I am writing this article from a little guest house in Kampong Thom province, Cambodia. Today, three of NHO’s head office staff – Sokhom, Sarah, and Vannak – and I started our tour to all of the homes. Today found us in Kampong Cham and ending the day in Kampong Thom. Both homes are part of New Hope for Orphans but are very different.
Kampong Cham is a well-established home with 45 children and several staff. Many of the children have been there for years, although there are a handful of brand-new kids (who need sponsors, by the way). Vandy and Thavy have been the house parents there for a number of years, having first served there as staff under Thavy’s parents. The vast majority of the children are very happy, healthy and well-adjusted. Almost all of them speak English fairly well. Vandy shares that there are few major behavior problems. In fact, he only mentioned one girl—who is relatively new—who is having difficulty.
On the other hand, Kampong Thom is new, having only been established in September 2017. Unlike Kampong Cham, which is on permanent land, this home is in a temporary location. There are 19 children at this home – with one barely 5-year-old boy having arrived just a couple of days ago. House parents, Sitha and Sopheaktra are new house parents, although Sitha grew up in one of NHO’s homes. They are learning parenting as they go. All of the children are new since September. The ones who have been there the longest are getting healthier, but they are all still suffering the results of previous malnutrition and getting ill quite often. Sitha shares that he deals with quite a few behavior problems because kids come in with established behaviors of cussing, fighting, and stealing. He is working with them through these things and is seeing improvement.
These are two very different homes within the same ministry that cares for approximately 400 children at 15 different homes. The common foundations of these homes, however, are much greater than the differences. Both homes were founded on the love of God for orphaned, abandoned, and at-risk children. Both homes are teaching these children about the love of Jesus, giving them hope in their lives, and providing for their needs. Both homes have house parents who love the children and want to see the children flourish.
There are still 12 more homes to visit during my time in Cambodia. We are on a fact-finding mission to get a very detailed picture of where the homes are at and what they need to excel at for the sake of the children, staff, and sponsors. Please join us in praying for the wisdom as we continue to take the next steps.
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