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Friday, September 3, 2010

Being close to medical care isn't enough for Cambodia's poorest families

The live-saving hospital care your dying child urgently needs is just 30 minutes down the dirt road, but it won’t matter today. Even though a doctor can see your child, it won’t matter today. The medicines required to save your child are available, but again, it won’t matter today.

Sadly, the only thing that seems to matter today is that you are poor.

The $25 you need for the trip to the hospital, the doctor’s appointment, and the medicine, is more money than you earn in an entire month! Besides, every penny you earn is spent on surviving day-to-day.

If you were a Cambodian parent living in one of the impoverished villages we work in throughout Cambodia’s Pursat area, the tragic situation just described to you would be your heartache. Your child is dying for no other reason than the fact you are poor.

Families living in rural villages like Toul Kros, Kdei Kvao, and Roleap, need your help today.

Just like here, children get sick. But unlike here, they often don’t recover.

HOPE International Development Agency continues to respond to the needs of families and children by helping them establish Self Help Groups among the poorest families living in a village where we are working.

These groups help families learn how to protect their health, grow more food, access clean water, and start small businesses that will generate enough income to allow each family to build up a savings fund.

Families who belong to a Self Help Group are often able to pay for medical care and expenses using a portion of their savings. If their savings are not enough, they can take a low-interest loan, tailored to their needs and financial circumstances, to pay for medical expenses when they arise - it’s like having medical insurance.

We are also helping families establish Village Health Funds to assist families who are not yet members of Self Help Groups or who need emergency funds greater than the groups can offer.

Village Health Funds are like insurance policies for people who would never be able to qualify for medical insurance - they are simply too poor. When families are in need of medical care, the funds help them cover the costs by providing no-interest loans that can be paid back on a time schedule tailored to the families’ income.

Friend, these families are poor and the need is great. Every day of their lives is a struggle to survive. When parents get sick they cannot afford to leave their fields for even a few days. If they do, there will be no food on the table, perhaps even for a week.

Fathers, unable to earn income locally because they lack the training and financial support required to start and run small businesses, are forced to leave their families in order to seek day labor work along the border with Thailand – a very dangerous endeavor from which many do not return.

Widows fair even worse. Unable to earn a livable income, they struggle to care for themselves and their children - their suffering is immense and relentless.

Please visit today a learn more about how you can save lives in Cambodia.

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