Charity changes young Ratha's life

In April, Cambodian traffickers tried to buy 11-year-old Ratha from his mother for $2000.

Luckily - just days before - Shellharbour woman Faye Webb and other volunteers from her newly founded charity Help2help had passed through Ratha's remote village, Kampong Kdei, and promised to help the physically disabled boy.

This promise gave his mother the courage to refuse the traffickers' money and last month, with the help of another Illawarra charity, the Cram Foundation, Ms Webb returned to the village with a specialised wheelchair, giving Ratha freedom for the first time in his young life.

"[Ratha] had not left his house for eight years due to his physical disability, as his mother was unable to carry him," Ms Webb said.

"We purchased a pram as a temporary measure, bringing Ratha great joy but limited freedom."

The wheelchair, donated by the Cram Foundation, was delivered to Ratha in October and this bright and happy boy has now been able to attend school for the first time in his life.

"He and his family live in abject poverty but have been overwhelmed with the donation, which has changed their lives."

Ratha's new wheelchair previously belonged to a profoundly disabled client who lives one of the Cram Foundation's group homes in Albion Park.

Foundation chief executive Gareth McKeen said he was proud to be able to help the boy and his family.

"It is wonderful that two local charities have combined to provide a young Cambodian boy not only with a wheelchair, but with a better chance for an improved life," he said.

Help2help was established in 2011 after Ms Webb and her family visited Cambodia and saw a need to help people living in impoverished villages on the outskirts of Siem Reap.

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