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14 January 2020 - Story

“Without violence, parents can improve their family’s wellbeing and happiness in life.”

Theavy is a primary school student studying in sixth grade in Prey Veng Province, a south eastern province near the Cambodia-Vietnam border. She is the youngest child in her family which is made up of her two parents and her brother. Both her parents work as farmers in the village which is located around 12 kilometres from the nearest major town, the provincial capital of Prey Veng. She and her family live in a one-storey house, roofed with imitation shingles made from fibre cement cladding, with corrugated sheet metal for walls, and supported by concrete columns. The family raises a small herd of cattle at their home as well.

Theavy’s mother used to use to violence to punish her. Her mother would shout at her if she did not help with the household chores. Her relationship with her mother was not good, and Theavy felt that her parents did not love her, because they just told her to do house chores. When she had problems, she did not dare to discuss it with her parents because she thought that if she told them they would shout and hit her.  Because of this constant state of fear she felt despondent and hopeless, she lost all interest in school or playing with her friends, and she did not want to stay at home.

In 2017, with funding support from Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Save the Children and local partner, Women Organization for Modern Economy and Nursing (WOMEN) and Village Volunteer established a parenting group in Theavy’s commune. The objective of the group is to train parents on the importance of protecting child from all forms of abuse, and encourage parents to play an active and positive role in their children’s upbringing. At the start of the project, Theavy’s mother was invited to join the group. She has learned a great deal through the group and applies the lessons with her children at home, and shares lessons from the meetings with her family. 

Day by day, her parents have begun changing their words and behaviour at home. Theavy’s mother now uses sweet and kind words with Theavy, and the relationship between Theavy and her parents is now better than before. They spend time to teach her, so she feels close to them and they also inspire her to attend school and study. Theavy helps her mother to do house chores. In the future, Theavy would like to see all parents using positive parenting to raise and educate their children.