18 February 2013

Cambodian Kids Behind Bars (7) Lina's Story: Food

Lina is a Cambodian woman doing a 16-year prison stretch for a crime she claims she did not commit. She has a young daughter, Maly, who spent time in jail with her.

She shares her small cell with as many as 25 prisoners and their children at a time.

Sometimes she never leaves her cell for days, even weeks, at a time.

Food and water supplies are scant and often make the prisoners sick.

Clothing and hygiene products are not supplied to any prisoners or their children by the state.

Lina continues:

"It was very difficult having my child, Maly, live with me inside the prison. If I was locked up, so was she. She was rarely allowed to leave the cell even though technically, she wasn't a prisoner. 

Sometimes she was allowed to go to school with the other children living inside the prison and also with the guard’s children, however I would have to stay locked up.

There was never enough food for my child although it helped that we received extra food from an outside donor twice a month, because she was living with me. Every time my child would see the prison food, especially the black, dirty rice, she would cry. It was so sad. I could not bear to see her so sad and I wanted her to get more food to eat, so I would cook meals for the other prisoners and get a small amount of white rice for her to eat.

My child understood what it meant to live in prison because she came in here when she was younger and grew up in here. She always used to say to me “I wish that you and I can leave the prison and
never come back, that we can live together outside of here.”

I did not want Maly to live with me in prison for my entire sentence. I was so scared when my child was living with me in prison, in case something bad happened to her. I was also afraid she would not have a good future, that she would not be able to study, that she would not be able to leave the prison.

 I am so happy that now she is living in a good place where she can get food, go to school every day and that she can come and visit me every month."


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