Our 4th House Build

Written by Claire Schnackenberg

On Monday 18 May a severe storm hit Siem Reap damaging many homes and buildings. Sreylep, one of the girls on our program, lost her home when it was completely destroyed in the damaging winds and rain. Their house was only made of wood and palm leaves, not much protection against the elements, let alone a powerful storm.Sreylep’s mother phoned Free To Shine early Tuesday morning to tell us what had happened. There were 10 people living in her house when it was destroyed by the storm; Sreylep, eight siblings and her Mum.

Their neighbours and friends helped to clear the rubble as the family came to terms with losing their house. Construction on the house started almost immediately, and soon enough plans were being drawn up, concrete posts were in the ground and the house was well on its way to being finished.The support and help from the community was a major factor in building the house, many giving up their time and effort to help the family. Sreylep’s cousin works as a builder and was happy to help with construction for no fee. He still had to earn enough to support his own family and work during the day, but he often worked on the house in the evening and his days off.

Sreylep’s water filter was also broken in the storm and the EOOs had great fun teaching her how to filter water and the importance of drinking clean water to their health. Her family use it every day and are putting their new found skills to good use. She now has a safe place to keep it, in her newly built home.Sreylep has implemented the lessons on cleanliness and hygiene the EOO’s have taught her into her everyday life, saying; “I brush my teeth two time per day, every morning and at the evening, I wash my hand regularly with soap before I having a meal.”Their house took around three months to build and was finished on the 14th of August. The rainy season in Cambodia from July to September and Sreylep’s mum was concerned that the rain would stall construction, but by the end of August, the family were safe and dry in their new home.

Our EOO’s are always excited to go visit her and her family and see how they are enjoying the new house. Sreylep has been making sure her house is clean and tidy for her mum and eight siblings as they make mats and baskets to replace the ones lost or damaged in the storm.Throughout all this, Sreylep has kept going to school, and is doing well at Khmer, maths and science.Sreylep felt so happy and would like to thank Free To Shine for caring about her health and her family’s health. Our EOOs are so proud of Sreylep and the work that has been done to create a safe and secure house for her and her family.