Pisey's grandma is amazed by his new behavior

“What are you having tonight?” asks Pisey’s grandfather to his neighbour, who is busy collecting gourd and pumpkin leaves in his garden.

“Pro her [fish and vegetable soup],” she replies, not at all flustered at being caught in the man’s plot thanks to Cambodia’s rich tradition of sharing.

Pisey also loves being in the garden, with the 12-year-old expertly pulling fully grown spinach from the ground and placing it in a rattan basket before sprinting off to greet his grandmother after spying her working further up the hill.

The land will soon be ready for the next crop, as is Pisey. “My grandparents have taught me how to plant spinach,” he says.

Belonging to World Vision’s sponsorship programme, the enthusiastic gardener has had the opportunity, along with his two younger brothers, to attend many of the organisation’s events, including training to encourage positive lifestyle habits.

“I’ve learned about hygiene, brushing my teeth, drinking boiled or filtered water and using the toilet,” he reveals.

Of her grandsons, Pisey’s grandmother, Lang, says: “Before, they didn’t care where they slept. They just slept anywhere, even if it was dirty or untidy. But now they use proper beds.”

Heartened by their behaviour, she adds: “They always use the toilet now and rewash dishes and cutlery if they’re not clean enough.”

With all three generations living side by side, Pisey willingly helps his parents and grandparents with household chores while they’re busy farming. “I can cook fried eggs with vegetables and rice,” the boy says proudly.

Paying tribute to World Vision, Lang says: “They help the poor with health care and learning vocational skills to boost crop yields.

“I love World Vision because they help local children, who’ve learned about eating healthily and using the toilet.”

In their half-hectare field, Lang and her husband grow potatoes, mangoes, beans and white carrots, as well as gourd, pumpkins and spinach, after receiving training and seeds from World Vision.

“We never have to buy vegetables now,” says Lang. “And we also have some left over to sell to buy meat.” Meanwhile, a World Vision-provided water filter means the grandmother no longer faces the backbreaking chore of collecting firewood before boiling all their drinking water.

To date, World Vision’s agricultural training, which emphasises rearing pigs and chickens and growing vegetables, has benefitted over 500 local people, including many children.

World Vision’s regional programme manager, Kimseak Suy, says: “Our vision is for all children to be healthy by having access to nutritious food and living in a clean environment.”