… Last year I have met with Mr. Helmut Kutin and I promised that I would come to preside over the inauguration of the SOS-Children Village. He was presenting me at that time a number of problems that needed to be addressed such as land for building schools in Siemreap. A similar project was proposed and has been looking for a place in Battambang. I may delegate the job of finding land to HE Ith Samheng and HE NimThot for the construction of children shelters similar to the one we inaugurate today. As we are lacking of financial resources, with his willingness to help, we have to provide the land as a contribution from our part. Even then we should not purchase land where its price could not be affordable.
… As for the school, we have already discussed and decided to associate it with the village itself. With resources provided by SOS, the school should be providing teaching for all classes ranging from class one (the elementary education) to class twelve (the secondary-level education.) It is a good solution because the school is not far from the village community. Our people in this area will all benefit from the Children Village. As is seen here, some poor families already brought their children while others start to make use of the health system provided by the Village. About 2,000 children and youngsters would have a chance to get education from class one through to class twelve right in one place without having to move to other education facility (to complete their secondary education.) These are the benefits that our people in this community will certainly obtain.
… Mr. Chairman said to me that those teachers and education staff working in the Village, on top of the salary provided by the Royal Government, would be paid extra from his pouch. We should therefore speed up the construction process, as he confirms that he would take his word seriously. If the Village proves to be a success, I suggest to Mr. Helmut Kutin that it be replicated not only in Phnom Penh, Siemreap and Battambang but to various other places in Cambodia. During our meeting, he has accepted me as the first Cambodian member of the Children Village organization. I wish to appeal to other Cambodian colleagues to file for membership as well.
… Just now I have met with those children and I have noticed that they have shown great affection on one another, lived in a good-care condition, and I hope that those working here provide them with love, sympathy and orient them to a bright future. There may be no other country in the world that has as many orphans as Cambodia does. Even after the genocide regime was brought down, there remain a large number of widows and orphans. Their number is greater than our ability to provide them with care and support. However even with empty hands, we have led the country through with a principle that not a single child left dying unattended in the street. Those children were brought up in orphanages throughout the country. Some of them turned to between 23 and 26 years already. Some of them have no idea as to what were their family names. That is why many of them took their family names after ‘Radh’ (which means ‘State’ in English.) We could be proud that they had been taken care of by the state, including providing general education and vocational training. Now most of them completed seven or ten-year education and some have gone further to achieve a Bachelor, Master or even a Ph. D. degree. Some of our pilots have originated from the orphanages.
… What I wanted to say here is that those children from 1979 have now become adult and even parental themselves. But the Royal Government is still their parents. When they get married they ask for help from us. Those who are men move out of the orphanages to settle in with his wife after receiving assistance for their marriages. The same happens for girl married to men from outside. What concerns us here is the fact that when they get married with each other, where could they go? We have to help them find jobs. This is a heavy burden that needs to be addressed. That is why I have said earlier that it would be even better if the project could be replicated to cover other places in Cambodia.