In the remote Kratie province in the Kingdom of Cambodia, women rise with the sun to cook over fires and follow winding paths to the fields to stoop over rice.
Chickens and cows own the right-of-way on dusty roads that become impassable during wet season. Shoes stay outside the entryways of one-room houses built from smooth, strong wood. Clothes get cleaned in rivers. Faces get cleaned in well water.
This is a place where mothers try to make ends meet by farming rice or cassava, often with their babies lying nearby while they plant, water, and harvest. Having more children means more hands for labor when they grow up, but also more mouths to feed.
What are these photos about?
Little boys and girls with dirty faces often eat only once per day, and 5-year-olds look 3 because of malnutrition. The nearest health centers are hours away, and many women give birth in forests or houses with untrained midwives.
Thousands of women and children in remote Cambodian villages suffer from poor health. One out of every 12 children in Kratie don’t even live to celebrate a fifth birthday. Not much was being done to help. Then Samaritan’s Purse learned about the problem, and started a Maternal and Child Health program in the Kratie province last year to reduce the mortality rates of mothers and their little ones.
We are working in dozens of villages to teach essential nutrition practices. Village chiefs often thank us for being the first ones to come help.
Cooking classes teach mothers to use good hygiene while preparing a meal, how to properly boil rice, and to include healthy items like greens, pumpkin, eggs, and fish in their dishes.
Mothers who didn’t know how to make nutritious meals before are now seeing their malnourished children become healthy. Vicheko, 2, doesn’t have persistent fevers anymore. Rong, 4, isn’t constantly falling down when he walks. And Chandy, 3, is showing more mental alertness.
Samaritan’s Purse isn’t just reaching these villages with health knowledge; we are also sharing the Gospel. Only 1 percent of the Cambodian population is Christian, so the vast majority of the families we work with don’t know the hope of Christ.
Our staff incorporates Bible teachings into the trainings, prays with the mothers, and extends compassionate care to anyone in the village who is in need.
The parenting training teaches about nurture and discipline using Jesus’ love for little children as an example.
The Samaritan’s Purse Maternal and Child Health program is bringing light and life to mothers and their children in over 40 villages in the Kratie province. We are working with women to restore hope as they raise the next generation.
Mothers are creating new, healthy habits, and their children are watching and learning.