Who are we?
How it all started
During their journey through Southeast Asia, two Belgian brothers, Tony and Jimmy Geeraerts, were struck by the poverty in Cambodia, one of the poorest countries in the world. Once they got home, they could not let go of the images of the distressing poverty and especially what it meant for the children there.
With the support from family members and friends, the brothers founded Little Hearts. They renovated an old school building in Phnom Penh and opened the doors to Little Hearts in May 2009. After three years the government decided to sell the building and Little Hearts started constructing a new home base in Arey Ksat, a rural and green village just outside the capital. In 2013 the new building was opened.
Tony eventually sold all his belongings in Belgium and moved to Phnom Penh to be a permanent resident. He wanted to oversee the efforts and create a true home for the children.
Cambodia is still one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. Its economy is rapidly growing, but the distribution of new wealth is uneven. Ordinary people still struggle. The gap between rich and poor is increasing. A large part of the population lives in poverty without a social safety net.This forces many young parents to leave their children behind as they look for work in neighboring countries. Their children are left behind with scarce resources to prepare them for a bright future.
How we work
Team Belgium consists of a group of motivated volunteers who have all lost their hearts to Cambodia and the children of Little Hearts.
Team North supports Team South. Together we work to create a nurturing home for our children and promote the larger sustainable development goals for Cambodia.
Providing our high level of care is costly and we always welcome and actively seek new sponsors.
Team Cambodia is the heart of the operation. This team consists primarily of enthusiastic Cambodian employees. They are the caretakers of the children and are therefore important support figures in their lives.
Tony lives and works in Cambodia. He coordinates the daily operations in the house. He is the liaison between the North and South operation.
Little Hearts employs a few teachers. They provide quality education. They teach English, Khmer, computer classes and teach the children general education and skills. They also give daily lessons to about a hundred children from the village.
After school, child caretakers are ready to support the children with their social-emotional needs. They have skills and resources to create a positive home life. Every evening they provide a fun activity such as arts and crafts, dancing, games or a movie night. They see to it that the children do not lack anything, get support where needed and are sufficiently stimulated to learn to be independent.
Ma Khun and Tex Me concocts delicious and balanced meals 3 times a day. With 40+ mouths to feed, she carries a big responsibility. Luckily, the eldest children do their bit in the kitchen. That way they also learn important household skills
When something is broken in the orphanage, we can count on the skills of our handyman Billy. He can literally fix anything. In addition, he guards the grounds and drives our youngest children to school in the tuk tuk every day.