Enough To Get Through the Day: Sambath’s Story

8-year-old Laum, her grandmother Much, and 12-year-old sister Sambath.

Like many families in rural Cambodia, Much relies on subsistence farming to earn a small income and provide for her grandchildren. But it’s rarely enough to keep the hunger pangs at bay.

12-year-old Sambath and her 8-year-old sister Laum are in their grandmother’s care because their mother has a significant mental health condition and can’t look after her children.

Much grows vegetables at home and when the harvest is good, she can sell some at the market to earn some money. When she has enough produce, Much can pay for her granddaughters’ education and buy food for them to eat. But sometimes, she doesn’t have enough vegetables to sell and it’s extremely difficult to put food on the table. Rising food costs are making the challenge even greater.

Much shared,

“I grow eggplant, beans and cassava around the house. I take my vegetables to sell at the market so I can use the money for my grandchildren’s study and to buy some food for my family.

But it’s not enough. We always have a lack of food.””

Then, Much will take her granddaughters to the field and try and catch fish for them. Sometimes Much has to borrow rice from her neighbours so Sambath and Laum can eat. But there are times when Sambath and her sister have to go to bed with an empty stomach. 

Quote from Sambath: "I am sad when we don't have enough food to eat."

Food shortages and a lack of opportunities to earn an income drive many people in Kralanh to leave the community in desperate search of work. Sambath’s brother is only 15 years old, but he has already left home to work in construction in neighbouring Thailand. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Much couldn’t sell her produce in the market and the family faced a food crisis. With schools closed and no food to eat, Sambath and Laum were in a desperate situation. 

But Sambath is sponsored and child sponsorship is working to help her family and her whole community not only survive, but thrive. World Vision child sponsors were there to give Sambath and other vulnerable children in the community critical support in the midst of the pandemic. The emergency food supplies they provided ensured Sambath and others like her had enough to eat during the pandemic, as well as hygiene kits, stationary and other learning materials, and other essentials.

Much and her granddaughters with supplies from World Vision.

Sponsors have also helped Sambath’s family and other vulnerable families to beat one of their biggest challenges – illness from unclean water. Previously, the family collected their water from a well using a bucket and a rope, but the water wasn’t clean. They were often sick with diarrhoea and skin conditions. Sambath and Laum would often miss school because due to frequent waterborne illness, and their grades were suffering. World Vision child sponsors gave Sambath’s family and other vulnerable families a rainwater tank so they could access safe, clean water. Their health has improved greatly and Sambath and her sister can attend school every day. 

Much joyfully exclaimed, “We would get sick with diarrhoea and skin rash from drinking dirty water. My grandchildren would miss school when they were sick, so their grades went down. Since we got the water tank, now we have good health, and the children can go to school every day.

Sambath also added,

“I was so happy when World Vision helped us with food supplies.”


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Written By: 
World Vision