Rice Donation Benefits Financially Struggling Family of Ten

baray district, Kompong Thom province – Outh Sok’s family of 10 was having the first meal of the day in the blackened kitchen of their wooden house when the 400-kg rice donation provided by The Cam­bodia Daily Rice Crisis Cam­paign arrived Thursday morning.

“I don’t have money to buy ingredients. Every day I make this food,” Outh Sok’s wife, Pin Meoun, 51, said, while the family shared a few plates of rice, small fried fish and tamarind sauce.

“I am very happy that your organization helps me; this rice will help my family for a while,” Outh Sok, 47, said. “We ran out of our rice four months ago, and I had to borrow 50 kg of rice. We have had a difficult time,” he added.

The family has been eating only two meals per day after their stock of 500 kg of paddy rice ran out, Outh Sok said, adding that he be­lieved the donation would provide food for five months.

His family cannot live off its land because he and his wife were allotted a small plot by the communist government when they married in the 1980s, Outh Sok said.

Their situation became more difficult recently when their 1-year-old daughter started to suffer from a respiratory illness, Pin Meoun said.

“My baby is too small; she is of­ten sick,” she said, adding they spend $12.50 per month to treat her at a private clinic.

One year ago, their 24-year-old daughter went to work in a factory in Phnom Penh, but this additional income cannot cover the cost of the medical treatment, Pin Meoun added.

Outh Sok used to make rattan handicraft products until an inc­rease in the cost of nails and rattan vines earlier this year priced him out of his craft. He now works as a day laborer, earning about 12,000 riel per day.

“This family is the poorest family in my area,” said Sao Eoun, one of the local leaders in Ku, a village of 350 families about 150 km north of Phnom Penh. “I think it is the right family to receive this rice.”

“I was surprised when you brought the rice; the first time you talked to me I never expected to get anything from your organization,” Outh Sok said, referring to an interview he gave The Cambodia Daily for a June Rice Crisis Cam­paign article. “Tonight I want to cook the rice and taste how it is different from the rice in the village.”

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