David and Sothomear, Serving the people of Cambodia
Cambodia is located between Thailand and Vietnam in Southeast Asia. With a population of just over 16 million, 75% of its people live in rural areas in villages and small towns. Studies published by the United Nations Development Program report that 35% of Cambodians live in poverty, with the majority living in rural areas.
Poverty brings about thoughts of a lack of income, but rarely is poverty one-dimensional. In fact, poverty is best described as multidimensional due to the multiple disadvantages the poor face. Disadvantages faced by the poor include health, malnutrition, education, clean water, electricity, etc.
One fact of the rural poor is that 32 to 44% of children living in rural areas are chronically malnourished resulting in stunting and the failure of individuals to meet their full cognitive capacity. Contributors to malnutrition in rural Cambodia include diarrhea due to poor sanitation and hygiene. Frequent bouts of diarrhea combined with diets consisting of low nutritional values creates an environment for malnutrition. A recent report by World Vision reported that alleviating malnutrition is not solely about having enough food but about having the right foods at the right times along with receiving health care and access to clean water and sanitation.
What difference can the efforts of the Institute make? Meet Cambodia Team Leaders, David and Sothomear, a couple who bring together their unique combination of experience and expertise to bring restore humanity to the poor and vulnerable of Cambodia.
David was raised in rural Mississippi leaving home at 17 to join the US Navy. Retiring from the Navy after 28 years as a Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman with over 17 direct action combat tours in Somalia, Gulf War, Iraqi and Afghanistan, the devastation of humanity caused by war motivates David to serve and want the best for others.
Sothomear, a true survivor, lived through the horrible genocide period of Cambodia. Her father, a school teacher, was executed in the genocide and the family fled to Thailand with absolutely nothing. She arrived in the United States as a refuge in 1981. Sothomear, like her father, is a professional educator and holds an international certification to teach English abroad.
Sothomear’s extended family still lives in a rural region where they are actively involved in creating better opportunities for education and social welfare. David and Sothomear connect the knowledge and skills of people with a passion to serve others with the needs of the hurting and vulnerable to enact change and expand the Kingdom of God.