Our partner Maryknoll supports children affected by HIV in Cambodia. It provides a loving home, education, and the practical support children need to build a better future for themselves. First, meet Phalla, who works with Maryknoll, and is also a foster mother to eight children orphaned by AIDS. Her words inspire our work...
Lon Leaph, 19yrs, from Maryknoll's Little Folks programme takes part in a Tae Kwon Do display. The Little Folks programme is for children who are affected by HIV and AIDS.
Fifteen children live in Maryknoll group home. The children, who are all living with HIV, range in age from six to seventeen years old.
Ken Seyma is a careworker in a Maryknoll group home. “We give the children psychological support and encourage them to believe in themselves. We cook good, nutritious meals to make sure they stay strong and we tell them to study hard and make sure they do their homework.”
Pany Pan, 15yrs, (left) with Kim Sokhun, 7yrs, sitting outside a Maryknoll group home. Pan says: “As soon as I arrived the Maryknoll staff took me to the hospital and paid for my medical treatment. It took about a month for me to feel better and regain my strength.
Nimol Pich, 13yrs, helps out with the daily chores. She says: “It is fun living here – a bit like living in my own home. I have lots of people to look after me now, and the children who live here are like my brothers and sisters.”
Careworker Sony Leav, with Varchim Heng. She says: “Without help from Maryknoll I believe that the children here would be living on the streets, using drugs or sniffing glue without anybody to take care of them. It would be a terrible life - many of them would have died.”
Pany Pan, 15yrs, (far right) plays games with the younger children at the group home.
Father Jim Noonan has worked for Maryknoll in Cambodia since 1990. He says: “When I first started the work I knew very little about HIV. But I have learnt so much from other people. I pray every day for the grace to be able to continue this work and to make a difference in peoples lives.”
The children who live at this Maryknoll group home have been orphaned because of AIDS. All of the children are HIV positive. It is likely that many would have died without the medicine, food and support they now receive.
“ My life has improved since I have lived here. When I came here I was very ill. I am healthy now but if I get sick I know that the Maryknoll doctors will look after me.” Sieythea Chhin, 11yrs.
Photo credits: Annie Bungeroth If meeting these children has inspired you, then please make a gift today to help families and young people fighting poverty, wherever they may be Give online to Lent Fast Day For more info, please see www.cafod.org.uk/cambodia