Many of you have asked about the little girl whose pictures and letters decorate our waiting room. Her name is Kunthea and we are proud to sponsor her through the Cambodian Children’s Fund. She is nine years old and before being accepted at CCF she lived with her mom and grandparents in a small shack on the Steung Meanchy garbage dump in Phnom Penh. She helped her mom pick through the garbage to earn enough to eat. Thanks to the wonderful people of CCF she now has a place to sleep, good food, and is getting an education. She also goes home to see her Mom every evening.
The Cambodian Children’s Fund was founded by Scott Neeson, a former film industry executive, who was profoundly affected by the plight of children living in the garbage dumps of Phnom Penh. Such was his commitment that he quit his job, sold his possessions, and relocated to Cambodia to start a children’s center. With the help of donors, the project has grown into several centers that provide shelter, food, clothing, and education for 250 kids between the ages of 5 and 14. ABC News recently reported on their work and you can see a slide show about CCF here.
You can donate to CCF in many ways including making a monthly commitment to sponsor a child. The organization encourages communication between the sponsor and the child and we have had great fun exchanging emails with Kunthea and learning about her life. Those of you who visit our center will have seen the wonderful artwork she has sent us. In fact, some of you have told me that you have been inspired to sponsor a child yourselves.
When Kunthea first wrote to me and told me her story, my heart hurt to think about what she already been through in her young life. She wrote about living on the dump and working with her Mom as a garbage picker. She talked about how hard it was to live without a father and how she had never been to school. She described meeting Scott and asking him if she could come to CCF and her elation when she was given a place at the center. She is studying English, Khmer, Math, Science, Social Studies, Painting, and Home Economics and was thrilled to win an award as the most improved student at CCF2.
By an accident of birth, her start in life was a difficult one and we are so thrilled to be able to play a small part in helping her fulfill her potential. Sponsoring a child at CCF costs about the same as a daily Starbucks here in New York City – it seems like a very small price to pay to have a profound effect on someone’s life, doesn’t it?