Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

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Seila, aged 15, was born into a poor family in rural Cambodia. Both is parents are farmers who work hard to earn just money to provide for Seila and his younger brother. Like other boys his age, Seila is cheeky, curious and enjoys spending time outside playing with his friends.

When Seila was nine years old, he developed a cyst on hip that caused him lot of pain. His mother took him to the local hospital so they could remove it.

Selia pictured with his mother and younger brother.

After the surgery, he still experienced him pain which radiated down his leg, weakening it and making it difficult for him to sleep and walk. For a while he used a crutch to help him walk but was too big and hurt his arm.

Because of this, Seila was unable to walk or ride his bike to school 10km away from his home. He relied on his friend to pick him up on his bike and take him to school. Over time his attendance dropped and, academically, he fell behind his classmates.

“It was unacceptable to me. I cried when the doctor told me that he would not be able to walk normally,” said Seila’s mother, Soksan, tearfully.

ChildFund Cambodia believes every child and young person has the right to equally participate in society and live with dignity and respect.

ChildFund provided financial support for an operation to correct his hip and leg pain. This was part of a project to support children living with disabilities to be able to access the healthcare they needed. Despite this, his leg never fully recovered.

“Knowing that one of my legs might not be able to function normally made me both afraid and sad. I experienced discrimination at school, my friends no longer want to play with me, and they act rudely when I ask them to buy me a snack at break time. They occasionally mimic me,” said Seila.

The Disability Empowerment and Education Project (DEEP) run by ChildFund advocates for children living with different types of disabilities. ChildFund uses a questionnaire as part of the project to identify children who live with either a physical or intellectual disability.

Then parents, teachers and community leaders take part in a training on how to best support those children through education and making sure the community has the infrastructure needed to make it accessible.

Selia walking to school with the aid of his leg brace.

The project also gave parents and kids with disabilities the chance to meet with local officials so they could talk about or request assistance from them directly.

“My son might not have been able to walk again without the project,” said Soksan. “Last year, through the project I joined a community forum, and they supported me to get the brace for Seila.”

“Now, there is far less discrimination against other people with a disability. My friends know more about my disability and how to support me. They even encourage me to attend class every day. They tell me not to give up because I can achieve anything anyone else can,” said Seila

With the aid of a brace, Seila can now walk on his own and feels more valued by his community and hopeful about the future.

“Now that I’m going to school more, I studied better and placed sixth out of 28 students this year. I want to be a teacher when I grow up so that future generations, especially those living with a disability, can benefit from education as I have,” said Seila with a bright smile.

Learn more about our work in Cambodia.

It happens every year – you make your New Year’s resolution, stick to it for a few days, and then, despite your best intentions, completely forget about it until next year. So, how about upgrading your New Year’s resolution this year? it’s time to choose a more meaningful goal to work towards!

This year, choose a goal that can help you and others and that you’ll enjoy – take a look at some of our favourite New Year’s resolution ideas for 2023.

What makes for a meaningful New Year’s resolution?

As the name suggests, meaningful New Year’s resolutions are those that are more helpful than your standard health and self-betterment New Year’s resolution ideas. These New Year’s resolutions not only improve you, but also the rest of the world.

A new charitable commitment such as fundraising, donating monthly throughout the year, or purchasing one of ChildFund’s Gifts for Good, is a fantastic New Year’s resolution idea. You can simultaneously work on your fitness and giving goals by signing up for a fundraising marathon or fitness challenge!

What are some meaningful New Year’s resolution ideas?

Here are a few of our top ideas for a meaningful New Year’s resolution in 2023:

1. Donate monthly to a charity that aligns with your values and ethics

What have you been into this past year? Maybe you’ve always loved cars, gaming, travelling, or spending time with friends. Perhaps you’ve even taken up a new hobby, like baking, running, or reading. Or are you more passionate about raising awareness of specific causes and events?

Whatever you care most about, there’s sure to be a charity that matches your own ethics and values. For example, here at ChildFund, we work in partnership with children, local organisations and communities to respond to humanitarian emergencies, make lasting change, and always promote children’s rights in alignment with Global Goals.

When you donate monthly, you can help provide a reliable source of income for a charity. This monthly donation means the charity can work on more significant projects, like building schools and helping more people, rather than just seeing what they can do every day.

This will be a meaningful New Year’s resolution that lasts all year.

2. Start a fundraiser – fundraise with Facebook

Now that the holiday season is nearly over, many people start planning and looking forward to the next big event in their lives. So, why not incorporate your celebrations into your New Year’s resolution?

Starting a fundraiser on Facebook can be a great way to get the buzz going around the event. You can remind your friends and family regularly by sharing or commenting on the fundraiser, and you can create a hashtag and start a group. Start your ChildFund fundraiser today!

3. Gifts for Good – switch out giving physical gifts

We’re all bored of socks, right? So, if you’re stumped for Christmas, Valentine’s day or birthday gift ideas next year – whether for yourself or someone else – why not give or request one of ChildFund’s Gifts for Good instead?

Our Gifts for Good range allows you to help provide things such as food for a month, a dairy goat, a handwashing station, a mosquito net or a dozen chickens to families and communities around the world. These presents truly are gifts that will keep giving for so many people.

4. Bequests and gifts in wills

It’s never too early to set up a gift in your will or bequest for a charity. When you know that you have a charity bequest or gift set up in your will, you can be confident that your money will go to a good cause, whatever happens in the future.

There are several ways that you can do this: a personal decision, a residual gift, a specific gift, or as an asset. A residual gift is the most effective option. This is where you set out a certain amount of your estate that you think is right, but you can still provide for your loved ones. You can also specify a specific amount. This amount will not grow or change unless you update your Will later.

You can leave an asset, too. An asset needs to be clearly described in your will. With your will being an important legal document, these options will require the help of an Estate Planner or Legal Practitioner. Alternatively, you can use an online will writing service like the Australian company, Willed.

There’s also the less complicated option of simply letting your family and friends know that you want to leave a gift for a children’s charity. Whatever option you choose, you’ll be making a big difference for years to come.

Updating your will as a meaningful New Year’s resolution is a fantastic New Year’s resolution to make, having a significant impact on the lives of those in need for years to come.