Boyrith and Hor Hum recognised an opportunity when it landed on their doorstep and they grabbed it with both hands and ran with it.
The opportunity came in the shape of a VBC house, sponsored by students from International School of Koje from Republic of Korea.
And what a transformation they’ve seen in their lives thanks to that generous gesture.
Two years ago the couple, aged 29 and 26 and their two children aged six and three, were living in very different circumstances and struggling to get ahead.
Their rickety home was completely open on one side and the roof and one other wall, made of palm fronds had holes and leaked. When it rained the couple used plastic to cover their clothes and belongings.
Boyrith says their family had a lot of illness and disease and often there was not enough food because they spent a lot of money on medication.
In March 2016 the couple were thrilled to receive their new home from VBC, ensuring they had adequate shelter from the rain, wind and elements and giving them security and peace of mind.
But this couple, both construction workers earning about $7 a day, have transformed that basic house into a delightful warm and welcoming home and they couldn’t wait to show us all the changes.
With big welcoming smiles they told us all they have done and their plans to keep improving their lives and their situation.
They have painted the house, put concrete on the floor, bricked in the downstairs to create another room, set up a sitting area with table and chairs, extended the roofline to create more undercover area and were in the process of adding a new bricked in kitchen to the side of the house when we visited them. Flowers line the side of the house adding colour and making it more homely.
Once the kitchen was finished they were planning to knock down the old kitchen – their former house – and plant vegetables. And Boyrith is thinking of more ways she can improve the house.
The couple took the day off work to show us their home and Boyrith was bursting with pride and enthusiasm as a result of the changes in their lives.
She says they could afford all the improvements because the family had less sickness and disease and so the money they were spending on medical treatment is put to better use. She says the family has enough to eat and she sleeps really well at night.
Boyrith left school in grade three and cannot read or write. Hor Hum left school in grade five and can read and write Khmer. They understand the importance of education and want their daughter to get knowledge so they make sure she attends school every day.
She says she wanted to break the poverty cycle and she wants VBC to be proud of her and she hopes to be a role model for others.
She is so happy she says she cannot tell us how much this home means to her and she wants the volunteers who sponsored the house to know how much of a difference this home has made to her and her family.
In the beginning she could not explain how much she needed the support – she knew she just needed an opportunity.