Jun 15, 2021

We are in this together. Thank you for being on our side.

MH social worker distributing food support
MH social worker distributing food support

Chum riep soo, dear donors and supporters. I hope you all are keeping safe and healthy.  Here is our report for the second quarter of the year.

COVID-19 has continued to spread in Cambodia and showing no signs of abating. Cambodia was nearly COVID-free recording one of the smallest COVID-19 infections in the world but the numbers climbed from about 380 after a community incident in February, to 36,240 cases now with 289 recorded deaths (as of June 10), and a daily increase in infections numbering in the many hundreds.

By April, the government imposed a blanket lockdown after a steady increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in different areas (districts) of the capital Phnom Penh and neighbouring Takhmau city, many of which of which were related to the February incident. This resulted to the classification of areas in Phnom Penh by colours: red (severe outbreak), orange (moderate risk of infection), and yellow (low risk) zones. Immediately, travel and other activities were restricted.

The health and safety of our staff and beneficiaries remain as our main priority. As early as March, our staff have begun working from home until April when the city was placed in a lockdown. Our office in Phnom Penh, including our day care was temporarily closed and all the staff worked from home.  Residents in the capital and Takhmau were banned from leaving their homes unless they are essential workers or their purpose for going out is essential.

Nineteen (19) of our beneficiaries in Phnom Penh, many are in the red zones, were critically affected, having no access to work or sources of income and food due to the restrictions. Travelling during the lockdown period was also restricted, so delivering food support and services has been very challenging despite our staff having the necessary permits to travel. But we were able to deploy our social work team to provide support to our pregnant beneficiaries and deliver emergency food packages – rice, canned fish, baby milk formula, soaps, sanitary products, and a modest stipend.  We also received donations of rice, other food items and sanitary products from our local community that we distributed to our beneficiaries. We are also happy to report that 18 healthy babies were born during this period and the beneficiaries received food and other supplies for themselves, their babies, and their families.  We will continue to provide support until the restrictions are completely lifted, the women vaccinated, and are able to return to work.

There are also no infections amongst our staff, beneficiaries and their families. Most of the staff in Phnom Penh have completed our vaccinations while in Battambang are waiting for their appointments. Rollout of vaccines to the provinces have already began and we expect our staff will get their shots soon.

The lockdown has been lifted recently and the red zones have decreased. Because of this, the situation is now improving slowly and things are going back to normal. Wearing masks are still required in public areas. The government is also aggressively implementing a mass vaccination campaign in an effort to vaccinate 80% of the country. We are hopeful for better days to come.

The past months have been truly challenging as we continue to navigate through this uncertain time, we are truly grateful to have you on our side. Your donations have allowed us to continue to respond to the immediate needs of the women and children in our care and be able to accept more women into our program in the midst of a pandemic. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

MH foster mother receiving milk and food supplies
MH foster mother receiving milk and food supplies
MH shelter residents received food and other items
MH shelter residents received food and other items
Jun 15, 2021

We are in this together. Thank you for being on ou

MH social worker distributing food support.
MH social worker distributing food support.

Chum riep soo, dear donors and supporters. I hope you all are keeping safe and healthy.  Here is our report for the second quarter of the year.

COVID-19 has continued to spread in Cambodia and showing no signs of abating. Cambodia was nearly COVID-free recording one of the smallest COVID-19 infections in the world but the numbers climbed from about 380 after a community incident in February, to 36,240 cases now with 289 recorded deaths (as of June 10), and a daily increase in infections numbering in the many hundreds.

By April, the government imposed a blanket lockdown after a steady increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in different areas (districts) of the capital Phnom Penh and neighbouring Takhmau city, many of which of which were related to the February incident. This resulted to the classification of areas in Phnom Penh by colours: red (severe outbreak), orange (moderate risk of infection), and yellow (low risk) zones. Immediately, travel and other activities were restricted.

The health and safety of our staff and beneficiaries remain as our main priority. As early as March, our staff have begun working from home until April when the city was placed in a lockdown. Our office in Phnom Penh, including our day care was temporarily closed and the staff went to work from home.  Residents in the capital and Takhmau were banned from leaving their homes unless they are essential workers or their purpose for going out is essential.

Nineteen (19) of our beneficiaries in Phnom Penh, many are in the red zones, were critically affected, having no access to work or sources of income and food due to the restrictions. Travelling during the lockdown period was also restricted, so delivering food support and services has been very challenging despite our staff having the necessary permits to travel. But we were able to deploy our social work team to provide support to our pregnant beneficiaries and deliver emergency food packages – rice, canned fish, baby milk formula, soaps, sanitary products, and a modest stipend.  We also received donations of rice, other food items and sanitary products from our local community that we distributed to our beneficiaries. We are also happy to report that 19 healthy babies were born during this period and the beneficiaries received food and other supplies for themselves, their babies, and their families.  We will continue to provide support until the restrictions are completely lifted, the women vaccinated, and are able to return to work.

There are also no infections amongst our staff, beneficiaries and their families. Most of the staff in Phnom Penh have completed our vaccinations while in Battambang are waiting for their appointments. Rollout of vaccines to the provinces have already began and we expect our staff will get their shots soon.

