Kandal Facility Provides New Future for Orphans From HIV-AIDS

kandal province – “Hope for all. 800 meters,” reads the sign as you turn off National Road 1 about 15 km east of Phnom Penh. The destination is a newly opened orphanage that offers housing and education to children whose parents have fallen victim to AIDS.

A New Life Orphanage, which officially opened Tuesday in Kien Svay district’s Veal Sbov commune, currently houses 20 children be­tween the ages of 4 and 15 whose parents either died from AIDS or, having fallen ill from it, are unable to continue providing care.

New Life Director Prak Savang, who provided the land for the orph­anage, said Thursday that the orphanage will eventually house 65 children.

“There are many orphans in society whose parents have died from AIDS,” she said, adding that all the children will be attending school.

Mao Sawatey, director of the adopt­ion department at the Min-istry of Social Affairs, said by telephone Thursday that there are cur­rently over 8,000 orphans in Cambodia. According to Save the Children Australia, 6,000 children under 15 are orphans of AIDS victims.

Though tragedy brought the children to the orphanage, when arriving at New Life happy faces greet you.

Ten-year-old Kong Toy, who arrived Sept 21 from Koh Kong province, took a moment from playing with a foam alphabet-puzzle set to discuss how he felt about his new home.

“I am happy here,” he said, adding that he enjoyed playing games with his new friends.

Pork Chhay Hort, 13, said that he was happy to be at the New Life because when he was living with his extended family in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district he had to work collecting waste to sell.

“I went to school, but was ab­sent often because there was a lot of work,” he said.

Now the future looks brighter to Pork Chhay Hort and he has al­ready picked out what he wants to do when he grows up.

“I want to be a doctor,” he said. “I want to help people with HIV.”

Construction of the orphanage was made possible due to a contribution of $50,000 by the Hodge family of the US, Kylie Schuyler Hodge, honorary chairman for New Life, said in an interview Thursday.

“We feel as a family we are very privileged and we want to help others,” she said.

After seeing Tuesday what her family’s support has done to help the children at New Life, Hodge said she wants to do more.

“I feel much more tied to the project,” she said.

Hodge’s daughter, Macaul, 12, said she played with some of the children during their visit and that she felt proud to be a part of the project.

“I love how they’re so happy and knowing that they have a future with the orphanage,” she said, adding that she looks forward to visiting and e-mailing the new friends she’s made in Cambodia.


Related Stories

Exit mobile version