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Two Tales from children around the world: Eli and Yi

Every childhood is unique. But have you ever wondered what life is like for a child in need overseas?

In this series we compare the lives of children in Australia with those living in the countries where ChildFund works.

Told through the eyes of children, each Two Tales story paints a picture of the similarities and differences between children of similar ages, in very different parts of the world.

This month, we meet eight-year-olds Eli and Yi.

Eli (left) from the NSW Central Coast, and Yi, from Cambodia. The boys, both aged 8, help their families take care of the animals at home.

How old are you?

Eli: 8

Yi: 8

Where do you live? 

E: Central Coast, New South Wales, Australia.

Y: Chhloung district, Kratie province, Cambodia.

About my family

Who lives in your house with you?

E: My mum, dad and older brother.

Y: I used to live with my parents but I am living with my grandmother now because it’s closer to school. At home, there is my grandmother, grandfather, my aunt and her two kids, and my sister.

What jobs do your mother/father/other caregiver do?

E: My dad is a bus driver and my mum works in an office.

Y: My parents are farmers. My dad also works as a labourer transporting cassava.

Who looks after you each day?

E: My grandmother, auntie, mum and dad all take turns looking after me.

Y: My grandmother.

Do you help your family by doing chores?

E: I put the garbage and recycling out, help to cook meals, help in the garden, put my shoes away, help wash the car, and feed the dogs and cat every morning.

Y: I help clean dishes, make fire for cooking especially when we need to boil water. I also look after my younger cousins and help feed the chickens and cow.

About my home

Describe your village/suburb.

E: I live in a regional area close to the sea. There are about 350,000 people living in our coastal community. We have a few local hospitals, private and public, lots of shops, a train line, sporting areas and many good schools.

Y: There is a river near my house. It is about 10 kilometres away from the town. The village is flooded during the rainy season.

Do you have electricity where you live?

E: We have electricity at home, a television, internet, computers, fridge, oven, stove, washing machine, dryer and dishwasher.

Y: Yes.

Describe your house.

E: My home is built of bricks. It has two levels and four bedrooms.

Y: My house is built high above the ground to prevent it from flooding. The roof is made of tiles and the walls are made of wood. There are two rooms in my house. I have a toilet.

About my education

Are you at school? What grade?

E: I’m in grade 3.

Y: I’m in grade 3.

How close is your school? How do you travel to school?

E: The nearest school is five minutes away, but I go to another school that takes half an hour by car to get to.

Y: I walk to school every day and it’s about 1km away from home.

How many children are in your class?

E: There are seven children in my class. I am in a support class.

Y: My class has 45 students; about 40 students come to class regularly.

How many days of the week do you go to school. How many hours do you spend there?

E: I go to school five days a week.

Y: I study six days a week and four hours a day. Class starts at 7am and finishes at 11am, but I sometimes stay until 12pm because I play football with my friends.

What do you love most about school?

E: I like playing chasings and being in the sandpit with my friends. I like going to the library; we learn coding and are allowed to play iPad games. I like mathematics and I am good at it, so that makes me happy. I liked it when my class ran assembly for the whole school. I also like dress-up days at school.

Y: I like my classroom. I like to stay in my class and read books. During the break I play with my friends.

How long will you stay at school? Until what grade?

E: I will stay at school until year 12.

Y: I want to study until I finish high school.

How could your school be made better?

E: School is a very safe place for me and I feel valued. I like my principal; he knows all the kids’ names and that makes me happy.

Y: If every student helped clean the school, it would be clean. I want my school environment to be clean.

About my health

When was the last time you were sick?

E: The last time I was sick I had the flu.

Y: It was the last few days, when I got a fever.

How far do you have to travel to visit a health clinic/the doctor?

E: It’s a five minute car ride away.

Y: I just stay home and take medicine that my mum buys for me. If it gets worse my mum will take me to the health centre about 10kms away.

Do you worry about getting sick, or about your family members getting sick?

E: No, not at all.

Y: Yes. I feel bad when I have to miss class. I worry when my family members get sick too, especially when dad gets sick because he can’t go out and earn money to support my family.

About me

What is your favourite food?

E: Pasta, chicken and chips.

Y: I like sour soup with pork.

What’s your favourite game? Who do you like to play with the most?

E: I like playing games with my brother and cousins. It could be playing an online game, board game, on the trampoline, or chasings.

Y: I like playing football very much. I play with my friends at school the most.

What’s the best thing that happened to you in the past year?

E: I received an award in my martial arts class. This made me feel really good, because I am very shy. Also I did the Surf Life Saving Nippers program; it was really fun being at the beach and riding on waves.

Y: It was during the Khmer New Year. I feel so happy because everyone celebrates it.

What’s the worst thing that happened?

E: My dog was sick and I was really worried that she would die, so we took her to the vet.

Y: When my village flooded. There was a lot of water around the village. I got so scared because snakes could have come in and bitten me.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

E: I want to be a YouTuber.

Y: I don’t know. But I think being a teacher is cool.

What three things does every child need?

E: Food, friends and family.

Y: A big house, a car and more land for farming.

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