When Thorn was 10 years old, she wasn’t going to school. Her family was poor and she spent her days working with her parents, picking vegetables to eat and to sell. Her older brother worried Thorn would never get the opportunity to go to school, so he asked an orphanage in Battambang if Thorn could live there. Believing this was their only hope at giving Thorn an education, her father and brother made the three hour trip from Poi Pet to take her to an orphanage in Battambang to live.
“I remember having a conversation sitting outside with my dad, and him saying: ‘Try to study. I don’t have anything to give you except bringing you here – that is my only gift’,” Thorn says, her eyes filling with tears.
Life at the orphanage was not what Thorn’s family had hoped. The children were made to work on the orphanage farm, picking vegetables which the orphanage would sell. The children never saw any of the benefit from the profits from the farm. Instead, they had to catch crabs and snails just so they could eat.
The orphanage director targeted tourists to visit the orphanage. He deliberately keept the children in conditions of abject poverty and wheeled them out – as Thorn remembers well – to solicit cash and gifts, which were promptly pocketed.
In 2007, CCT co-founders Tara and Jedtha helped Thorn and 13 other children to escape this corrupt orphanage.
It’s now been 13 years since CCT helped Thorn leave this corrupt, abusive orphanage in Battambang. Last year, in 2019 the orphanage was finally shut down and closed for good, the remaining children now living with their families like Thorn, supported by CCT.
Through access to education and opportunity, Thorn has thrived and now works as a nurse. She is married and has two young children of her own. Most recently, with the support of CCT, she built a home for her whole extended family where they all live together and support one another under one roof.
Thorn’s story is one of resilience and hope.
Help give families the tools to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.