Forming a horseshoe around a lush green lawn are the ten family homes which make up Sovann Komar. Cambodian parents underwent a scrupulous interview process to become foster parents to the 56 children who live here. Each house has between four and six adoptive children although some of the couples also have their own biological children who are now also a part of these family units.
For the first few years, the mothers stayed at home and, with the help of a nanny, cared for their children whilst the fathers all had jobs, mostly outside of the village. With so many toddlers and babies, it was hard work and an endless task. As the children grew up, however, many of our mothers began to work too and some even returned to school to achieve higher education certificates. Two of our fathers work onsite, Mr Arun, our executive director and co-founder, and Doctor Chhaya who is in charge of our village clinic. The rest of the fathers and working mothers have found steady employment outside of Sovann Komar.
Our families are supported by Sovann Komar and given the means to provide the children with three healthy meals per day, clothes and household supplies. We want our families to be loving, close-knit communities where members can rely on one another and by building ten individual houses, we have created these nuclear families which were so unfairly denied to our children before they arrived in Sovann Komar. It is important our children recognise their role within the family and are not only good sons and daughters but also caring brothers and sisters. Being raised together means, although they are not blood relatives, our children have formed sibling bonds and care deeply about their entire family. We believe these family ties will continue long after the children have moved away from Sovann Komar and started their adult lives.
Now, however, our children are all teenagers and need caring for in a different way to when they first arrived. As the children grow and develop into young adults, we run training sessions with the mothers and fathers as well as hosting workshops with the children themselves. We want to educate everyone involved in Sovann Komar throughout the ever-changing process of raising children.
Sovann Komar organises an annual weekend trip, usually to the coastal town of Kampong Som (Sihanoukville in English), where all of the families can relax together, bond as a group and enjoy one another’s company.