Getting around was a challenge for Ohm Saren who has difficulty walking. Then CCF arranged for her to have a modified moto and there’s just no stopping her
Ever since she received her new mode of transport, Ohm Saren can be spotted out and about in her community.
Her distinctive white moto – a Honda Today modified into a three-wheeler – is now a regular sight around her home in Russey village, one of the communities where Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF) works.
Having a means of getting around has given Ohm (meaning ‘Auntie’ in Khmer) Saren a new lease of life and expanded her world.
Suffering an illness as a toddler, she was left with a deformed left leg and struggled to walk very far, leaving her having to pay to be taken on longer journeys.
With a small income of sometimes just $2.50 a day, it was a cost that she could barely afford.
Now, thanks to Scott Neeson, the Founder and Executive Director of CCF, who paid for the vehicle out of his own money, she has a shiny new moto parked outside her home.
Ohm Saren couldn’t be more delighted with her new set of wheels.
“I feel independent and can go wherever I want to now, it’s so easy” she says.
“Before, I could not go far because of my bad leg and little energy.”
Ohm Saren is still getting to grips with being a moto driver and is taking it slowly. Her pace of driving might be a little sedate – she has yet to test the small 50cc engine – but she’s enjoying every second of her new-found freedom.
“I could never afford to buy my own moto,” she says. ‘Thank you to Scott and CCF.”
Ohm Saren, who is never married and gives her age has 45, had a difficult life before CCF.
Her twin sister fell ill, believed to be a form of meningitis, when the girls were three and was left blind, while Ohm Saren injured her leg in a fall at the same time. Her left foot was left twisted and her hip damaged, and she has never been able to walk unaided since, often using a stick for support.
She now earns a living offering ‘coining’, a common Southeast Asia alternative treatment for minor illnesses such as cold, headache and fever, in which a coin or small metal object is rubbed on the skin.
After living with her parents until her mother died and being ejected from the house by her elder brother, she ended up in Steung Meanchey, Phnom Penh, in a tiny rental room.
After approaching CCF for help, Ohm Saren lives in a World Housing home in a safe community.
Being disabled has not held her back. She attends CCF’s adult literacy classes and has enjoyed being back in the classroom, recently graduating from her second class.
Life is good and with her moto on hand, she’s in the driving seat.
“I am happy,” says Ohm Saren, getting on to her moto and heading off into the distance with a cheerful wave.
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