With four children of her own to raise, life in rural Cambodia would already have been difficult for Heng Ree. But when five of her nieces and nephews were orphaned, Ree did not hesitate to take them in as well.
“The most difficult issue at the time,” she recalls, “was that we didn’t have the money and food to eat.”
It was a struggle that would continue for many years.
“With all the difficulties, I felt very upset and worried,” says Ree. “I had to think a lot – about how to make enough income… and how to raise the whole family.
“I had a very difficult time emotionally.”
Today, Ree is 54 years old. All her life, she has worked hard to support the family she loves so dearly… but, no matter how hard she worked, it has never been enough.
“When Ponleu Ney Kdey Sangkhum created a project, I joined its community,” says Ree.
Ponleau Ney Kdey Sanghum (PNKS) is Baptist World Aid’s Christian partner in the field. Translated its name means “light of hope”. And hope is exactly what the generous support of faithful Australians has given Ree and her family through her involvement with the project.
“I am part of a Savings Group,” says Ree. “If my children are sick and I don’t have money, I can borrow from the community. That’s very helpful!”
Ree also received useful training.
“PNKS has helped educate us,” she says. “They taught us about agriculture, how to run small business, water well construction, and building clean toilet.”
Today, Ree owns a small goods store; grows rice; and raises pigs, chickens, and ducks to support her family. And, while her own four children – now grown up – did not get to finish school themselves, Ree is hopeful that her two nephews and grandchildren will have the opportunity.
“I work to earn money to send them to school,” she says. “I do that because I want to see them educated in the future.”
Your gift means mothers, aunts, and grandmothers like Ree can do everything in their power to support those they love… what an amazing legacy!