Srey Hang is a 15-year old girl living with her extended family in a typical Cambodian house on stilts, 10kms from the Thai border. She was born with extremely shortened arms, no hands or fingers and an absence of lower limbs, making her dependent upon her family for washing and hygiene, feeding and general mobility.
Srey Hang writes using the short stump on her right arm and her chin. In spite of the difficulties of getting to and from school, her teachers report that she is an outstanding student.
She frequently didn’t eat or drink before school so that she did not need to use the bathroom as there was nobody there to help her. It was too far for her mother to come to the school to pick her up and take her home each lunchtime. Going to high school to achieve her dream of being a teacher looked impossible.
At the Thalidomide Society AGM in 2017, we told Society members about Srey Hang and held a raffle and an auction to raise money to help her. We were astonished to receive almost £8000 including some one-off, extremely generous donations and now, just eight months later, this is how the money has been spent to help her:
We have purchased two light-weight wheelchairs, for use at home and at high school, and a tuk tuk for her to travel between home and school as well as funding a carer to assist her during the day at school.
We have assisted in adapting a dormitory room for Srey Hang so she can attend high school as a live-in pupil during the week. We have paid for a full medical check-up for Srey Hang as there were concerns that her kidneys were not functioning properly.
We have funded the purchase of IT equipment, software and IT support to enable her to study more effectively.
So, we are proud to report she started her studies at Samlout High School on 5 November 2017. Without the help of Society members, this would never have been possible.
Srey Hang asked me to pass on the following message to Society members:
“Thank you very much for helping me to get help with my education and health. You have made my life very happy. I wish you all success and happiness in your lives. You have changed my life. Thank you.”