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2 March 2021 - Story

Channach’s Behaviour Changed toward Family’s Happiness

While helping his young children read a baby book, 39-year-old San Channach happily tells us about his experience with male engagement meetings organized by Save the Children.

“Before, I thought that taking care of children and household chores was my wife’s responsibility. Because I was busy earning an income to support my family, I thought I did not need to care about this stuff.” 

Mr. Channach and his wife have three children: two boys and one girl. He makes a living as a construction worker in his village, which is located about 20 kilometers from the nearest major town, the provincial capital of Kampong Cham. He and his family live in a one-story house, built around a bamboo frame, roofed with galvanized iron, and supported by wooden columns. Mr. Channach is the only one earning income to support their living because his wife just gave birth to a baby boy one and a half months ago.

With their small income of 10,000 riel per day, Mr. Channach and her family struggled to purchase enough food, which led to conflicts in the family. Mr. Channach would get drunk and blame his wife, often yelling at her. He did not help take care of the children and so was not close to them. Furthermore, because Mr. Channach and his wife had limited education, they were not concerned if children ate unhealthy food and did not enroll them in preschool.

In 2020, with funding support from Save the Children Hong Kong, Save the Children started implementing the Raising Awareness and Innovative Strategies for ECD (RAISE) project within Mr. Channach’s community. In close collaboration with local authorities, the project began establishing caregiver groups to teach them how to take care of their young children at home, including washing their hands and reading books with them. One of the key activities was the male caregiver groups, which helped provide knowledge to men about their children’s development and their role in engaging in childcare to give them the best possible start in life.

After joining several meetings, Mr. Channach began getting involved in taking care of his children. “I spend around one-hour reading books for my children.” Mr. Channach continued, “I also learned how important it is to raise children in an appropriate way.”

Knowledge about male engagement in childcare and child development has shaped Mr. Channach’s view of his family role. He is transforming a conflict-ridden family into a prosperous one by being a more caring husband and father. He takes time to positively impact his children by reading to them and playing with them every day. He is taking responsibility for housework so his wife can have time for their newborn baby and their small children. Mrs. Si, too, is gentler toward her children, hitting and scolding them less and teaching them good hygiene.

“Before, convincing this family to join the meetings was difficult,” Mr. Nou Ruon,a Village Chief, explained. “But now, they value any meeting invitation, and there are a lot of positive changes in this family.”

Mr. Channach is grateful for the project. “Each meeting is useful for my wife and me in learning about my children’s growth,” said Mr. Channach. He and his wife are happy to see their children become happy, healthy, and learning. He now has a close bond with his children.