Makara*, an 11-year-old student in our Catch-up Education Programme recently received healthcare for the first time in his life.
Born in Poy Pet, a city in Northern Cambodia, bordering Thailand, Makara only attended school for three years and spent the rest of his time helping his parents, who worked as labourers, to earn a small income. From the age of 6, Makara would lend a hand with tasks such as mixing cement. When he did attend school, lessons were taught in Thai and then translated into Khmer by a translator, making the process of learning that little bit more difficult and time consuming.
Makara’s parents worked hard but for little reward and their employers often paid them the bare minimum if they paid them at all. Because of this, Makara and his family relocated to Phnom Penh in search of a better life with better job opportunities.
Makara’s mother and older sister now work in a factory producing jelly and his father still works in construction. Makara entered ISF’s Catch-up Education Programme in grade 2 in November 2016 and has been making great progress in his studies since. Before ISF, Makara had never seen a doctor because his family just couldn’t afford it. Now, ISF’s healthcare provides him with regular check-ups and he has already benefited from dental care.
Makara has visited the dentist six times since enrolling and has had several rotten teeth removed. Before ISF, he had never brushed his teeth because he didn’t have a toothbrush. ISF’s nurses taught him the importance of basic healthcare practices such as how to brush his teeth and provided him with toothpaste and toothbrushes. The benefit of this is also reaching his siblings as Makara has passed on his newfound knowledge to the rest of his family.
Makara’s favourite subject in school is Khmer literature and he hopes to become a police officer when he grows up.
*Names of children under 18 years old have been changed.