We completed our home in Cambodia and opened our doors to 50 children at the end of 2013.
The home was built on donated land amidst two hectares of rubber plantations in the beautiful village of Kampong Champ, about a two hour drive from the capital, Phnom Penh.
Dian’s father, Zaini Wahab, decided to visit Cambodia in 2012 to learn more about the condition of Muslims living in a land dominated by communists. He wanted to see if there was something he or GiveLight could do in light of the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge and the ongoing discrimination against minority Muslims.
As fate would have it, he found a hotel by the bank of Mekong River, run by a young Muslim couple. Zul and Mariya Weasna were immediately drawn to his pleasant demeanor, eloquence, and rare combination of gentleness and determination. After hearing about GiveLight’s global work, they became very interested and decided to donate a piece of their land.
Dian has visited the home twice – once in 2014, along with her Dad and another volunteer Nahla Kokailah and more recently in July 2019. You can read more about her trip in 2014 here. Below are the highlights of her visit in 2019.
I had such a wonderful time with our children in Cambodia last summer. Despite the scorching heat, we managed to enjoy our time together by playing outdoors, reviewing Quran and sharing delicious meals. We savored our afternoon treats and, after the sun set, we proceeded to perform our sunset prayer.
I’m grateful that there is electricity in the house as there was none in 2014 when I first visited the home. Back then I remember having to use a candle during the night and when we would wake up for dawn prayers. The kids asked for apples and their favorite drink – such small requests to bring smiles and little joy.
The next day was just as hot and humid. We decided to play outdoors under the shade of the trees. The first game was to blow up balloons and throw them in the air. Some of the balloons popped, which resulted in lots of giggles. The kids were so excited as they jumped to catch each other’s balloons. I was happy I managed to capture these magical moments with my phone camera.
Next, we had a water balloon fight. Each child got to play with me by trying to run away as I threw the balloon on the count of three. Some got away, others got soaked. I got to play with all the kids one by one. Amazingly, the balloon always burst when it was the turn of one of the kids to catch. They wanted so badly to see me get soaked, but somehow I managed to dodge every balloon! After two hours of playing in the heat, we were thoroughly exhausted. It was time for another treat: more favorite fruits and drinks.
We ended the day by having a delicious traditional Khmer soup called Laksa, which is made with rice vermicelli, vegetables, chicken, coconut milk, turmeric, and other local spices. We all ate heartily and many of the kids asked for seconds. As I watched them enjoy the food, I felt a surge of gratitude in my heart, first and foremost to our merciful Creator, and second to my GiveLight family. What a blessing to be able to turn their sorrow into joy, hopelessness into dreams. As always, the most difficult part was saying goodbye. I do hope to return soon. In the meantime, I leave these children in the hands of God and our generous Cambodian team. Thank you for being a part of our beautiful journey.
We are supporting seventy kids in our home. Our annual operating cost for this home is $49K, which covers everything; food, clothing, medical, books, salary of cook and tutors.