Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Orphans’ return sought

‘Orphans’ return sought

Met Meng Chuo is seen in an undated picture taken after her adoption in Italy. Her mother has received no updates in six months. Photo supplied
Met Meng Chuo is seen in an undated picture taken after her adoption in Italy. Her mother has received no updates in six months. Photo supplied

‘Orphans’ return sought

An impoverished mother, who allowed a non-profit to send her four children to Italy because she couldn’t afford to take care of them, is now pleading with authorities to intervene after losing contact with the kids.

Nine years ago, Kampong Cham resident Uon Nhor, 40, said she and her husband, Met Mao, 48, left their children with the Phnom Penh-based Children and Poor Community Development Organization because their standard of living was so low. Nhor said her salary from working on a rubber plantation wasn’t high enough to provide her kids with an education.

For a year, she visited them in the orphanage and occasionally brought food, she says. But in 2009, the same year Cambodia would put a freeze on international adoptions, the children were sent to Italy for adoption.

According to Nhor, the organisation’s director promised that her children would visit her once a year, and would return home permanently at the age of 18.

The four children – Met Meng Chuo, Met Narith, Met Srey Khea and Met Rithy – were 10, 5, 4 and 2 years of age, respectively, when they were sent abroad.

“I agreed to let my kids go abroad because the centre said that when the kids reach 18 years old, they will let them come back to me. The adoptive parents have no right to stop them,” Nhor said.

For the next eight years, the only news she had of her children was through the organisation’s director, Meas Yuth. In 2010, Yuth showed her photographs of Meng Chuo and Rithy in Italy. Nhor says she believed Yuth when he said her children were alright.

But six months ago, the organisation vanished. After repeatedly trying to contact Yuth, this week, the stricken mother contacted the Ratanakkiri office of rights group Licadho to ask for help locating her children.

“I am poor. I believed other people, that’s why I sent my kids to the centre so that they could learn,” Nhor said. “I miss my kids and deeply worry about them. I do not know how they are doing.”

Nhor said that she would like to travel to Phnom Penh to find the organisation, but she cannot afford the travel costs.

Social Affairs Ministry officials Em Chanmakara and Sorn Sophal said they had not heard of the case, but suggested Nhor file a complaint with the ministry.

“If children are being hidden or abused, come and meet me; I will help,” Sophal said. “I would suggest that local officials immediately investigate this case.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior