Many grandparents say, “If I could be a grandparent first and then a parent, that would be so great.”
There is something special about being a grandparent. Some say they think they are older, wiser, and more patient with their grandchildren than with their children. Others relish the opportunity to love and treat without worrying about discipline. Whatever the reason, there is a special bond between grandparents and their grandchildren, which is exactly how it should be.
Some grandparents, however, find themselves forging an even deeper bond than they anticipated. In many communities around the world, grandparents are the sole caregivers for their grandchildren.
Grandfather is among these. At 75 years old, a widow of seven years, and suffering from “old age pain,” as he calls it, he is the sole caregiver and provider for his two young grandchildren. Forced by mounting debts and a lack of work opportunities, his daughter and son-in-law migrated to Malaysia and Thailand, respectively, in search of income. They left their children in Grandfather’s care in their small, rural, Cambodian village.
“A lot of people told me to get another wife,” he shares. “But I don’t want to. I love my grandchildren very much and I want to spend time with them.”
The reality of caring for two young ones at his age, however, is a hard one. Some money trickles in from his daughter overseas, but it does not amount to much. At his age, it’s difficult to work as a day labourer.
Four years ago, ADRA came to his village and invited community members to join a nutrition project which aimed to save the lives of mothers and children from preventable deaths. It addresses issues such as access to quality health care, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation, and more.
“I was alone and didn’t have enough to feed my grandchildren. Since the trainings talked about nutrition and how to improve the health of children, I joined. I joined all the project activities. I even went to the women’s groups. I actively attended all the sessions, especially the cooking and feeding demonstrations.”
Grandfather is now growing vegetables that nourish his grandchildren. He understands how a balanced diet, proper sanitation, and good hygiene support a healthy life. Now, Grandfather not only has his love for his grandchildren, but also the knowledge, skills, and resources to better care for them. He is truly a great grandfather.
The project also set up a savings and loans group in his village which enables members to save and access financial support in times of emergency or if they wish to set up a business. “I’m also able to borrow money at no interest rate,” he adds happily.
The project has enabled Grandfather, and others like him, to better provide for their families’ health today and their futures tomorrow. Parents and grandparents are leading their families into healthier, happier, more secure lives.
The generosity of our supporters is bringing health and joy to families.