At age 10, Kao Phun began what in Cambodia is a socially-accepted habit – smoking. Through dedication and the assistance of ADRA staff, Mr Phun quit smoking and is teaching others the importance of avoiding tobacco use.
At 67-years old, Mr Phun is a mild-mannered Cambodian. He has a loving wife of 37 years, Khiev Seng, and together they have seven children.
Mr Phun served as a teacher from 1982 to 2005 and later became school master of Putrea Primary School. He was regularly included in social functions where smoking was encouraged.
In 2008, Mr Phun became involved with ADRA. As an employee of ADRA he was encouraged to quit his smoking habit, a considerable challenge given his long history with tobacco use. Mr Phun did his best to abstain from using tobacco during his time with ADRA, however when the project he was working on ended, he returned to smoking.
When ADRA’s Securing Mothers’ and Infants’ Lives with Equity (SMILE) project began, Mr Phun was presented with the opportunity to again work with ADRA. The conditions of employment included the original challenge of adhering to the no-smoking health policy of the ADRA office.
Upon hearing of the opportunity, Mr Phun made the concerted effort to change his life and, with the support of staff at ADRA’s SMILE project, has quit smoking. He has reported that he can now breathe easier, no longer coughs, is sleeping better at night, and is maintaining a healthy body weight.
Breaking the habit he had maintained for decades was a challenge, but Mr Phun says he now sees the benefits of ADRA’s health policies. “I’m really happy at this time and thankful for the ADRA staff who shared the health messages with me. I had never heard of the risks before,” said Mr Phun.
As part of Mr Phun’s employment with ADRA’s SMILE project in Cambodia, he will be responsible for sharing about the dangers of tobacco used around pregnant women, infants and children.