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“I want to learn and have the same opportunities as other children.”

“It is only 700m to my school, but it takes me almost an hour to get there,” said 12-year-old Chhai Ny a first-grade student at Muslims Language school in the Chhluong District.

Chhai Ny is a bright, energetic boy. Like his peers he likes to play and go to school. But at the age of 9 months, he fell ill and suffered a seizure.

Chhai Ny’s grandmother, 64-year-old Marn Teyas said: “My grandson was just like any other child until he was about nine months old. He had a fever and he needed to stay at the hospital for about three months. After that experience, he could not walk properly.”

After the seizure, he lost mobility and sensation in his feet. As he grew up, he became used to using his knees to get around his home and his village. Sometimes there are sharp rocks or objects on the ground which can make walking painful, and he can become injured. This also makes his clothes dirty and means he wears through them faster.

Chhai Ny and his family.

Despite the difficulty he has moving around, he isn’t deterred and is determined to go to school. “He wants to go to school and learn. No one forces him to do that,” said his grandmother.

“I like studying because I want to learn and have the same opportunities that other children my age have. At school, I can also meet and play with my friends,” said Chhai Ny. At his school he learns Arabic and learns more about the cultural practices.

Chhai Ny relies heavily on the support of his family to move around and is particularly reliant on his uncle. He wants to be more independent, but his limited mobility makes this challenging.

ChildFund Cambodia recently donated a three-wheeled bicycle. Speaking with a smile on his face, he said: “I am so happy to receive the three-wheel bicycle, which I never thought would be built for someone like me who lives with a disability.”

“I was happy when my Chhai Ny got this bicycle. My grandson has wanted this for a long time, but with our income, we just couldn’t afford it,” said his grandmother. 

“Now that I have this bicycle, I can go to school by myself, ride around the village, and be able to play with friends. My grandmother and aunt will have more time to generate income and worry less about how I will get around,” said Chhai Ny.

Every child has the right to an education. With the bicycle and this support from ChildFund, Chhai Ny is more independent, can get to school faster and easier and have fun playing with his friends.

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