Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The Partnership between the Cambodia Social Welfare Mission (C.S.W.) and MERCYworldwideA Brief History / Background of the Orphanage The inspiration and heart of the CHHEM MERCY ORPHANAGE is its founder, Chhim Chhem (a two star General in the Cambodian military), who was orphaned at age 9 during the brutal genocide of the Pol Pot regime (1975-1978). It is estimated that of Cambodia’s population of 8 million in 1975 up to 3 million were brutally eliminated, many in mass graves infamously known as the “Killing Fields”. Left all alone young Chhim Chhem found protection and shelter wherever he could to survive, one being in a government orphanage. The military personnel who oversaw the orphanage grew fond of him, took care of him and put him to work, having him run errands to keep him occupied. In time he had the good fortunate of being adopted by the Prime Minister’s youngest sister. Yet, he never forgot his early childhood. In 2003, General Chhem founded what is now known as the CHHEM MERCY ORPHANAGE, a government sanctioned program through the Cambodia Social Welfare Mission (C.S.W.), as a means of helping underprivileged children like himself. MERCY – C.S.W. Partnership Today there are 58 children in the orphanage, ages 7-23, divided almost equally boys and girls. General Chhem is considered their “papa” and is committed to improving the lives of these children and others like them. Without the orphanage these kids would have limited opportunities to better their lives and, in some cases, could face exploitation. On September 23, 2018 MERCYworldwide and the Cambodia Social Welfare Mission signed a Memorandum of Understanding so solidify our partnership to help these children long term. Our shared vision is to raise these children to become responsible adults that have the heart and the skill to impact their generation and generations to come. The focus is on three core pillars: CHARACTER, EDUCATION AND HEALTH. The goal is to grow and eventually increase the number of children in the orphanage to 150-200 and then eventually build other orphanages throughout Cambodia. On behalf of the Cambodia Social Welfare Mission and MERCYworldwide, we ask for your support to help build the lives of these children today for a prosperous Cambodia tomorrow.