I wanted to share a touching story about how important PIO is to the local community. A few months ago we had Sang Vin, 11 years old, brought into our outreach center by his grandmother who was desperate to find a school for her 3 grandchildren Phin, Vin, and Srey Den aged 14, 11 and 7. The children’s parents had come to stay with the grandmother in Phnom Penh to find whatever work they could. With little skill, they ended up collecting garbage from the street to sell and buy food to eat. A month later, the parents left without notice leaving the 3 children in care of the grandmother. There has been no contact with the parents for almost 5 years. Nobody knows if they are still alive or not. The grandmother had little money or support after they left.
The situation became much worse In early 2011, when Vin was hit by a motorbike while he was crossing the street. The driver fled after hitting him and left Vin lying on the street. His leg was broken and he fell unconscious for 3 hours. His grandmother took him to the hospital but she didn’t have money to pay for surgery. She was forced to sell her land to pay for the hospital to save Vin’s life.
Today the grandmother has nothing left for her and her three grandchildren. They live from day to day. She was desperate to find somewhere safe where the children can learn and have a safe place to stay. She heard about PIO in early 2012 and decided to ask if we could take care of her grandchildren. After interviewing the grandmother and children it was decided that PIO would accept the three children to our Children’s shelter and enrol them at PIO’s school.
There was something most striking about Vin that nobody (foreign volunteers or local teachers) had ever seen. At first Vin would hide and cover his leg from the staff. But after a few days the caregiver discovered it and was shocked by what she saw.
Vin had an external metal bar attached to his shin bone. It was installed professionally by a doctor. It was in very bad condition. We asked Vin but he couldn’t tell us what happened. His brother said it was put in temporarily over a year ago when the child was hit by a motorbike and should have been removed after a few weeks. However without money for further treatment, no follow-up trips to the doctor were ever made and the boy has had to live with the temporary appliance for over a year. There is a very real risk of infection or even worse, having it caught on something or pulled off. Without treatment, leaving it could have taken his life or have made his difficult situation even worse. PIO took Vin to a doctor who said we needed to clean his leg every day. After a month we took Vin back and removed the iron from his leg.
I bring this up because almost on a daily basis PIO is approached by families so desperate for help that it is difficult to turn them away. We always have to make a tough decision on whether to accept a child into our programs as our limited funds can only go so far. We are blessed to have the support of people like you to help us help those who truly have nothing. When you sponsor a child at PIO you help families like the Sang family who desperately need a helping hand.
Have a look at the Sang family when they first arrived at PIO and then a month later.