Arriving at orphanage Kais village, Han Faty and her colleagues from Dolphin Logistics International Transportation were emotional to see the many children living with physical abnormalities or physical and intellectual disabilities.
Sitting in a long row on the floor, some children smiled and some looked off into the distance as the president of NGO KaisKids Soung Santepheap, aka Sunny, introduced the visiting staff from the company.
They were on their annual retreat and charity trip, visiting Kais village on September 14 as part of research they were conducting on what charitable organisations need their donation most.
“Having asked around about orphanages, who urgently need help on a daily basis, we heard about Kais village near Kirirom National Park.
“So this year, we took our company’s annual charitable trip to Phnom Srouch district’s Kais village, in Kampong Speu province. We were so touched to see the children there.
“We can see the orphanage is struggling to take care of those abandoned kids, for whom we feel a lot of compassion for,” Faty said.
As part of the company’s mission to positively contribute to society, Faty’s team do an annual charity activity to help the Kingdom’s impoverished and disadvantaged communities.
“Our staff are happy to contribute to society as much as they can afford to. We’ve donated some rice, fish sauce, soy sauce, instant noodles, drinking water, bread and milk and some money, which was donated by our 30 staff,” Faty said.
Thanks to the staff’s generosity, the company’s donation totalled more than $1,000, which will help feed the children at Kais village for three weeks.
Having met the children, the company and its staff also committed to continue providing rice to Kais village each month.
“Our first trip there on September 14 coincided with the first day of the 15-day celebration of Pchum Ben. It’s the best time of year for Buddhists to give to other people.
“After we met them, we decided to continue to give a small donation on a regular basis. Starting from this month, we’ll give them 10 bags of rice every month, equivalent to $250 dollars, or 500kg,” Faty said.
Kais village community is run by KaisKids, which was founded in 2001 by Kampong Thom province native and former NGO worker Sunny.
The organisation registered with the UK Charities Commission in July 2009 as the Foundation for Cambodian Children.
Kais Village provides a permanent home, health care and education for 38 children who were abandoned hy their parents because of their disabilities or poverty.
The community, which features accommodation, a school, a nursery and basic health care facilities, is located on seven hectares in Treng Trayoeung commune.
“To prepare the children’s meal, we use one 50kg bag of rice every two days. We serve rice three times a day. I’m very grateful that Dolphin Logistics International Transportation has promised to continue to support us with 10 bags of rice monthly,” said 48 year-old president Sunny.
At Kais village, which is located some 87km from Phnom Penh, all 38 resident children have the same family name ‘Roth’ (meaning ‘State’) to give them a sense of family.
KaisKids was founded in 2001 with the core mission to support orphans. Most are living with physical and intellectual disabilities, resulting in them being abandoned by their family at a young age.
According to Sunny, most suffer from Encephalitis, an acute inflammation of the brain, and other serious diseases.
“80 per cent of the children who are living at Kais village are disabled in some way. They have brain, vision, pulmonary, limbs and intellectual impairment.
“The remaining 20 per cent are without a disability and most come from the National Maternal and Child Health Centre as they were intentionally abandoned by their parents after delivery for various reasons,” said Sunny, who was motivated to start the organisation after returning from working with the UN in Africa in the early 2000s.
“Some parents are poor and hopeless. They couldn’t afford to raise their disabled children and they had to leave them at the hospital – in most cases a Kantha Bopha hospital. That’s how they end up in our orphanage, which now supports 38 children aged between one and 18-years-old,” Sunny said.
Due to the wide variety and complicated nature of the chidren’s needs, Sunny said that he is reliant on the support and cooperation of other specialist organisations to function.
“We cooperate with other organisations that are specialised in providing special education for disabled children. For kids without a disability, we send them to a nearby public school.”
After close to two decades in operation, the KaisKids president is proud to announce that the first child to complete high school under his care came this year.
“We’ve had our first child just pass the national exam to complete high school. Her name is Roth Harry and she is just 16 years old but very outstanding at school. My concern now is to arrange accommodation for her to continue her studies at a university in Phnom Penh. She would like to go to law school,” said Sunny.
Besides helping Kais village, KaisKids also has a meal programme to support 21 HIV-positive children in Kampot province.
“We help to cover daily lunch and teach them how to care for their health and hygiene, because most of them are orphans living with their grandparents, uncle, aunts or relatives,” he said.
Over the years, KaisKids has been supported by generous international organisations, but Sunny would like to see more local donors step in to help the children.
“I know the international donors through my previous work experience at several international organisations. They have supported me since the very first day in 2001, but the economic recession [in 2008] contributed to shrinking donations. It’s not that they stopped helping us, but their contribution lessened, resulting in our struggle to manage day-by-day.
“I hope more local donors will help support our organisation, especially the Kais village orphanage in Kampong Speu province,” he said.
KaisKids is located on Street 3C in Meanchey district’s Stoeung Meanchey commune in Phnom Penh. For more information, you can log on to the organisation’s website (www.kaiskids.org).