Many Cambodians who are homeless, sick, living with disabilities or dying destitute, and who have no families or place to go, have found a refuge at the Home of Hope.
This home is run by the Missionaries of Charity Brothers in the rural area of Chom Chao, which is approximately 25 kilometers southwest of the capital, Phnom Penh. The residents at this home are as young as a few years old, or as old as the elderly. Human society has rejected these poorest of the poor. The Home of Hope welcomes and accepts them. Moreover, the brothers care for them and give them food, clothing and shelter.
At the Home of Hope, I have been working with young people who are living with developmental and physical disabilities. They are a lively bunch. Some are ever ready for fun and mischief and are totally oblivious to the ongoing pandemic. Many need help with their daily living activities, such as personal hygiene and physical exercise.
COVID-19 or not, people still have to eat! Without a doubt, mealtime is the most favorite time for everyone. The Cambodian staff are busy with preparing, cooking and serving food. Those among the young people who live with minimal assistance and are willing, help with gathering wood for the cooking stoves, washing their own dishes or cleaning up before and after meals.
In the villages surrounding the Home of Hope, poor people are facing particularly hard times and are struggling to feed their families this year. Many make their living in the informal economy, selling goods on the street, or work in factories or the hospitality and tourism sector. With business and travel across the country and the world greatly reduced due to the pandemic, these daily laborers are the first to go hungry.
In response, the brothers have been assisting some 750 villagers with food rations including rice, salt, cooking oil and dry beans.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents many challenges to say the least. Here in Cambodia and around the world it has been a call to find new ways to help one another.
As the Missionaries of Charity Brothers like to say, they give those who are poor and hungry the “hope that despite all hardship, there is meaning in life.”