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A life spent at school vs. A life spent at work

A young girl and her mother sit in front of a hut

Sokhat and her mother, Kohn, sitting in front of their home.

On the outskirts of Siem Reap, Cambodia, 13 year-old Sokhat and her mother Kohn live in a hut made from bamboo and palm leaves. It’s big enough for the two of them to sleep and eat.

For Kohn, life took a sharp turn after living through the war and losing her husband. As she describes, “everything changed after he died.” That’s because Kohn had to sell her rice field to pay for her husband’s medical treatments. And after he passed away, she was left to forge her own path and create a new life for her daughter – a life she couldn’t afford.

“If I had money, I would give it to Sokhat for her to get snacks,” she says. “But I don’t.”

Keeping Sokhat where she belongs

Two young girls eating hot meal at school

Sokhat enoying hot breakfast with a friend at school.

With the help of Plan, life was about to change for the pair. Sokhat was introduced to Plan’s School Feeding project, where she would receive a hot breakfast daily, and a large bag of rice and oil for Kohn to cook at home. It may not sound like much, but for Sokhat, it’s the difference between a childhood spent at school and one spent working in the fields.

“If the program didn’t support my family, living would be difficult,” explains Kohn. “School would have to finish also, because my daughter would have to go out and work.”

But that isn’t the future Kohn wants for her daughter, so the support they receive from Plan makes all the difference, keeping Sokhat in school learning, and providing cooking supplies to keep them both nourished each night.

A future filled with potential lies ahead

A young girl and her mother prepare a meal at home

Sokhat and Kohn cook hot meals at home thanks to the take-home food rations provided by Plan.

After breakfast at school, Sokhat says she feels full and ready to learn. A meal like this fuels her day, helping Sokhat reach her full potential and absorb her lessons on a full stomach. And after school, Sokhat returns home to the aromas of her mother’s cooking stirring through the village.

“I like my mom’s cooking,” says Sokhat. “She uses the rice and cooks vegetables and sometimes fish.”

A full stomach and an educated brain is the best recipe for Sokhat.

“I want Sokhat to attend class and I hope that when Sokhat finishes school, she can choose her job,” says Kohn. “As her mother, I am very proud of her.”

You can help children like Sokhat receive the daily nourishment to keep their brains learning.

A young girl writes in her book in class

Sokhat can concentrate on her studies now that she’s learning on a full stomach.