Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

When planning our trip to visit my daughter Rachani’s biological family, we decided it was also an ideal time to meet the child whose life chances have been changed by our support.

Sophall, who lives with her family in the small community of Svay Thum, seemed at once both delighted and confused by our arrival, but when given her mother’s approval quickly opened the small pack of goodies we had brought along especially for her. She eloquently answered the questions asked of her, seemed bemused by the sight of one of her sponsors being a Cambodian girl just like herself, and was eager for a girl-to-girl chat when the two scampered off to play at the edge of a nearby pond covered with flowering lotus plants.

Though they had no language in common, I looked on as the two little girls touched the sensitive weed with the tips of their shoes and watched fascinated by its reaction, chased butterflies together, and stretched themselves to their limits as they attempted to reach the unreachable flowers growing on the pond.

While they played, Sophall’s mother chatted to me through a translator about her life in Cambodia. She expressed her thankfulness for the work being done in her community – including improved access to water through a new well and health education initiatives that have improved the quality of life for her family. She also spoke of her hopes for the future, particularly the benefits that a school and education can offer her children. All things which are taken for granted as their rights by my own family.

Finally, it was time to call the girls in from their play in the sun and to say goodbye to Sophall. There were smiles and best wishes all around – from the community members who had come to meet us, and from one mother and her daughter to another mother and her daughter.

At the day’s end, and after an exhausting but thrilling 6-hour journey by 4WD, it was impossible not to feel the sense of self-gratification and happiness that comes from witnessing the differences being made to the life of this little Cambodian girl.

When the Khouzam family lost their brother Mark they wanted his memory to live on by helping a community for years to come.

As Mark was a supporter of ChildFund Australia for well over a decade, it seemed clear this was his favourite charity and a good organisation to leave a legacy with.

Together the Khouzam family agreed to fund the construction of the Don Phong health clinic in a rural community in Vietnam (Don Phong commune is located in Bach Thong distict, Bac Kan province), which would service more than 2,100 people in the community.

The most striking part of the project for the family was the construction would last for generations so Mark’s Legacy would live on in the community.

The Don Phong clinic opened in August 2010 and sisters Marcelle and Mimi (pictured above in black) were some of the family who attended the opening ceremony.

Marcelle said visiting the clinic provided closure. “While it was emotionally draining, it was wonderful be in the community as it was exactly what Mark would have wanted,” she said.

Some of the staff met Marcelle and Mimi and told them that even though they had been working there for six years this was their most important day. Nurses were crying and hugging the sisters, and told them that Mark was now a part of their community.

It was quite exhausting emotionally for the family, but they said they felt a sense of release and closure they didn’t have before.

We’re finding leaving a bequest to ChildFund Australia is becoming more common. If you would like to leave a legacy contact our Bequest Officer to discuss your wishes.