Mondolkiri Homeless Child Shelter
As We Found It, 2001

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In late 2001 CCi Directors, Dr. John C. Freeman, Jack Jarnigan, and I asked a Mondolkiri deputy province governor to take us to his worst public health situation.  Within a few minutes we were at the "Sen Monourum Boarding School", a Ministry of Education homeless child shelter for 180 children ages 11 to 19  80% of whom are Montagnard.

They existed on a government food stipend of .25 cents per child per day which is only 1/3 the nutrition of the local populace, themselves the most malnourished people in Southeast Asia.  They had no potable water, toilets, bathing facility, electricity, blankets, mosquito nets, health care, or personal hygiene supplies.  Very malnourished they were extremely lethargic and suffered from a host of easily preventable illnesses and parasites.  An average of 30 slept like spoons in each of the 15' x 20' rooms.  They had no adult supervision or protection from Khmer men who came around at night after the girls; during the following year 30 disappeared or fled. 

The only bright aspect was that most of the children had a strong desire to learn and attended the nearby schools on a split session basis.  However the most unfortunate children were those turned away due to lack of space and government food funds.

Given their long-standing problems and the inimical development threats arrayed against them, foremost the hill tribes of northeast Cambodia need an educated leadership to protect their culture and resources, and achieve equity.  Their homeless child population offers the human resources from which to create that capacity.

Left side of typical room with bed for 15 children
Unsafe drinking water and in dry
season only enough for cooking.

Structure with metal roof is the eatery-kitchen with a dirt floor.  During the wet season May-Oct, rain sweeps through entire building.

Kitchen cooking fires burn 16 hours daily with no means to extract smoke.  The children spend considerable time in this building in the wet season.

During that 2001 visit we spent what money we had in providing Ceramic Clay water filters for potable water, a 500 gallon water reservoir, overhauled the generator, provided a submersible pump for the shallow well, purchased farm tools, and provided 100 fruit jack trees.  In 2002 CCi finally obtained a non government organization (NGO) license from the Cambodian Gov and in the spring 2003 we received the first of three Rotary grants and began improvements.

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