Field Update


Speech therapy works

Apr 24, 2016

If you’ve been following the OIC journey for a number of years, you would have seen the stories and videos of some of the children whose lives have been improved by speech therapy . Recently, I visited two children in Siem Reap to see what they’re up to these days.

Srey Ran

When we visited Srey Ran a year ago, she had just started school. I was interested to see how a full year of formal education and speech therapy had changed her. The answer — a lot.

Srey Ran (left) with her friend

Srey Ran is well integrated in her class. Her teacher, Seoun, described how Srey Ran likes reading and is fun to be around.

Srey Ran’s communication has also improved. Chhean, her disability worker, said “Srey Ran was becoming more independent and part of society.”

Seeing the smile on Srey Ran’s face shows us the impact speech therapy has. She is more than just a statistic. She is a human being, whose life has been completely changed.

Srey Ran’s progress at school has given the team motivation to keep on going despite difficulties. Although she had started school for the first time in year two, her progress was so good that she was flying through to year three.

This would not be possible without the help of our supporters.

Len Mary

Len Mary has cerebral palsy but has not let this stop her to go to school.

Phearom, her disability worker, was proud of her improvements. I was most pleased to see Len Mary’s new sense of independence.

Phearom told me, “Mary made her own way to school, and her voice was becoming stronger and clearer day by day. She was shy and sat alone on her first few days in school. Two years later, when I asked Mary about her classmates, she spread her arms and beamed “these are all my friends!”

Len Mary going to school

Speech therapy doesn’t only help the health of a child but also how they interact with others. Her teacher, Lim Rany, was happy with Mary’s progress in class. “Mary is a good learner, who speaks more now and learns from her actions.”

The progress speech therapy unlocked was clear to see. Mary is now the focus of our latest crowdfunding campaign. If you haven’t yet seen the video, I highly encourage you to take a look.

We are increasing awareness amongst people of what speech therapy is. It is crucial that we can help more children like Srey Ran and Len Mary.

Despite the impact that speech therapy has had on these children, I still can’t believe there is not one local university-trained speech therapist in Cambodia. Imagine what could be done with a fully-fledged speech therapy university course.

I’m so thankful to have seen the lives of these children up close. We want the stories of Srey Ran and Mary to show how important speech therapy is — to our supporters, the government and the world.

by Laurie Mcgeoghegan