Mother's Heart

Overall women in Cambodia undergo a high number of abortions and unplanned pregnancies are frequent. Many women die from unsafe abortions and others that continue with their pregnancy are often ostracised from their families, community & live in poverty. There are no social services existing within Cambodia to help these women. Many women in Cambodia come from extremely vulnerable situations, being that trafficking, sexual abuse, HIV and poverty are real issues today. Mother's Heart vision is to provide unconditional love to women facing crisis pregnancies and to see women empowered with choices, so that they can make the best decision for their future and the future of their babies. V...
Oct 10, 2014

Admitting Failure, Moving Forward

For this report, GlobalGiving has challegned us to tell a story of one way we have failed, and what we have learned from that failure. It can be embarrassing and even painful to admit failure, but by examining our failures we can take steps to move forward into success. 

 

Jana came to Mother’s Heart three years ago five months pregnant. She was a sex worker asking for a way out of that life. Desperate to help her pursue the life of dignity she wanted, we eagerly helped her fulfill her dreams.

 

As Jana was from a small remote village where there were no vocational training options or programs she could enter to gain work skills. When she stated that she wanted to open a small business selling rice porridge, we counseled her through that decision and made the necessary arrangements to get her started. Having no money herself or a means of earning any besides her previous job, Mother’s Heart decided to provide Jana with everything she needed: tables, pots, bowls, and spices. This was our first experience setting a woman up in her own business. To our inexperienced minds, $300 was a small amount to pay if it meant Jana could have the life she wanted as a new mom.

 

However, our haste was our downfall. Our eagerness brought failure. Our good intentions blinded us to the reality of Jana’s situation. We neglected to ask the right questions. Did Jana have the support she needed to leave sex work? Did she have the knowledge or will to run a small business? Did Jana want to be a mom? If we had taken the time to ask these questions and probe for honest answers, we would have found that Jana already had two other children who she was not caring for, that she needed more support to follow through on her decision to leave her previous job, that she was not ready to open a small business, and that she could barely keep her house clean let alone run a porridge stall.

 

Our mistakes soon came to light and unfortunately our failure had far-reaching ramifications. Jana sold her shop supplies and gave her baby away. We failed, so Jana failed.

 

Mother’s Heart takes full responsibility for what happened, and we have learned from this failure. To make sure we never make this mistake again, we complete a full assessment with each woman by talking to her family and village chief to learn her history.  We now know the importance of taking our time with every case, investigating each woman’s strengths and struggles, helping her figure out what she can be successful at. By learning from our failure with Jana, we have been successful setting up small businesses with other women such as sugar cane cart, noodle cart, and dessert stand. We learned how to support these women in the right ways as we now understand what it takes to help a new mom enter a new life.

Jul 16, 2014

AM: Unexpected Crises, PM: Overwhelming Support

baby baskets given to each mother in the program
baby baskets given to each mother in the program

The following is a postcard from Charissa Murphy, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative in Southeast Asia, about her recent visit to Mother’s Heart in Cambodia.

Rocking the baby, his breaths slow, irregular, and almost trapped within him, a terrified grandmother rocked him tightly in her arms as she explained how the baby fell two meters down stairs after an electrical fire erupted in their building the night before. This was not only what I walked in to witness at Mother's Heart at the start of the day, but I also observed the Mother's Heart staff walking into this same crisis as well. Before we even introduced ourselves to one another, the staff's unconditional care and support for the women and families it supports opened in front of me. They immediately asked questions to understand the baby's condition and the events that unfolded since the fire. Using their professional experience and training, they suggested that the mother and grandmother immediately take the baby to the only free prenatal care facility in all of Cambodia, accompanied there by members of the Mother's Heart team who would wait until the patient and family were provided guidance or care. Though the queues for this facility are usually very long and no one except for the family and baby would be allowed entrance, Katrina, Mother’s Heart founder, informed me that they should be given priority since the baby was younger than three months old and in a life-threatening state. Mother's Heart quickly called for reliable transportation and took the family for emergency help.

Although they deal with crises like this everyday and they are professionals in the support they provide, the Mother's Heart team members are also human. They worried about the baby's health and survival throughout the day. If I was looking for confirmation of the organization's impact on the women and families that it supports, I absolutely gained that today.

After learning about the services that Mother's Heart provides, including a) over-the-phone counseling, b) in-person counseling and its social work program, and c) its Pregnancy Support Program, and hearing the terrifying truth that one-in-five women have unwanted or unplanned pregnancies in Cambodia, the need for free access to support for these women was (heartbreakingly) clear for me. Mother's Heart system for evaluating, determining and offering awareness of options, and providing support was organized and effective. It is evident that they have developed programming that works, which is highlighted further by the number of stories they shared of women who were so empowered while receiving Mother's Heart's care that they now securing healthy (non-sex-related) jobs, reconnecting with their families, and choosing to live on their own or with family rather than in abusive relationships, while also being positive parents to their children.

With Mother’s Heart, I was able to visit a few of the mothers with newborns and one soon-to-be mother who was expecting her baby soon. I cannot explain how amazed I was with how much positive help Mother’s Heart provides. From counseling to medical support to living and baby supplies, to housing, transport, and after birth care, they do not ignore any potential needs. Gosh, I want to have my future babies under Mother’s Heart support! Each woman was overwhelmingly grateful to have Mother’s Heart by their side throughout it all, helping them stand on their own two feet as they help their own child discover theirs.

Upcoming Event on GlobalGiving - TODAY, this Wednesday, July 16th, is a Bonus matching day!:

Today, July 16th (Wednesday), beginning at 9AM EDT, GlobalGiving will match 40% of any donations (of up to $1,000 from any individual donor) to Mother’s Heart. There are $130,000 in total funds available for matching that day for all of GlobalGiving’s partners. To ensure your donation is matched before the funds run out, please consider donating early today shortly after 9AM.

I want to thank the Mother’s Heart for allowing me to visit!

housing supplies (cleaning product, food, etc.)
housing supplies (cleaning product, food, etc.)
comfortable, clean Mother
comfortable, clean Mother's Heart information area
mother and her healthy newborn (posed for photo)
mother and her healthy newborn (posed for photo)
many baby & housing donations from Mother
many baby & housing donations from Mother's Heart
Jun 3, 2014

Applications Invited

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.

Now she needs another staff member. Chantol wants 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.

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
    give
  • $25
    give
  • $40
    give
  • $55
    give
  • $100
    give
  • $150
    give
  • $200
    give
  • $500
    give
  • $10
    each month
    give
  • $25
    each month
    give
  • $40
    each month
    give
  • $55
    each month
    give
  • $100
    each month
    give
  • $150
    each month
    give
  • $200
    each month
    give
  • $500
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?