Our Village is a residential facility for more than 270 orphans and abandoned children infected with HIV/AIDS. Their parents may have died from AIDS-related illnesses or are too sick to care for them.
Some who went to live with extended families after the deaths of their parents have subsequently been disowned when their HIV status became known. Other children have come from orphanages that do not have the capacity to care for HIV-infected children.
Situated on eight hectares (20 acres) of land in Kampong Speu province, Our Village is 33 kilometers outside of Phnom Penh. At Our Village, a child lives with ten other children in a house with two caregivers to foster the feeling of family living. Three houses form a cluster, each with its own kitchen and cook.
We have a fulltime nurse on staff and a doctor visits our clinic every week to see children who need special medical attention. The doctor is on call 24/7. Children also get regular medical check-ups at a local hospital where they receive their antiretroviral medications (ARVs). These are the medications that suppress the HIV virus and prevent it from destroying the child’s immune system.
Children attend school daily. We established New Hope International School onsite to maximize the quality of education for our children. Those in grades one through eleven attend school full-time at Our Village. We will add grade 12 in 2017. For now, children in grade 12 attend a local school each morning and have supplemental classes in math, chemistry, physics, and algebra at Our Village in the afternoon.
For the youngest children, we have a Preschool and Kindergarten program onsite.
We are equipped with twenty-five classrooms and a computer lab. We also have a dedicated science building with two classrooms. Thanks to the generosity of our volunteers, we have one of the first children’s libraries in Cambodia.
Sporting and recreational facilities include a soccer field, a basketball court, and volleyball and badminton nets, all of which are used for free-time activities.
The greatest expense that NHCC faces at Our Village is food. We prepare 1,100 meals every day to feed the children, staff and volunteers and each month we use 5,000 kilograms (11,000 pounds) of rice.
We introduced a sustainability initiative in 2008, designed to promote self-reliance and sustainable food production, to decrease food expenses and to increase the long-term sustainability of the project.
Our Village has large gardens that provide an array of fresh produce, including mangoes, tomatoes and green vegetables for the children and staff. Food that cannot be produced onsite is purchased from local markets, which allows us to support the agricultural and commercial ventures of our neighbors.
In early 2009, funds from a generous donor allowed us to start an egg production operation. Currently we have 11,000 chickens in modern, large-scale chicken coops. Income from the sale of eggs also contributes to our budget. The eggs are also a vital source of protein for the children. We now convert chicken manure into compost, which we use as fertilizer for our gardens.
You can be a vital partner in our work by supporting a child at Our Village.