Our 18 years old volunteers Faustine and Sam were recently given a new mission: go with our social officer Viseth to the family visits.
What is it?
The family visits consist in meeting the family of each student of the primary school in order to assess their living conditions. They also enable us to notice potential problems and find solutions so that the child can keep studying. When it is possible, the social workers go with another person to have a more neutral point of view on each case, not forget key elements and of course, feel safer in case of litigation. Each family is visited once a year.
Story of the first visits
“Sam and I (Faustine) have been volunteering in Bayon School for several months and have the opportunity to be part of the family visits. We alternate every day to go with Viseth. It is a great experience because it confronts us to the living conditions of the children we support at the school, and in a general way to the living conditions of a significant part of the Cambodians, much more difficult in the countryside than in Siem Reap where we live.
On the early morning, we go by motorbike towards the villages located within the site of Angkor. Between two and four children are waiting for us at the meeting point ordered by Viseth. Among them, one stays with us all day to go from a house to another one; we call him our “Tour guide”. Once arrived in front of the house, we meet the parents and children and are very well welcomed. Then, Viseth asks questions aimed at determining their living conditions: access to water, to electricity, toilets, building materials for the house, number of children to support… We also focus on the parents’ income, their daily expenses, the bank loans, their possibility to save up or not, their belongings (lands, animals…). We realize the hard reality of their everyday life. For instance, we met several mothers who work at home, making high quality hand-made baskets. They told us that they sell them for 2000 riels ($0.5) each. We were very surprised because we use to see the same baskets sold in local markets for $5 minimum! At the end of the visit, we put heads together to determine if we change the level that we attributed to the family during the recruitment. Eventually, we take a picture of the family in front of their house to keep a record of the visit.”