Vuthea was born in the western Cambodian province of Pursat in 1990. One of fourteen children, Vuthea spent the majority of his childhood in poverty with his parents barely able to afford to feed their children. Many of Vuthea’s siblings were sick and any money the family did have was used for medicine and treatment. He never ate breakfast and did not even have a pencil for school.
For a long time Vuthea had wanted to become a doctor. He writes, “I don’t want people in a poor country to die because they don’t have a doctor or money.” He has seen many people in his village and even his own family die because of lack of access to medical treatment, something he is determined not to see happen in the future. Vuthea writes, "I am thankful for the support and advice that I have received from the Joshua House parents and supporters from overseas."
Vuthea is about to complete his medical degree. When he has had time he volunteered for weekend night shifts at the national public hospital to gain experience. He also volunteers his time teaching English at a local NGO.
Although the socioeconomic situation in Cambodia has improved, there is still a severe shortage of health clinics, basic infrastructure and education. The sex industry is huge and accompanied with this is an acute HIV rate.
Life expectancy at birth was just 63 years in 2010. Cambodia has the highest infant and under-five mortality rates in the region. Malnutrition affects most Cambodian children with 45% showing moderate or severe stunting.
Primary school enrollment rates are high. So many children repeat grades that it takes on average more than 10 years to complete primary school. Less than half of all students make it that far. (UNICEF, June 2011)
Go back to "Stories" page? Click the link