Women in Ratanak Kiri face the same family challenges as mothers around the world; Klem shows how she stands strong despite violence and disability
20 Jun 2016
Klem is 21. She has two sons: six and four years old. Klem dropped out of school in Grade 2 to care for her younger siblings and is illiterate. She separated from her husband when she was 19-years-old, wanting a better situation for her family. She works on a farm and walks hours each day to collect water. But she doesn't let any of this impact her family. She believes women can do the same things as men.
"I love my boys. I like to care for them, and teach them how to be hygienic and grow up healthy. My older son likes to play and is very obedient. My younger son just likes to play, he does not listen as much," she said.
Her younger boy was born with a disability; his feet are turned in which makes it difficult for him to walk. "I knew he had a disability when he was born. It affects his walking and when he walks he is in pain.
"I worry about my children. I'm worried that in the future my younger son won't be able to do things like the others and that it will affect his livelihood. I'm worried that he won't be confident.
"I dream that they can go to school and learn to write, have a good experience.
I love them and want good things for their future."
Her husband drank and was violent, and did not work to bring money to the family. As a strong woman who places her family first, Klem makes her decisions based on what is best for her children—the same as any other mother would around the world.
"It would be okay in my village to re-marry, but I'm worried that another man would not love my children. If there were someone who would love me and love my children I would be happy."
"I work hard and I'm confident for my own life and my children. I think I am strong woman because I can do things on my own. I try to be the best I can."
One day, Klem would like to own a small shop to so it is easier for her to spend time with her children and stop laborious work at the farm. Klem believes the boys and girls, men and women should be equal. "If we have equal opportunities for boys and girls, we can do things a lot better."
CARE is supporting water and sanitation initiatives in Klem's village with funding from the Australian Government.