP per capita of $2,300. In comparison, Australia is ranked 13 with a GDP of $40,800 per capita.
Despite recent socio-economic progress, 31% of Cambodians still live under the national poverty line and more than half of these Cambodians are food insecure. Many children of the poor go to bed hungry at night (read more).
Cambodia is among the 36 countries with the highest burden of child under-nutrition and one of the 33 "alarming" countries for levels of hunger and malnutrition (read more).
There are no government welfare benefits to alleviate the suffering and distress of these families.
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute ... Defend the rights of the poor ..." Proverbs 31:9
PARENT SUCCESS STORY
Mr. Kosal, 38, comes from Kandal Province and like many others from the countryside, came to Phnom Penh to look for work. In 1999, he started as a builder’s labourer, making concrete roads. One year later he married and he and his wife now have 3 children, aged 13, 9 and 2. They rent a small wooden one-room house, a common type of accommodation for many Sunshine families.
Despite working hard, it was not easy to cover daily living expenses or save for the future. It was also hard to support their children in school. They had little knowledge of good parenting - how to educate and discipline their children - and they did not know how to foster good relationships within the family. Neither did they know how to manage their money or supervise other workers.
In 2008, Mr Kosal’s children joined the Sunshine program. At the same time, Sunshine equipped him and other parents with parenting, small business and money management skills. They were also taught goal setting and important life skills.
"Sunshine has helped my children with food and now the food subsidy, good education as well as general knowledge, English, computer and other useful skills. All that support has reduced the burden on our family and allowed us to have time to grow."Mr Kosal
Through his hard work and leadership qualities, Mr Kosal has gone from being a builder’s labourer to a road construction sub-contractor with his own employees and equipment – an old cement mixing machine! He can earn good income now and he plans to improve his business by saving up for a better cement mixer. He even hopes to have his own construction business and hire more workers.
In early 2013 he was elected to be one of the leaders of the SC Community Savings and Credit Group and, with support from SC staff, the Savings Group is running very well.
Mr Kosal is a leader of the Sunshine Community Savings and Credit Group. Hand-outs will never help a community to climb out of poverty. Sunshine actively encourages and supports its families with vocational training and job placement. However, the most succesful venture to date has been starting the Community Savings and Credit Group.
"SC has helped me to grow as a good parent and a good husband. It has helped me improve my business and saving, and I have learnt a lot from being a leader with the Community Saving and Credit Group. I now know how to save and manage my money, how to do simple bookkeeping and how to communicate better with others. The experience I have gained in managing the Savings Group has also helped me a lot in running my business. I can make plans for the future and dream bigger dreams!
Thank you for helping my kids have a better future. May God bless you all.”"Mr Kosal