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17 December 2019 - Story

Caring for children at home is the responsibility of both mothers and fathers!

Mr. Visai is a 37-year-old father who lives in Peam Ro District in Prey Veng Province Cambodia. His community is located in the southeast corner of the Cambodia along the banks of the Mekong River, just before the river flows out of Cambodia and into southern Vietnam. Mr. Visai and his wife, Mrs. Sreyoun, operate a small family business serving breakfast every morning to people in their community. Mr. Visai and Mrs. Sreyoun have two children: Solika their daughter is ten years old, and Dalux is their five-year-old son.

Mr. Visai actively participates and helps to lead the community parenting sessions established by Save the Children’s First Read project. He is one of the core parents in the group, and has become a role model father in his community. 

In 2014, while his wife took care of the family business, Mr. Visai joined his first parenting session and was introduced to the concept of Early Childhood Care and Development. Immediately, he felt very inspired by lessons from the session, particularly what he learned about supporting children’s holistic development as an investment for their future. At the time his daughter was five years old. Mr. Visai started to join the sessions regularly, and began applying what he learned with his daughter at home.

His first step was to start reading books with his daughter Solika. He explained, “[She] was happy and interested in the pictures in the book and the sounds which I made to represent the animals. She laughed and asked me a lot about the book.”

He later started to teach Solika the letters and numbers by playing games and using daily activities as opportunities for teaching and learning. For example, he started talking and asking questions to his children as much as possible when they were at home during the day; in the evening they would practice counting numbers, and before bedtime they would read books together or Mr. Visai would tell a story. He also shared these parenting lessons with his wife and his mother-in-law so that they could do those activities at home as well.

I was selected to be a core parent in this village in the same year that I joined the project. I wanted to join the parenting sessions in order to be more knowledgeable… I could ask questions to the other group members and the facilitator when I had any concerns about taking care of my children. I think that teaching children at home and [raising] them to be good people in the community is not only my wife’s task, but as a father, I also have this responsibility,” said Mr. Visai

Even though the project is over, Mr. Visai feels positive about everything he has learned. “Now I still continue these activities at home with my daughter and my son who is five years old. [We] sing children’s songs together, read books together, I tell them stories and play some games with them to improve their math and Khmer language [skills].This time with my family, especially with my children, is very important to me because I can teach my children and build good relationships with them,” he said.