Kunthea's vocation to help the underprivileged
A few months ago, Kunthea, a special needs teacher, joined the team at the PSE Adapted Teaching Section, where she works with children of all ages with mental and motor disabilities. Her role is to provide day-to-day supervision of all the activities in which the children take part, whether during teaching sessions, playtime or outings outside PSE. She ensures their physical and psychological well-being. For Kunthea, this job is a vocation because she has always wanted to work with young people with difficulties. "I want to make a difference and help in a concrete way. When I'm with them and I see them smiling or laughing, it makes me happy. By involving them in adapted activities, these children have a chance to make progress and even develop skills that will enable them to be more independent later on."
Special care for Sokchea
Among the pupils under Kuntha's care is 19-year-old Sokchea, who has suffered from cerebral paralysis since birth, which severely limits her abilities. Her condition requires daily support. Thanks to PSE, the young woman can finally live in decent conditions and receive the attention she needs.
In 2009, around 500 families were forced to leave their homes in a building along the Mekong River. In return, they were offered a plot of land outside the city, but the majority of them did not have the means to build on this land, so they gathered together in tents and precarious housing. The group is known as The Blue Tents Community. In view of the particularly precarious living conditions of these families, PSE decided to take charge of them: schooling for their children, food support, etc. Sokchea's family is one of the beneficiaries.
At the time, the little girl lived with her two parents and six brothers and sisters. Only the father worked, as the mother had to stay at home to look after Sokchea. Over the years, they have accumulated a lot of debts, and the children have fallen far behind at school.
So the siblings joined the PSE remedial school, and Sokchea the Adapted Teaching. They could also stay locally in a dedicated hostel, which had closed since the Covid-19 health crisis. Her mother, who used to visit from time to time, no longer wanted custody of her daughter, and her father left the family to remarry another woman. There was no question of PSE abandoning Sokchea, so a host family was found as a matter of urgency. She has stayed with this family ever since, receiving all the love and attention she needs. Kunthea, her teacher, explains her activities: "Sokchea can't speak and has difficulty hearing. So I try lots of things to interact with her and stimulate her as much as possible, such as music, films, pictures, talking to her continuously or using lots of gestures. I can tell she enjoys the sensory therapy room and the physiotherapy sessions!"