Greg Stocker is a veterinarian based in Hamilton who works for AssureQuality. He has been to Cambodia three times but this time it was different. This is his story.
First Visit to Sen Sok
The first time I went to SenSok on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, it struck me how obviously malnourished and unhealthy the kids were. I saw how they lived, the extreme poverty.
Second VISIT TO SEN SOK
The second time, I saw the very first medical clinic, kids covered in sores, quite badly malnourished, lice in their hair, pneumonia, diarrhoea, ear infections. It was just the beginning. They looked ragged, like you would imagine.
A couple of months later, Flame was born and things changed big time.
12 Months later at Sen Sok
Now, Flame Young Adults run the Sen Sok kids club and there are programs morning and afternoon and even a soccer team! Kiwis have donated books and interactive toys for the activity centre to help the little kids development.
The difference was almost a shock. I knew they were the same children, but I couldn't believe it! Bright eyes, clean faces, with footwear, no sores or skin diseases... they look so healthy. They are getting some proper nutrition, they can focus and learn. Just about every kid was locked onto the teacher and completely engaged with their learning. Every kid in the room knows the maths, and they are being taught to read and write - and are motivated to learn and learn more.
The kids are fully on the way to being integrated into what most people would consider a normal upbringing - food, education and good health. They are being taught they have value, that there's a God who loves them, and that is being demonstrated by the service of the Flame Young Adults.
I walked in and thought wow, like night and day. They still live a slum, but they have hope in their faces now, it's written all over them.