CHILDREN’S COMMUNITIES

Kais Village Community

Kais Village Community opened in 2003 at the request of the Cambodian Child Welfare Department. It is funded by private donations and receives no financial support from the government. The principal directors and driving force behind Kais Village Community are Soung Santepheap (Sunny) and Karen Butler.

From the outset Sunny and Karen’s philosophy was to do more than provide for the basic welfare of the children. In Kais Village Community they wanted the children to feel that they had a home, a family, and a community.

The community is situated 86 kms South-West of Phnom Penh, just outside the village of Treng Trayoeung, in rural Kampong Speu province. The village has a busy local market, schools and a handful of tiny coffee shops, but is in an impoverished and vulnerable country area. The majority of the local population are small-holder fruit farmers.

Presently Kais Village Community is home to 50 children, from newborn to 17 years of age, many of whom have special needs. The older children live in newly built individual boys and girls houses, sharing a room with up to 3 other children of a similar age. Each child has their own bunkbed and cabinet. The houses have a small common room for gathering and homework. Aside from the houses, the centre comprises a large nursery for up to 40 infants and playroom, a school with attached guestroom, a small medical centre, a dining room and a toilet and shower block.

The children attend the local school and also daily English language lessons run onsite by volunteers. Approximately 40 village children come to the centre each day for their English lessons. In their free time the children learn cookery, sewing skills, dance, drama, art and crafts.

Recently some of our children have had the opportunity to learn computing skills and take basic Chinese lessons. The on site farm offers a great opportunity to learn agricultural skills, and animal husbandry.

A doctor visits for a full day every week and checks all our children and serious cases from Treng Trayoeung Village. He also runs training programs for the nannies. His work is supplemented by a resident nurse.

At Kais Village Community, children come to our care through the Cambodian authorities. Our staff complete thorough background checks and, once bona fide needs have been established, the children undergo a medical and are vaccinated, and finally registered with the Ministry of Social Affairs.

Broadly, we provide for the children in 3 areas:

Basic Needs: food, shelter, clothing, medical and dental care, and emotional support.
Education: in conjunction with the local government school our children attend lessons and at Kais Village Community itself, they learn English language skills.
Personal Development: Our children develop life skills through cookery lessons, swimming lessons, arts & crafts, agricultural training and personal health and hygiene instruction

In the end, the Kais Village Community experience is so much more. Our children find a loving home, are helped with counseling, and once they turn 18, we help them find jobs and further their studies or attend vocational training.

We also throw open our doors to children from the local community for medical and dental care and English language and sports classes.

 Kampot Community Centre

Cambodia has one of the highest incidences of HIV per head of population in Asia, with one-third of new infections occurring from mother to child. There are currently an estimated 4,000-5,000 Cambodian children aged 0-14 years living with HIV and it is unknown how many children have been orphaned due to AIDS.

Kampot province, close to Cambodia’s southern coast, has a high percentage of affected children. Whereas there is already a state run orphanage and some general assistance from NGO’s in Kampot , somehow these children continue to slip through the net. In Cambodian society they face discrimination, and often with their families also suffering , these children have nowhere to turn and are denied their basic rights.

In order to try to address this issue, KaisKids have been offering outreach assistance. Since 2007 we have been running a dedicated child sponsorship programme, through which, in collaboration with the local social services, we have been helping to support over 20 HIV+ Kampot children and their extended families in the community.

Even so Social services are severely overstretched. These children and families are lacking emotional support. Health advice is inadequate. There is no bereavement counselling or assistance. The children’s nutrition is poor. Forced to take days off school for health visits and due to illness, many are behind in school. Some children have to do many chores at home and have no time to play. KaisKids decided it was time to take action and help these children to lead a normal childhood. To this end, with the co-operation of the local authorities, in 2011 we opened a community centre in Kampot town.

The centre is open 5 days a week, daylight hours only. It is staffed by a qualified “house mother” and volunteers. It also welcomes support from the children’s family members who wish to get involved on a regular basis.

In 2013  the centre caters for 20 HIV+ children daily and this is  expected  to have increased by the year end as many more affected children and their families visit to make use of the facilities. The centre currently provides the following; A nutritious daily meal for the children, a place where they can come and have a shower, get encouragement and tutoring with their school work, read and play.

The children’s health is monitored and advice is given on hygiene practices. A qualified cousellor visits on a regular basis to offer friendly discussion and advice to the children and their extended families. The local director of social services is on hand to offer support as and when needed.

As the centre is very close to the hospital the centre’s staff are able to monitor the children during their regular
check-ups and in addition are on hand if/when it becomes necessary to admit a child, providing a friendly face, hot
meals, and an extra pair of hands.

Our Achievements

A safe loving home for 50 children.

Square meals, safe shelter, conselling, a friendly ear and community support for 25 of the neediest HIV+ children and their carers.

Medical care for our children and vulnerable local population.

Our older children have graduated and we continue to support them in their endeavours to further education and vocational
training. We help them find mentors, sponsors, apprenticeships and when the times comes we help them find work.