Cambodian children give up snacks to help their peers in Syria

A snack costs between 500-1000 riel (about 10-20 euro cents). In two weeks they have collected 3 euro and 20 cents. Some of them are preparing for First Communion, others for baptism. The proposal is extended to the whole parish for Lent. Fr. Luca Bolelli: "This group of children are really exceptional."


Phnom Penh (AsiaNews) - Children and teenagers from the parish Kdol Leu want to help other children in Syria, marked by war and poverty, by saving their snack money and in just two weeks, through AsiaNews, have sent 3.20 Euro (this is the amount collected!) to children in Syria.

The small amount of money raised is of immense moral value, given that for many of them their snack substitutes a midday meal. What this means is that these young children gave up lunch for two straight weeks to help Syrian children have skipped lunch for two weeks.

A snack coast 500-1000 riel (about 10-20 cents) and may consist of rice topped with pork or shop bought snacks. Once all of these products came from China, but now there is a strong local production of  poor nutritional quality.

The parish priest, Fr. Luca Bolelli, PIME, explains that "the terms were that in addition to giving us their snack, everyone had to say a prayer for the Syrian children".

The children and teenagers who participated in this sacrifice in preparation for Lent, were aged between 11 and 13. They all take part in the weekly catechism, some in preparation for First Communion, others to prepare for baptism.

"They are an exceptional group" explains Fr. Bolelli. "Last week, I had been away all week and we had to skip the catechism meeting. Srey-Niang, a girl from the group, stopped me and immediately said: 'Father, this week we didn’t have catechism!'. And I said: 'It is true. If you want to meet tonight we can. Go tell the others'. And she said: 'I already did! We knew you were coming, and we have already arranged to meet tonight! '. I assure you that such a thing, no matter how small, fills you with joy! ".

The example of children was so overwhelming that, for the whole of Lent, Fr. Bolelli has proposed a fast to help Syrian children to all adult parishioners.

The community of Kdol Leu is located in central Cambodia on the Mekong River, about 200 km from the capital Phnom Penh. The Catholics of the country, decimated by persecution at the time of the Khmer Rouge, are about 25 thousand. Among these, at least 80% are Vietnamese emigrants.