This crisis has had a profound impact on how people live. Since the outbreak of COVID 19, Cambodia’s remote-poor communities have suffered severe economic shocks. We have noticed before the COVID pandemic, the poor families living in the remote areas were already struggling to make ends meet. Some families relocated to search for better economic opportunities. Largely uneducated, many rely on insecure labor to earn an income. Poverty comes from many reasons. It is not easy to break its cycle. It does terrible things to a person and communities because it is not only a lack of resources. It is also a particular mindset. It is not only a state of being but also a way of thinking. – Heng Pisey (AOC Executive Director)
Asian Outreach Cambodia has been working with the Provincial Department of Rural Development, alongside other NGOs to bring attention to water and sanitation issues – focusing on being an embodiment of God’s love through this practical support. Heng shares how every community is different, with different needs and different problems to collaborate on solving, but one thing is consistent: “people want to hear about love!” In addition to water access projects, Asian Outreach Cambodia supports young students in their education through after school programs. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, public schools have been closed. AOC has navigated this challenge and is meeting with students in small groups at home, getting to know families more closely. Asian Outreach Cambodia is proving that when love and community relationships are made a priority, barriers like schools being closed are easy to overcome. It is possible, through the power of young leaders and loving relationships, to break cycles of poverty and leave behind mindsets of scarcity.