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Jan 20, 2017

Diving into the Age of Reason


Mother’s Heart has been operating for 6 years, soon to be 7. 

We first started with a small group of dedicated people led by Katrina Gliddon, with the vision that no women should face a crisis pregnancy alone. Katrina, Nara and Somphors believed we could make Cambodia better by helping single women shunned from their community. They accompanied them on the way to motherhood, and showed them that despite adversity, they were in control of their lives.

The following years, our staff grew in numbers, and we are now 22 working full-time to improve the lives of single women. We are still the only crisis pregnancy center that councils women about their 3 choices: parenting, kinship care and termination (referal to Mary Stopes). 

We provide Pregnancy Support to strengthen single pregnant women’s access to all the services relevant to become a parent, among which: medical care, family reconciliation, maternal education, day care, job placement.

Katrina Gliddon has had to go back to Australia with her family. She is still involved in Mother’s Heart as a board member and is fundraising as our Founder in Australia. 

Mother’s Heart now has a Senior Management Team (SMT), composed of:

•Emily Scott, Country Director 

•Nara Chear, Finance Manager

•Somphors Seong, Senior Social Worker

•Charlotte Buckley, Operations Manager

•Rebecca Tjoa, Communications and Fundraising Manager

This allows Mother’s Heart to have a collegial structure that is prone to open dialogue. Together as a SMT, we are building a strong strategy for our future.

Each member of our staff follows the lead of our founder by being passionate about our vision and dedicated to our mission. 

As a supporter of our cause, you must have been inspired by Katrina, her vision for Cambodian women and children and her strong leadership. We vow to remain true to her founding principles. 

Our focus is on our service users, with a goal to reach maturity by servicing more women, supporting them with Honesty, Ethics, Authenticity, Respect and mutual Trust. This will remain the HEART of our mission for years to come, and we look forward to having your support in our endeavors.

Mother's Heart Senior Management Team





Oct 24, 2016

Fail Forward: Safe Staff

Admitting failure is scary because we fear judgment and blame. But mistakes are something we should embrace as they force us to see what we have done wrong and positive changes that need to be made.  

Safe staff.

Safe staff are vital for programs working with vulnerable populations. So Mother’s Heart takes strict precautions when we hire new staff (professional references and police checks), but these precautions are not guarantees.

We made the dangerous mistake of hiring someone who was unsafe.

At first this staff member seemed like an asset to the team. He came with a good reference and was willing to learn.

But soon the warning signs came.  He fell asleep during work ours, had very poor hygiene coming to work with dirty clothes and without bathing, constantly pawned his phone, went to coworkers houses to borrow money, and spoke gruffly to clients.  He also delayed in getting a background check – a requirement for all staff – saying he had put his ID card as guaranty at the bank.

Management met with him about his behavior and even had to draft a written warning.

One Monday he just didn’t show up to work. He didn’t show up the next day either.  Worried about him, our social worker went to find his home to see if he was ok.

He was a crystal meth abuser, had gone on a binge over the weekend, and was still coming down from the high. 

This story could have been very different and the alternate endings make us feel sick.

But that sick feeling is good if channeled correctly. We channeled that fear of what could have happened from our mistake into learning. We are as convinced as ever that our clients need to be safe and we will do what it takes to ensure they are.

Now, before we hire new staff we have a list of requirements: 1) Two references (one professional and one personal) 2) A background check 3) A character reference from the village chief 4) prospective staff must be willing for us to go make personal inquiries about them in the communities. It’s a lot. But it’s necessary.

And the staff member with the addiction? Our social workers told his family about a rehab facility and he is not getting the help he needs.

We hope others can learn from this too.  Do what it takes to know who you are hiring, especially for those working directly with clients. We’re relieved nothing truly terrible happened and have put systems in place to make sure it never does.

Jul 27, 2016

See How They Grow

Mother's Heart Partnership with Little Lambs Day Care

It is such an amazing opportunity to witness single mothers learn skills and then work to support themselves and their child. That's why Little Lambs Day Care exists, to provide a child care service for single mothers so that they have the opportunity to train and find employment to support themselves and their children.

I have been working as the day care coordinator now for three years and it has been a privilege to see women thriving in their role as mum.  Being a single mother is not easy, but these mothers work hard at it, and do an amazing job. I love watching the mothers return at the end of the day and seeing the children’s face light up as they run to their mothers for a hug. It shows what a great attachment these children have with their mothers. Our children do not have attachment disorders (which is so common in children who grow up in orphanages). This means the children within our day care have a great start to life. They also have the opportunity to be part of our high quality early childhood program as well as receive nutritious meals throughout the day. We have five wonderful highly dedicated Khmer child care workers who provide the children with wonderful learning opportunities. It had been great to watch these workers grow in their understanding of child development and improve their skills in providing an educational early years program.

I remember one little boy who started at our daycare when he was 14 months old.  His mum had been working in the province but had come back to the Phnom Penh for a better training opportunity. When this boy started at daycare it was evident that he was slightly developmentally delayed; he had absolutely no interest in toys or playing and no interest in attempting to walk. He just sat and stared. Through lots of patience and perseverance from the staff we worked closely with him to encourage him to walk and helped him learn to play. Now he is a happy 2 year old child, he loves playing, running around and has caught up developmentally. His mother has almost finished her training course and will soon begin work.

The early years of a child’s life are very important and a high quality early childhood program provides a child with the foundation they need to succeed in school as well as in their life. This year we will have our first child leave us to start school. She will be attending a great local Khmer school.

At the moment the daycare is at full capacity; in our current premise we can only take 20 children. We need a bigger building as well as more childcare workers. It is our hope that we can eventually have 4 rooms for the different age groups, allowing for smaller group sizes and a better program catering for each specific age group.

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