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Daughters of Charity Provide Education in Cambodia

In Cambodia, many families move to the city from the countryside to look for jobs. Soriya, whose name means “sun,” her little sister, Chanlina, whose name means “moonlight,” and her family are one such family.  They struggled to earn a living with subsistence farming in their village, so a move to the city of Phnom Penh, held promise.

Moving, however, has created complications for seven-year old Soriya.  In the Cambodian school system, children can only be registered at their local school and many do not allow the children to transfer.  Soriya is hoping for her transfer and is locked in at her home during the day, for her and her sister’s own protection, while her parents go to work.

Having her school papers is only one barrier for Soriya. Another is the cost to attend school. In Phnom Penh, her parents are lucky enough to both find jobs. As city factory workers they earn less than $65 a month – only about $2 day. School fees of $35.00 a month are therefore impossible to afford.

Darang, a thirteen-year old, is also left at home.  He wanders the narrow dark streets in a drug-infested are of the city, collecting rubbish to earn a little money for his family.

Thankfully, the Lindalva Centre, run by Sister Eulie Desacula and the Daughters of Charity, Missionaries originally from the Philippines, help provide families with the support they need. The Sisters, over the past ten years, have made friends with local families – all among the poorest in the city – by making individual visits to their homes. “It’s dangerous for these children to be left all day,” explains Sister Eulie. “So we try to encourage the parents to send their children to our center for schooling.”