Although our education programs are still officially closed, we do have about 100 very vulnerable children coming to M’Lop Tapang’s center for daytime care support right now (hygiene, nutritious meals, health care, recreation).
This morning Chamroeun*, a little seven-year-old boy, was in a classroom drawing pictures with some other children. The staff in the room noticed that he could barely keep hold of his coloring pencils and couldn’t focus on the task very well. The teacher sat down to talk with him and learned that although he did have some ‘bor-bor’ (porridge) at our center earlier in the morning, Chamroeun was still very hungry because he, his six brothers and sisters, and his parents had almost nothing to eat at their home last night. The nine of them had only three packages of instant noodles to eat between them.
Like many of the families M’Lop Tapang works with, Chamroeun’s parents have seen their incomes decrease dramatically in the last few months. A survey conducted by out teams in May, 2020 following the onset of Covid-19 indicated that 97% had experienced a decreased in income; 77% reported a greater than 50% decrease in income; and 21% of families interviewed reported having no income. One of the biggest impacts on families has been lack of food security. Sadly, children going to bed hungry is becoming a more common occurrence.
Our teams are continuing to distribute emergency food supplies to local families. Since the Covid-19 pandemic began our teams have delivered more than 13 tons of rice (along with other food items). The teams had already been providing supplies to Chamroeun’s family but will increase the amount and frequency from tonight, something we have had to do with many families. We also know that providing food supplies cannot last forever so we have also been increasing our efforts in trying to assist families in finding ways to earn an income independently so that they can better meet their children’s needs.
*name changed for confidentiality