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22 June 2021 - Story

How the $50 cash transfer contributed to saving the life of a mother and her twin babies

Sitting on the mattress under the metal roof, the 20-year old mother Samphors was holding and breastfeeding her twin baby boy and girl one by one. “I am happy with my twin babies but I have worried about their health since they were eight months of age”, she said.  

Porn Samphors is from Thmar Kaul district, Battambang province. She is the youngest girl in her family of four. She dropped out of school in grade 10 due to her family’s financial difficulties. Samphors was 18-years old and her husband was 20 when they got married. Samphors’ husband also dropped out of school in grade 8.Samphors and her husband live with her parents in a small shelter.

“My husband and my son in-law are workers in agricultural activities in the village but the flood destroyed all crops including my rice field so not many people are needing labour work. I also buy recyclable materials (eit chay). We have struggled to feed the family and to provide milk for the babies. My husband produced mango seedlings too but the price is too cheap so he doesn’t make much money from selling mango seedlings”, said Mrs Nha Kunthea, Samphors’s mother.

Soon after marriage, Samphors was pregnant and she had regular antenatal care at the health center. She was told she was having twin babies and the nurse advised her to deliver at the referral hospital in Battambang province. In the later stage of pregnancy, Samphors showed danger signs of high blood pressure and hypernatremia (high sodium in the blood). Samphors’s family had no food in stock nor money during and after the flood. Her family do not have the ID poor card. So, they were not eligible for government assistance. “I was so worried how I can send Samphors to Battambang for delivery with no money”, said her mother.

Luckily, like other poor flood affected households, Samphors’s mother was told by the village leader that her family was selected to receive the $50 cash transfer funded by ECHO via Save the Children and partner with Hagar and the village leader asked for her phone number and told her to wait for the message and code from Wing. Not too long after, Samphors’s mother heard a sound “Ting!” in her phone, she checked and saw the message and code with $50. “I was so excited to see the $50, it gave me a big release”, said Mrs Kunthea.  

Just one week later, Samphors was feeling sick and discomfort in her body and an early delivery was advised by the local nurse. Immediately her parents sent her to the referral hospital. The $50 was used to cover transportation for the 25km trip from her village to the provincial town. When she arrived in hospital, the nurse told her that she was showing signs of early delivery at the 8th month. Initially Samphors was not able to have a vaginal delivery and was advised to have a cesarean delivery in another hospital. However, the senior nurse asked her to try a vaginal delivery and she pushed herself to do this. “I thought I couldn’t deliver my babies as it was too difficult for me”, she said. Finally, she successfully delivered her baby girl and boy but her condition was weak.

Samphors has been staying outside of the house as the metal roof and walls make it too hot to remain inside. She is beginning to feel better but can’t eat much. She is breastfeeding her babies and supplementing this with formula milk due to insufficient breast milk for the twins. Samphors carries her little baby girl more often as the baby girl is not healthy and needs extra care.

Samphors’s family has also received a WASH kit from the project. The kit consists of 11 items: 10 boxes of body soap, 12 boxes of washing soap, 4 boxes of shampoo, 10 boxes of sanitary pads, 6 toothbrushes for adults and 10 for children,6 boxes of toothpastes, 4 nail scissors, 5 water bottles (20 L water per bottle), 1 small water tank, and fabric and P&G powder to treat the water. “I am so grateful to have the WASH kit from Angkar (organization). I have used clean water for drinking and washing soap for washing my babies’ nappies.  All relief items are very useful for me and my family, thank you Angkar”.

In the future, Samphors wants her babies to be healthy and hopes they will become a government official and teacher when they grow up.