The families that M’Lop Tapang works with live with daily economic hardships. This was true before Covid-19, but even more so now.
Sophea*, a single mother with two young children, is one of those parents who is having a harder time now to support her family than she did before Covid-19 happened. Sophea earns an income by cycling around the city selling cooked potatoes and taro (a popular snack in Cambodia) from the back of her bicycle.
Like most families we have talked to during a survey conducted in mid-May, 2020, Covid-19 has had a big impact on the amount of money Sophea can make every day. Before, she used to earn around $8USD per day, but lately she has been earning almost nothing. “Now no one buys my food. I just stay at home. No customers want to buy from me because they are afraid of COVID-19.”
As well, because schools and education programs have been closed since mid-March, Sophea’s two young boys, aged 5 and 10 years old, are at home every day now and need looking after. Prior to the closure of education programs, her 5-year old son had been attended preschool classes at M’Lop Tapang’s Education Center. Her 10-year old son, who is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, had been attending daily classes with our Special Needs Program.
Sophea and her children are just one of more than 500 local families that our teams have been providing with emergency food support and hygiene supplies to regularly since the Covid-19 pandemic began. We hope that Sophea’s two children will soon be returning to M’Lop Tapang for daytime care as part of a limited number of high-risk children (education programs will remain closed until restrictions are lifted by the government). Our Outreach team is also working with Sophea now to help her find alternate means of making an income to support her family.
M’Lop Tapang will continue to provide emergency food and other support for vulnerable local families’ likes Sophea’s as we understand that the impact of Covid-19 will not be resolved quickly. We have also made moves to increase efforts to help the most high-risk families develop alternate income generating activities through small business set up ventures. As always, our goal remains to assist parents like Sophea become more independent and able to meet the needs and ensure the safety of their children.
*name changed for confidentiality