The children who attend the Sunshine Centre come from some of the poorest families in Cambodia.
Their parents earn low, irregular incomes and their children are often forced to spend their days collecting recyclable materials, begging at the markets or roaming the dirty streets of Phnom Penh.
In these hazardous conditions they are not only vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, but miss out on the joy and pleasures of childhood. Their parents simply cannot afford to send them to school.
SreyOort is 12 years old. Her parents are separated and her mum works as a builder’s labourer. SreyOort used to collect recyclable materials at the market. One day, a friend told her about the Sunshine Centre.
‘I was so happy to study there,’ says SreyOort, ‘because I could learn all the school subjects including maths and reading and writing Khmer for free! Now the Centre pays for me to attend public school and has bought me new uniforms and school materials.’
SreyOort loves it when she gets to play games and when the staff tell Bible stories. She is learning more about Jesus everyday.
‘I would like to say thank you,’ says SreyOort, ‘thank you to all the grandparents, mothers and fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters who have with a very generous heart supported me and all the others at the Sunshine Centre.’
You can make a difference to children like SreyOort through the gifts you give. For more information see the CMS Christmas Gift Catalogue at www.cms.org.au/giftcatalogue or contact CMS-Tasmania 03 6265 2445. Story and photo courtesy CMS