House Builds: Before & After Photos!

The past few months have been busy for Free To Shine! We have successfully finished two complete house builds and one repair.

The first house build was provided to a girl who has been with Free To Shine for over two years. She is a very intelligent and hard-working girl who lives with her mother, father and younger brother. Both of her parents are construction workers and often leave for days on end to find work, leaving the 4th grade girl to look after her younger brother.Before the new house build, the family lived in an old house made of palm leaves and bamboo. Their house was over twenty years old and completely falling apart. The sides of the house were missing large pieces of palm and bamboo and the roof of the house leaked every time it rained. The foundation and support beams were also deteriorating and very unsafe. The mother told us that when there is wind or rain, the family leaves the house and sleeps under the mango tree nearby. This was extremely alarming to us, especially considering the parents are not always able to come home at night, leaving their daughter and her younger brother alone and outside.The family was absolutely blown away when they learned they would be receiving the donation. They have agreed to prioritise their children’s education and promised to take care of the home. The family hired one local construction worker and did a lot of the work themselves to save money on labour. The build went by very quickly, members of their village also volunteered to help with the construction because they were so happy to see this family receive such a life-changing gift.Before Photos:

Most importantly, the new home has much better security with a working door and lock to keep the children safe if the parents have to work late. We will continue to monitor the children’s safety and encourage the parents to do the same.Since the new home has been completed, everyone says they feel so much safer, happier and they love their new home.After Photos:

The second house build was given to a girl who has been on our program since 2013. This student dropped out of school many years ago and planned on finding a construction job to help support her family. Free To Shine worked very hard to explain the importance of education and the dangers of working at such a young age. Fortunately, our social work team convinced this student and her mother to value her education and return to school. She is now in grade 11 and doing very well. She is excited to finish grade 12 and says her dream job is to become a teacher.

This girl in our program lives with her mother and sometimes her brother. Her father passed away many years ago and her mother has since become the main provider for the household. Her mother works as a cleaner in a nearby pagoda and earns around $2 USD per day. Her mother works very long hours to support her family, often leaving early in the morning and returning home well after dark.Before the build, their house was made of wood with palm leaves making up the walls and roof. The house was very old, small and in bad condition. Her house was missing a door, part of a wall and had many holes in the roof. This made living in the home extremely difficult and dangerous, especially during the wet season. The family told us they often went to the neighbours house to sleep, since their home would flood and they would wake up wet from the rain. This also caused health problems for her mother with regular colds that would hinder her ability to work.Before Photos:

The materials for the home were all locally sourced and the labour came from construction workers within the village. This is an important aspect of the program because we want to support and develop as many aspects of the community as possible and using imported materials or labour does not help Cambodia or it’s people. There were also many community members that came and volunteered to help build for this much deserving family.Construction Photos:

After Photo:

One of the most important aspects of this new home are the stilts holding the home higher from the ground. These concrete posts were some of the most expensive material to source but they will make a very big difference when the wet season arrives and their home stays above flood water!Lastly, a house repair was completed for a girl who has been with Free To Shine for 4 years. Her old home was a wooden house with palm leaf wall and roof. The old home did not have part of its wall and does not have a properly working or locking front door. After her mother passed a way, her father did some house repairs but still had many to complete. Free To Shine was happy to help this family complete all of the necessary house repairs for them to be safe!Before Photos:

After Photos:

With all of these exciting house builds and repairs, each family agrees to prioritise their child's education and promises not to remove them from school in order to seek short term employment. We are so thankful for our generous supporters who have sponsored these life-changing gifts.If you're able to provide a new house build or repair, you can do so here.Thank you!