The lockdown has been lifted recently and the red zones have decreased. Because of this, the situation is now improving slowly and things are going back to normal. Wearing masks are still required in public areas. The government is also aggressively implementing a mass vaccination campaign in an effort to vaccinate 80% of the country. We are hopeful for better days to come.

The past months have been truly challenging as we continue to navigate through this uncertain time, we are truly grateful to have you on our side. Your donations have allowed us to continue to respond to the immediate needs of the women and children in our care and be able to accept more women into our program in the midst of a pandemic. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

MH foster mother receiving milk and food supplies.
MH foster mother receiving milk and food supplies.
MH shelter residents received food and other items
MH shelter residents received food and other items
Mar 15, 2021

Living and coping with COVID-19

Thank you for standing with us.
Thank you for standing with us.

Highlights*
The year 2020 is a year like no other. It was a year that plunged the world in uncertainty, fear, loss, and challenges. It was also a year when we saw a lot of inspiring stories, of incredible people finding ways to connect and help each other. Through this generosity and connections, despite the COVID-19 pandemic in the background, Mother’s Heart was able to deliver the critical support services to the 92 women and 86 children in our Crisis Pregnancy Support Program  (in Phnom Penh and Battambang program office). This number includes the 35 women who entered our program and the 29 babies born in 2020.  In 2021, beginning in January up to the time of this writing, there are 10 newly-registered women and 4 babies born in our program in both offices.

*N.B.: Faces on the pictures have been blurred for privacy.

*** 

At the moment, Cambodia is experiencing the effects of what is called the “February 20 community event” which has seen the biggest number of positive COVID-19 cases linked to a  community outbreak to date. The news of the incident broke on Sunday 21st February 2021 and since then, a number of industries have announced temporary closures or changes to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in the capital and beyond. Based on media reports, positive COVID-19 cases have been registered in 8 provinces – Kandal, Sihanoukville, Prey Veng,  Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham,  Battambang, Siem Reap, and Koh Kong -  besides the capital city Phnom PenhCOVID-19. On March 11, Cambodia reported its first COVID-19-related death: a Cambodian man who was said to be exposed to his employer on Feb. 28. The total number of positive cases resulting from the February 20 community event is 751 and the national total to 1,264. 

As per government order, most of Mother’s Heart staff have resumed working from home again with only a few staff manning the office on a rotation-basis. This is the third community event in Cambodia and third time we are working from home. During the first event, we had some challenges in terms of communicating with our beneficiaries and providing face-to-face counselling but we were able to sort these things out so that in the succeeding incidents, we didn't encounter any major issues anymore. Some of our face-to-face interactions with beneficiaries (counselling) and partners (meetings) have either been postponed or moved to virtual communications or via mobile phones. House visits are only done when deemed critical or emergency cases such as serious physical and mental health conditions, signs of violenace or abuse at home, birth of babies, just to name a few. We are also temporarily closing our daycare centre in Phnom Penh but the staff are on-call in case a mother needed emergency child care support. Like previously, we are using mobile internet apps to communicate between staff and our beneficiaries. The distribution of food support, stipend, and sanitation and hygiene items continues every month. Our tuktuk drivers in Phnom Penh and Battambang offices deliver the food packages to beneficiaries who live far from the offices (especially in Battambang province since many of our beneficiaries live in remote villages). The others, who live close and are able to, pick it up themselves.  So far we have no reported positive COVID-19 cases amongst our beneficiaries as well as their family members and we hope to keep it this way. We continue to stress the importance of hand washing, wearing of facial masks, and the practice of social distancing if  there is a need for our staff and beneficiaries to go out of their houses. We also have telephone numbers list of staff and health centres and government dedicated phone lines to use in case any of the staff or beneficiaries experience the symptoms.


Stories from Mother’s Heart
When Sitha became pregnant, she remembered feeling like she had no hope left. But when she entered MHO, Sitha decided that she would take care of her baby no matter what. So she sat down with her case worker to help her make a plan for herself. She expressed her desire to learn and work after she delivered her baby.

After her baby was born, Sitha attended maternal educational classes at MHO and was able to participate in a skills training program. When older, her daughter started attending the MHO daycare centre. At first, her daughter spent her first few days in the daycare crying and didn’t want to participate in any of the activities. She wasn’t happy until her mother returned to pick her up. The daycare staff would provide her daughter with the comfort she needed and patiently engaged her in play,  conversations, or any other activities. Three months on and she is a completely different child. No more tears when Sitha leaves her in the daycare. Now, she is  enjoying stories, singing songs with the other children, and learning the many important skills.

Sitha is so thankful for the care and attention MHO are giving her daughter in daycare. She says that this has given her a peace of mind knowing that her child is in a safe, loving, learning environment, being cared for while she completes her training, and eventually attends work.


International Women’s Week Campaign
Mother’s Heart’s campaign has just concluded and we are in gratitude to those who participated and supported us for we had a successful run. We are happy to report that we have reached our target of $3,000 putting us in 11th place overall out of the more than 220 participating projects/organizations. Thank you for your generosity. Our work would not be possible without your continuing support and belief in our mission.

A beneficiary on her way to her health check.
A beneficiary on her way to her health check.
Children in the daycare enjoy listening to a story
Children in the daycare enjoy listening to a story
 
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