Childrens background stories
It is very hard and challenging for me to talk about this topic: The tragic and heartbreaking past of those children, who now live in our children’s village. Before I start with this story you should know, that not all of our children are orphans. Some of them do have relatives, however they are not able to take care or raise their family members for various reasons. Mostly it is caused by absolute poverty. Nobody would leave a child behind in Cambodia if it wasn’t for immense necessity. Usually, families stick together and are extremely close. It is natural that neighbors help each other as well. Furthermore, the monks at the pagodas support families in need as much as possible.
Struck by lightening
This is the sad background story of one of our youngest girls. She lost her mother when she was only two years old. She was struck by lightning when she was out on the rice field to bring their only cow home. The cow didn’t survive the tragic incident either. Since the father did not want his young daughther to grow up without a mother figure in the family, he got married again. However, he didn’t know that his new wife was HIV positive. It didn’t take long until she died from this disease, and the father found himself and his daughter alone again after only one year of marriage. The father persumably didn’t know about the contagious and, in Cambodia mostly deadly, disease. He was infected, and soon began to succumb to the disease. He tried his best to take care of his little daughter – he sold their chickens and ducks, eventually leaving the family with no animals. He got sicker: he lost a drastic amount of weight and soon was too exhausted to work. Their neighbors were poor as well, yet helped them as much as they could. The father still has relatives somewhere in Cambodia, but they lost touch a very long time ago. As his physical health and fitness deteriorated, his worry and concern about what would happen to his child after he is gone increased. There was only one way to make sure that somebody would take care of her. He washed her for the last time behind their small hut. He put his daughter in her cleanest clothes. He hugged her, cried –knowing he would rarely get to see her. The two were brought to the children’s village. We used to visit the girl’s father once in a while, where she told him about the children’s village. The man was glad to hear that his daughter is well taken care of, that she doesn’t have to suffer from hunger anymore, and she even goes to school. However, the child is unable to cope with her past and all the memories, that she has kept. She is very quiet and introverted. She barely smiles. Meanwhile, her father has passed away and the people in the children’s village are the only family that she has. It is a place where she can grow up without being confronted with any further traumatizing experiences
She is surrounded by loving people and is able to be a child again, who neither has to worry about food nor her future. I hope, that the girl will be able to overcome her past.
Ursula Beyer German Chairwoman
In Cambodia, children who were left behind from their parents are legally considered as orphans. The father of three of our children, two girls and one boy, disappeared many years ago. The mother took care of her family all by herself for a while, but soon she had her own plans as well. Without telling anybody, without saying goodbye, she left from one day to another. The siblings found themselves alone and defenseless. They didn’t understand what had happened, why everybody left them behind and they came to the conclusion, that their parents never truly loved them. That must be a heartbreaking experience for young children.
This situation certainly reminds him how he had already been left alone by two important people in his life. It will take a while, until these three children consider the people around them as their new family and the children’s village itself as their new home. They need time and help to overcome their trauma, and to truly feel safe and loved. But the children’s-village-family is here for them every single day, and I hope that helps them
Ursula Beyer German Chairwoman
"I know nothing better to help a child, than to give him a mother, siblings, a house and a village."
The aim of the project "Tani - perspectives for children in Cambodia" is to offer orphans and children in need a life in a secure home,
access to education and the possibility to grow up in a child-oriented environment.