“A New Concept in Childcare”
After over 10 years experience of working with Cambodian orphans and disadvantaged children Gerald had reached the opinion that the current pattern of orphanages was outdated and not in the best interests of the children. He felt that they should, whenever possible, be brought up in a proper family environment and that permanent residence in an orphanage should only be considered as a last resort.
Who Will set out to clone family living for its children and has built a cluster of 6 family houses around a Village Green. The children were being brought up as if in their own family home. Each house had its own House Mother who was tasked with bringing up her family as if she was their true mother and would carry out the normal chores of buying food from the market, cooking, cleaning, laundry and generally being their mother.
A change in policy at the Ministry of Social affairs has made us change our ideas but although we now have to separate the children by gender. Families are still able to eat together and keep in close touch although they sleep in different houses. A further change in policy is really following our philosophy in that children should be encouraged to be reintegrated into their family or extended family wherever possible. This means that if the family can afford to house, clothe, educate and feed their children they should return home. To date 3 of our children have been taken back by their families.
Ancillary accommodation incorporating the office, medical room, library and school classrooms has also been constructed as has a Volunteer House. It has been decided to restrict the family homes to 6 and to set a cap on the number of children at 50 although this number is unlikely to be reached due to the new policy of the Ministry of Social Affairs mentioned above.
We encourage local children from the surrounding villages to join in with ours for English language classes and sporting activities. We also welcome Monks from our local Pagoda to learn English in our school. We now have in excess of 300 external students attending classes in our Village. To cope with this influx of new students we have extended the school week to 6 days and taken on an extra teacher. The students are being divided into 2 groups and each of these will study on 3 days a week.