By taking in children who are orphaned due to poverty and providing them with an environment full of love, security and appreciation -an environment that goes far beyond simply meeting their basic needs- and committing to their care and education until they are launched into adulthood we are directly contributing to ending poverty.
In addition to our direct residential care of children, we are also lifting nine community families out of poverty through a cash transfer program. Our microfinance initiative supports an additional three families through a microfinance program that has allowed them to start their own businesses
In order to support the local agricultural economy, we purchase all of the food for our facility from the local market, where it is farmed on small-scale plots and sold by the local population.
We have also incorporated the principles of sustainable agriculture at our facility with an Aquaponics kitchen garden which we use to teach the children about sustainable agronomy and supplement food purchases with our own home-grown fruit and vegetables. Please access this link to learn about our Koya Project:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npr9aZ70RIM
In 2019, we introduced a compost system, designed by Cambodian university students. The system guarantees multiple harvests of 100 % chemical free produce. While the children are with us they benefit from this and when they are grown up, they will know how to use the system for their own families.
We are very “wellness forward” at Little Hearts. Both our children and staff are exposed to the principles and practices of self-care, exercise and good health. Our children receive regular medical and dental care from general practitioners and specialists when required. We also provide regular checkups to the local population and their children. On top of our routine care, we also provide sex and traffic safety education.
As mental health is directly linked to overall health and wellbeing, we provide routine emotional support to our staff and children as well. This support is provided by Tony, the nannies and augmented by consultation from a psychologist who visits Little Hearts on a regular basis and provides guidance to children who require special support.
Education is a key component of Little Hearts commitment to lift our children and neighboring children out of poverty. We are proud that our 4 eldest children have completed their secondary education and are now at university or college.
All Little Hearts children attend school.
As Cambodians only have classes half a day, Little Hearts founded its own school (The Little Hearts School) where the children take extra classes in the afternoon. These classes are also taught by Cambodian teachers. They teach English, culture and informatics to all children from 12 years and above. We often organize cultural trips in smaller groups.
Knowledge is very important in the development of a child, but so is developing skills and being well-rounded. Our children are given the chance to develop these skills and exposures.
To get acquainted with professional life our eldest children get the opportunity to take summer jobs during their holidays. This has always been a successful experience for them. It makes them feel responsible, independent and sure of themselves. Little Hearts will coach the children in their individual search for a job and an independent life.
The Little Hearts School is not only founded for our own children, the children of the neighboring villages are welcome as well. About 140 children take free classes every afternoon. This way Little Hearts offers a chance to these children to also develop themselves and find a way out of the cycle of poverty.
In Cambodia climate change is visible. Unfortunately, this serious problem is not yet on the national radar, so most people do not understand the consequences of global warming or what they can do to prevent it. Little Hearts provides community education to our children and people from the surrounding villages and to promote awareness of the seriousness of global warming. Step by step we are working to change behaviors and improve awareness through information sessions that remind people to sort waste, use less plastic and not burn garbage.
In the orphanage we contribute to the fight against climate change by sorting garbage, composting food waste, planting a kitchen garden and running an Aquaponics system.