In various ways, Wat Opot Children's Community supports the surrounding local villages, to give back to those who have gradually accepted us over the years. Some of the benefactors are school friends of our children while others have been referred to us by community leaders, teachers, and social services.
In the past, with the help of the principal of the local primary school we pinpointed those families who could use assistance to keep their children in school. After completing extensive home evaluations of 45 families, we identified 20 children truly in need and provided them with school supplies, clothing, backpacks and in some cases, food (instant noodle and rice) for the family. These children also had the opportunity to attend English class or tutoring at Wat Opot.
In addition to educational assistance, we took the entire 5th and 6th grade classes to Phnom Tamao Animal Sanctuary about 30 minutes from Wat Opot… a place our children love to visit. Over 60 students attended and for many it was their first time seeing the animals. Meals and snacks were included and the whole day of activities was organized by students from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
We also supported 3 high school students with a weekly allowance which allowed them to buy lunch at school and attend extra classes which are taught after regular school hours.
In higher education, we have supported 7 students (3 boys and 4 girls) who were a part of our Youth in Transition. The girls are from impoverished families and would have been forced to marry or sent to work in a factory and the 3 teen boys had come from another children’s home where they were kicked out and left to fend for themselves on the streets of Phnom Penh.
In the village, we currently support one impoverished elderly woman by providing lunch and dinner to her each day.
We lack the funding to help on a large scale, but we do what we can by providing medicine to some who cannot afford it and a little financial help here and there to get a family back on their feet.