Aug 4th, 2022 08/04/22 | Community Stories

A Mother’s Love

Support from sponsors allows us to keep families together and help single mothers like Sor Aun encourage her son to win a scholarship to Australia

Watching her son, Vanneit, depart Cambodia for a new beginning with an international scholarship in Melbourne was one of the proudest moments in Sor Aun’s life.

She had raised Vanneit alone from the age of seven after the death of her husband.

Now she was seeing the culmination of years of hard work and dedication by Vanneit to achieve his dream and the next stage of his transformation from a poverty-stricken childhood to the best university in Australia.

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Vanneit and his mum at Phnom Penh as he leaves for Australia

CCF and the backing of Vanneit’s sponsor, Kelly Kirston, who has been supporting him for more than eight years, have been instrumental in this journey.

“I am very proud of my son,” says Sor Aun.

“It’s not just me but a lot of people out there who are part of this achievement of my son. I am grateful and appreciate every single of the CCF processes that have taken my son this far.”

Sponsorships enable CCF to keep families together and invest in the education of a child like Vanneit, providing the stable life that they need to thrive with safe homes, medical care and family assistance.

Vanneit joined CCF in 2011 after his mother ended up living and working in deplorable conditions on the Steung Meanchey garbage dump.

Under our care, he flourished into an outstanding young leader and standout student at our high school, the Neeson Cripps Academy.

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L: TOP: Vanneit in 2012, a year after joining CCF
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After my son had a sponsor, my family became so much better

— Sor Aun

For a child growing up in one of the most deprived parts of Cambodia, having a sponsor provides a continuity and stability often lacking in their lives.

A sponsor can provide encouragement, friendship and mentorship, which really makes a difference to children who often grow up in chaotic or neglected environments.

“After my son had a sponsor, my family became so much better,” says Sor Aun.

“Vanneit worked hard for both his academic study and extracurricular activities after having support from his sponsor, Kelly. He told me that he got so much warmth from Kelly, who always asked about his study progress and provided mental support.

“He also expressed that Kelly is just like family to him. This is so great to me to have someone who helped my son with his development.”

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Vanneit has excelled at STEM subjects
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Between FaceTime and email we have had a front seat in watching our kid’s growth and progress

— Kelly Kirston, sponsor
Learn more about how CCF’s Child Sponsorship Program works and why people all around the globe highly rate the experience to help.

CCF’s Sponsorship Program gives children the chance to build a direct relationship with someone who believes in them.

“Between FaceTime and email we have had a front seat in watching our kid’s growth and progress, it has been our pleasure to urge him along on his journey,” says Kelly, Vanneit’s sponsor.

Sponsorship positively impacts a child’s development, improving their self-esteem and confidence, and providing the constancy that is often lacking in their lives. Children like Vanneit can blossom with the support, friendship and mentorship of a sponsor like Kelly.

“Without CCF and a sponsor, our family, especially Vanneit, would face a lot of difficulties. He wouldn’t be such a good role model for our family. He would not have got an education,” says Vanneit’s mum.

“I would like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to Vanneit’s sponsor, Kelly. Without her support, I don’t think my son and our family would see this day [Vanneit’s scholarship].”

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Vanneit and his mum at the CCF World Housing community where they live

The sponsorship has brought joy to Vanneit’s sponsor too.

“It is a super rewarding relationship,” says Kelly, who is based in the U.S.

“We have sponsored Vanneit since he was nine years old and now we’re watching him head off to college in Australia with a full scholarship. We are immensely proud of him.”

Sor Aun had a very difficult childhood and lost her own father when she was nine. He was killed during the Khmer Rouge regime, along with six of her siblings. Only Sor Aun, her elder sister and mother survived.

Sor Aun never had the chance of schooling - but she understands the value of education for her son Vanneit and the opportunities it opens up for him, the hope of a better life than she had.

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Your sponsorship will have a huge and lasting impact on a child.

— Sor Aun

Mother and son share a close bond and lived together in a CCF World Housing home in a CCF community. Letting her son go would not have been easy but a tribute to a mother’s unconditional love.

“As a mother, what I do, and always will, is give support to my son as much as I can no matter what,” says Sor Aun.

Vanneit is determined to make his mother and sponsor Kelly proud, crediting both for inspiring and encouraging him to work hard.

“Having a sponsor in my life has made me more courageous because of the support,” says Vanneit.

“I hope to keep a life-long relationship with Kelly and her family. They are such a big part of my life.”

Vanneit and his mum are testament to the power of sponsorship to change lives and reshape a child’s future.

To anyone considering sponsoring a CCF child, Vanneit’s mum has a simple message: “Please do it. Your sponsorship will have a huge and lasting impact on a child.”

The journey is long, but we never tire of these stories of transformation and the difference you make in the lives of these children.
Written by

Kate Ginn


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