Supporting Our Students’ Families

Before students join ISF, our social workers conduct interviews with the family. These are done to get an idea of the family situation and income, to make sure our help goes to those who need it the most. When families join our programme, we don’t just help the students but try to provide opportunities for the parents as well. Some of the initiatives ISF has developed for students’ parents include adult literacy classes, vocational training and access to job opportunities. In addition, families’ needs are supported through monthly food parcels, financial support for minor medical matters where necessary and provision of medication through our nurses.

This past month, our team in Chbar Ampov has finalised a research project among all our students’ families to see the impact ISF has made on their income levels. Our social workers surveyed all our students’ parents and conducted home visits. ISF’s research showed that there has been some improvement: nearly 15% of families have moved to a higher income bracket. For people who were getting by on less than a dollar a day, this means the difference between being able to feed their families or going to bed hungry. More importantly, and not measured through our survey, ISF’s support with food parcels and medicine means less of people’s precious resources need to be diverted to meet these basic needs.

One of the parents who has been able to improve his family’s living conditions is Mr Eurn. Aged 36, he has two children enrolled in ISF’s Education Centre in Chbar Ampov. His wife passed away in 2013, so he is the only one earning an income. Working as a construction worker and motor taxi driver, he has to provide for the basic needs of his three children and mother. Until 2014, the family was living in a small hut with a roof made up of a small sheet of plastic. Through ISF’s support, in 2014 his family was able to rent a small house to live. Reflecting on how his life has changed, he said: “One of my dreams was to have or rent a safe house for my 3 daughters to live. As they are getting older, where we were living was not safe for them. There are a lot of problems and gangs around. Since my children have been supported by ISF programme and we’ve been getting help with food parcels and medicine, I have been able to save