After 30 years of civil war Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world and one of the highest rates of HIV outside Africa. Commonly parents with HIV/AIDS struggle to meet their basic daily needs. In the border town of Poipet landless day-laboring parents and migrant workers earn 1-2 US dollars per day. Young children are commonly required to leave school to earn an income.
Poipet Happy Home
In 2000, the Lord gave the staff at Mercy Ministries Foundation a burden for the people of Cambodia and in 2001 Mercy Ministries became a registered foundation with the Cambodian government. The physical and spiritual needs of the Khmer people is exceedingly great. Our goal was to open a children’s home with the same vision for the Khmer children as we have for our homes in Thailand. A set of homes were constructed. The homes were completed and officially dedicated in November 2006. There are now about 30 children being cared for by the MMF staff in Cambodia within these new homes. Along with our vision for this children’s home the Lord first directed us to open a preschool / feeding program for children 4-8 years old. . Our preschool is located in an urban slum and gives many a chance to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The MMF preschool was launched in 2003 in a Poipet slum with a rented location. The MMF School now has 280 students and we have officially changed from a Preschool to a primary school going up to the 4th grade . We are praying and hoping to go up another grade next year. The school and classrooms are very contextualized, fitting right into the area of traditional construction materials and has a large play area. We have a wonderful relationship with the community as we also look to encourage the parents the value of education. For example, every few months we give out awards, like a backpack full of school stuff and invite their parents to share a proud moment with their child!