Almost two years ago, Sothor was hit by a motorcycle. Her ankle was broken but, because she is poor and there is no medical safety net in Cambodia, she did not receive any medical care for the injury for over a year. Finally the pain of walking on the broken ankle led her to a South Korean charity, who performed surgery to place screws into the non healing fracture early in 2017. Unfortunately, in May she fell down the rickety step ladder from the one-room shack she shares with her children and re-injured the ankle.
In September, Sothor will have a second surgery to remove a broken screw and re-fix the original fractured bone. She will not be able to bear weight for six months after the surgery. Our goal is to raise money for Sothor so she and her family can move to a ground-level room. We also want to support to the family during her months of recovery. Our hope is that this will allow her to have the best surgical outcome possible so that she can resume the role of breadwinner for her family.
Before her injury, Sothor was barely making ends meet by selling banana and potato fritters from a pushcart on the streets of Phnom Penh. Her second-oldest son, Mongkol, stayed out of school to push the food cart and call out to potential buyers. Even working together, they only earned enough to house the family in a one-room shack and to support the oldest brother in school. Then a local news organization posted the video you see on this page. (You can see Sothor descending the ladder at 8:17 on the video.) The publicity from the video helped get Mongkol and his younger brother enrolled with Friends International, who are providing him with free tuition. The family also received some material donations from viewers which was very helpful, but not nearly enough to meet her upcoming needs.
Sothor’s story represents many themes within the cycle of poverty in Cambodia: domestic violence, single parenthood, and hand-to-mouth survival, where even the meager security of living in an elevated shack is threatened by a simple injury for which the most basic medical care is out of reach. I encourage you to watch the video of Sothor and her family. The subtitles are not written in perfect English, but they tell the story of this very tightly-knit family in a manner very close to their own words:
“Our life, we have to struggle by ourselves,” says Sothor. “We have arm and leg. Even disable person also struggling for surviving. I have hand and leg. I won’t let my son to be a beggar.” All she needs is some help getting back on her feet.Save
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