There is an intuitive correlation between a parent’s ability to provide food, income, and a home for their children, and a child’s ability to attend and perform well in school. Peaksneng Thormacheat Shop manager Rey Diaz documented this correlation recently in an informal survey of families Peaksneng Thormacheat Shop assists.
Rey interviewed 17 families and 34 children. The families are involved in various Path stages including Strengthen Health, Earn Income, and Improve Home. Out of the 34 students Rey spoke with:
- 85% of the students had not missed a day of school for at least 1 month.
- Mean attendance for the past month was 99%.
- No student had lower than 90% attendance in the past month.
The students Rey spoke with attend either Simdan High School or Peaksneng Elementary School. Average attendance at Simdan is 77% and at Peaksneng Elementary School only about 50% of students attend school each day.
This research confirmed what Rey already observed living in Peaksneng. “In most families there is a lot of pressure on all family members to help with basic needs,” explains Rey, “so children miss school to help with farming, looking for food, catching fish, and other activities for basic needs. If it is really bad you can even see young people, like 13 or 14 years [old], going to Thailand to look for seasonal work.”
Rey explains that, for him, education is the ultimate goal of all Peaksneng programs, “For example, we say the garden is our Strengthen Health Path step, but really the garden provides food and income for the family to enable the child to go to school. With Earn Income, too, we really want that family to have income for their children’s school needs.”
Rey’s observations and research are in line with Better Lives’ commitment to Holistic development. His dream is to continue expanding his programs to assist more families and to provide more robust support to each family. Specific plans including assisting more families to start vegetable gardens, expanding the local vegetable market to enable families to sell their produce, and building more affordable housing in the area.