On September 5th, 2009 our oldest children attended the School Awards Ceremony held at the Cambodiana Hotel and organized by the Singapore International School (SIS) of Phnom Penh.
Ms. Ngoeun Phalline Pothida, General Director of the SIS, and all SIS staff, gathered to award their diplomas to all successful grade 9 and grade 12 students.
Sok Sabay’s students were invited and were thrilled to celebrate after a year of studying hard. Our warmest congratulations to:
- La, grade 9
- Lillie, grade 12
- Nancy, grade 12
- and Kevin, grade 12!
Lillie, Nancy and Kevin will now go on to the University. Find more about our new Open University Program here.
“Entering the gate of Sok Sabay Association is entering a haven of peace. In the courtyard and the garden, children play, laughing and friendly, and it’s hard to imagine how painful a past most of them have. I have had the opportunity to teach them the rudiments of French for one month. A very rewarding pedagogic experience because it was necessary to adapt to students of all ages and all levels, which is not always easy when one is used to teach to university students.
But the most important thing is undoubtedly the incredible strength of the link that was immediately established with most of them: it nurtures the soul of one who agrees to give one’s time to these children and these young persons. It is so hard to leave, but one certainty hope that one may once again enter the gate of the new Sok Sabay home in Phnom Penh…”
Philippe (French teacher in a Private Junior High School in St Malo – France)
“The first time I heard about Sok Sabay was from a first hand account by one of my mother’s friends. She described a country and community so unimaginable and wonderful from the one I live in and the lives of children so different from my own. When I saw a video of the works of Sok Sabay I decided to spend my summer there. I have often traveled with my family, but for a long time I have wanted to go somewhere alone and have the chance to live there and get to know the place and people; and here I am. I have been working in Sok Sabay for 6 weeks now and have loved every day! I am teaching English to the children in small groups according to age. With the older groups we have chosen topics to talk about and they have been teaching me as much about their society, culture and history as I have about mine; I have learnt so much from them.
I love being with the younger children, they are always so excited and cheerful and I can tell (as with all the Sok Sabay children) how much they want to learn. I also love spending time with them either in class of outside class: drawing or watching their beloved Mr. Bean! Because Sok Sabay is a small organization it means that all the children are given the full help and attention they need and I have been able to get to know them all so well. They are so open and loving and have made me feel so welcome in their home.”
Julia (student, 20 years old)
“Future” today means to go forward, to move ahead, to be involved and to include our children in the international world of education. Moving forward by sharing and caring for the children of Sok Sabay. Building a safe learning environment is one of the main concerns for Sok Sabay. Our challenge is to find the best schools for the children to improve, to adapt themselves & to increase their learning capacity.
Deprived since birth or through family struggles of a safe and child-friendly environment, Sok Sabay tries to improve the children’s lives. Respect and compassion, freedom of speech, access to multi-lingual learning opportunities, to be initiative, to set priorities and to take over responsibilities is crucial to become a good citizen in Cambodian society. Knowledge about one’s own culture is one of the main goals of the Sok Sabay Center of Life.
“Future” means for many Cambodian children being scared of violence in a society which is marked by the stigma of the worst genocide of the 20th century. By giving them an ongoing sense of self-confidence, we emphasize their self-esteem and empower them to define their future for themselves and for the next generations.
Sok Sabay’s mission is defined by three main programs: the Boarding and Long-term Education Program, the Open University Program, and an Overseas Development program providing skilled students with international scholarships. Additionally Sok Sabay engages in supporting the neighborhood through the establishment of a community library.
I started my work as a nurse in the South-East Asian refugee camps in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam and worked there for more than 20 years. After having been part of the refugees’ histories and tragedies for so long, their world became my world. I could not abandon them anymore. I had learned to be as humble as possible to widen my understanding and to adapt myself to any situation. To accept the unacceptable became like not being able to breathe air to me.
In Cambodia, the problem of child molestation, enslavement and sale had dramatically increased during the UNTAC time (United Nation Transitional Authorities of Cambodia). As I had personally witnessed these daily nightmares, I decided to found the organization Sok Sabay in the capital Phnom Penh with the goal to secure the life of very young vulnerable children. The Khmer name “Sok Sabay” means “happiness” in English.
After the July 6-7, 1997 political crisis during which the government was overthrown, Sok Sabay organization went through a difficult period of insecurity. However with the generous help of concerned people such as my family, my office in Paris, my friends in Singapore, in America and Europe who devoted their time and financial support, Sok Sabay became what it is now: a well-established organization renowned not only in Cambodia but also in France, Singapore and other countries.
One and a half decades after the first rescue mission, Sok Sabay has redefined in 2000 its objectives: From “Therapeutic and medical care for under 15-years old prostituted children”, Sok Sabay’s mission was adjusted to “Rescuing, educating, protecting and caring for mistreated children”.
Currently, sixty-two children are living at the Sok Sabay Centre of Life. Five children are living in their communities financially supported by Sok Sabay. The families of our children are part of the “Future”: Therefore, supporting parents by helping them to increase their sense of respect towards their own children is an integral part of Sok Sabay’s programs .To rebuild the nuclear family with the participation of children and parents is our goal.
“Future” in Cambodia means to rebuild a society of justice. Unfortunately, the Khmer society is not yet ready in its entirety to recognize the crimes committed during the 1975-1979 genocide. Children are suffering from the “unspoken”. The country is under reconstruction and will have to define how to tackle the main social dilemmas. This remains the major challenge nowadays if the nation wants to successfully build its “Future”.
MC, Founder & Executive Director Sok Sabay
There are several ways you can get involved in Sok Sabay’s work with vulnerable children of Cambodia:
Becoming a Godparent – child sponsorship
Becoming a Donor:
- by giving one-time or regular general donations
- by giving a donation for specific projects, such as:
- Teachers’ salaries in the various subjects taught in our New House,
- Construction or repair work to improve our facilities,
- A yearly trip to Siem Reap or to the beach.
- by organizing trips abroad, like in Singapore for our fundraising events.
- by promoting our work in your community and organizing fundraisers.
Donnez en ligne !
Vos dons peuvent être effectué en ligne sur notre formulaire sécurisé (in euros, in french)