top of page

In her late 20s, Boree has had a hard life and it shows on her body, but not her face. Her face is warm, kind.

Five months pregnant and homeless, Boree was brought to Mother’s Heart by another NGO. Boree had managed the very difficult task of breaking free from sex work, but struggled with drug addiction and mental health issues. Mother’s Heart paid for all her medical care, safe housing, and counseling.

When Boree entered the Mother’s Heart program she immediately started learning to sew and has now been working there almost a year. It is work she likes and she is able to support herself, hoping to continue with it in the years to come. When she is not working, Boree says she likes to spend her free time cleaning her home, making it organized, and watching television when she gets the chance.

Boree’s social worker said that one thing Boree struggled with a lot was taking care of her baby. While Boree has taken huge steps in caring for herself, creating stability in her life, making wise decisions about living costs and no longer wandering the streets; mental illness and past drug abuse made it too hard for her to raise a child. There was no help to be had from the baby’s father and her own family abuses her.

Boree made the decision to place her baby in permanent foster care believing that the baby wouldn’t have a good life if he stayed with her. She was able to meet the foster parents and says they are good people.

“I think about my baby a lot. I want to see his face and talk with him. He was 4 months old when he left”. Boree says the way she doesn’t let this overwhelm her is to keep moving forward with life. Her son is now 9 months old.

There have been many changes in Boree, says her social worker. Since starting work and receiving support for her mental health issues, Boree is able to take an interest in her personal appearance and gets along with women at work and others on the program. She is very responsible, arriving at work and appointments on time without being reminded.

Boree, former isolated wanderer, has a place to call home and puts her head on the same pillow each night.

A hair salon owner recently contacted Mother’s Heart to ask whether a woman from our program will be available to join her expanding provincial salon. This is great community cooperation, but what is really exciting is that Chantol, the salon owner, has herself come through a crisis pregnancy helped by Mother’s Heart.

An orphan, Chantol worked in a Phnom Penh Karaoke bar. Her longtime boyfriend was supportive, often helping her out with rent and a bit of spending money. She loved him.

But she became pregnant and her boyfriend found a wealthier girlfriend. He handed Chantol $200 for an abortion and broke up with her. Heartbroken, Chantol faced facts. She was going to be a single mum. She couldn’t work and raise the baby and she didn’t have a mum to help. She wanted an abortion also.

Chantol heard about Mother’s Heart from another client in our program and came in for crisis pregnancy counseling. The support and empowerment by Mother’s Heart staff and the earthy encouragement she experienced in friendships with the other single pregnant mums helped this resilient lady decide to keep her baby. Chantol attended classes at Mother’s Heart on pregnancy, delivery, and healthy relationships.

And gave birth to a baby boy.

The father of the baby visited her to see his son. They soon began to be in contact with each other again. Mother’s Heart staff helped them be reconciled and learn how to grow a strong relationship. He helped financially support her and their son by paying for her rent and even bought her a small motorcycle to ride to vocational training. While her son was at Mother’s Heart day care, Chantol studied hairdressing knowing that with this she could put her Karaoke life behind her.

Her relationship with the father of the baby continued to grow. At the completion of her 6 months training she moved with him to his province to live with his family where he helped her open her own hair dressing shop. She has excelled at it and has trained and employed four staff.

When her salone needed another staff member, Chantol decided to help another woman in the same situation she was in. She and her boyfriend plan to marry once they have saved enough to pay for a wedding.

Their young son is one and a half years old and growing.

“This girl, see she’s a bad girl”. Even the people who love us can sometimes say destructive things. Chantee’s mother was trying to convince the other people in the hospital of Chantee’s character even as she’d taken time to attend the delivery and care for her daughter during her recovery in hospital. Never mind that the poor girl had just undergone a C-section to deliver her transverse baby.

Life for Chantee had been daily insults since her mother found out she was pregnant. Her mother loved her but couldn’t over look Chantee’s misconduct. Chantee had become pregnant after a one-night stand with a young man she had met while working in a roadside shop. He had little idea of his responsibility. According to Cambodian culture, if one family member does something bad, they will bring more misfortune on the rest of the family. Because of this, Chantee’s mom blamed her for anything bad that happened in the family. She was furious. Being pregnant outside of marriage would bring misfortune on her and the rest of the family. Her relentless harsh words drove Chantee to move in with her aunt until the birth of her baby was imminent.

Mother’s Heart helped with her delivery, post-natal care, vaccinations and later formula while Chantee worked. A partner organization trained her to be a cleaner and she worked at that job for about a year while her baby was at Mother’s Heart daycare.

Mother’s Heart also helped Chantee mend her relationship with her mum, encouraging forgiveness. And Chantee worked hard to repair things with her mother. Their relationship improved enough that Chantee moved back home where her mum cared for her baby while Chantee worked in a well paid sales job.

The relationship with her mom was not the only restored relationship. Chantee has married her baby’s dad. After delivery he began to help Chantee out with some bills, showing an interest in the baby and making a life together. It took Chantee a long time to trust he was serious because he hadn’t proven so in the past. Her baby was over two years old when she decided ‘yes’ to marry him. Mother’s Heart was invited to join in their celebration and witness their mended relationship.

Chantee’s mother hasn’t completely forgiven her for getting pregnant, but Chantee chooses to show her love and to be a dutiful Cambodian daughter by helping her mom financially. Chantee continues to have a good relationship with her husband, secure well-paid work and their daughter is in preschool.

Support Mother's Heart
Help us reach our goal!
Donors and Partners
Featured Posts
Recent Posts
bottom of page