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15 February 2021 - Story

Deth's Behaviour Changed toward Family's Wellbeing

Mother of two Srey Deth, 33, smiles as she helps her daughter folding clothes on the wooden bed under their house. She lives with her husband, who makes a living as construction worker in the centre of Peam Ro District in Prey Veng Province in Southeast region of Cambodia-Vietnam border. 

Mrs. Deth, as she recalls the relationship between her and her husband and that it was not good because she was always involved in gamblings such as card games and lottery while her husband earns to support the family. She used to use such word and behaviours in every argument she had with her husband and made her children feel scared and embarrassed in front of the neighbour. Mrs. Deth never used good words to communicate with her family even when she wanted her children to help with household chores- washing dishes or cooking. She used to do any sort of violence to punish her children whenever her children did not help her or disobey what she says. She was poor and indeed paid little attention to her children that she rarely spent time to teach them. She never inspired and encouraged her children to study hard, so they never felt close to her mother.

In 2017, with the funding support from Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Save the Children and local partner, Women Organization for Modern Economy and Nursing (WOMEN) and Village Volunteer established a parenting group in Mrs. Deth’s commune. The project aimed to improve the knowledge of 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. Mrs. Deth was invited to join the group and she learned about raising children in a positive way as well as the impacts of domestic violence. She applied the lessons with her children at home and shared lessons from the meetings with her family. 

Mrs. Deth regularly attended the meeting with Village Volunteers and now she has dramatically changed her behaviour. She has become very interested in how to educate children and to give advice about the importance of learning or education to her children. Moreover, she also tries to rebuild the trust of being a good role model in the family especially commits to withdraw herself from any kind of gambling.  She has more time to take care of her own children after freeing herself from doing those things. She has slightly changed the way she communicates with her family such as using good words to discuss with her husband about their family well-being and children learning. Mrs. Deth stopped yelling or punishing her children anymore and instead, she uses sweet words to ask her children to help with cooking as well as washing clothes.

The schools are now closed due to COVID-19 pandemic, so Mrs. Deth spends most of her time to teach her children at home. She inspires and encourages her children to go to study as a team in their community and she always reminds her children to always protect and prevent themselves from virus. Her children now feel close to her and warmth to stay with her and their relationship has improved drastically. She has always been curious and wondered how her children’s learning is going.          

Mrs. Deth would like all the Village Volunteers (VVs) continue this parenting meeting in the community even the project is phasing out. She would like to see all the parents gain knowledge about positive parenting and especially to help deal with issues such as violence against women and children in the community that they can improve their family’s well-being and happiness.