Supporting Women through Crisis Pregnancy

by Mother's Heart
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Supporting Women through Crisis Pregnancy
Supporting Women through Crisis Pregnancy
Supporting Women through Crisis Pregnancy
Supporting Women through Crisis Pregnancy
Supporting Women through Crisis Pregnancy
Supporting Women through Crisis Pregnancy
Supporting Women through Crisis Pregnancy
Supporting Women through Crisis Pregnancy
Supporting Women through Crisis Pregnancy
Supporting Women through Crisis Pregnancy
Supporting Women through Crisis Pregnancy
Supporting Women through Crisis Pregnancy
Supporting Women through Crisis Pregnancy

Greetings to everyone!

Mother’s Heart Organization is excited to share with you our 2021 Annual Report. Many young, single mothers and their babies are alive and thriving today because of your generosity. Babies receive strong and safe beginnings in life when their mothers access our program and receive quality maternal health care they need. 

We continue to receive referrals of teenage pregnancies resulting from rape. Girls like Morokot, who experienced a trauma at a very young age. With the involvement of our community partners and partner-organizations, we are providing girls like Morokot who experienced trauma at a young age,  support and services they need with consideration to their specialized needs such as trauma counselling, quality maternal care and delivery, legal assistance, a safe shelter, among others. We are happy to report that the perpetrator in Morokot’s case is now serving jail time. Morokot, on the other hand, has since given birth. She continues to receive counselling and emotional support in a safe and secure environment where she can heal and recover from the trauma and take the next steps towards her future. 

Between July to September, nine (9) women and girls entered our program. Currently, we have a total of 64 women and girls in the Phnom Penh and Battambang programs, many of them who, like Morokot, are still children themselves (under 17). With the involvement of our partners, we were able to provide receive quality maternal health care and support services with special considieration to their age and circumstances. During this period, we had nine (9) babies born in our program, including twin boys. 

We also have six children benefitting from our daycare services in Phnom Penh while their mothers or caregivers are away at work, or attending vocational skills training. Often, these young mothers have no supportive family and the daycare provides them a safe and nurturing place for their children. 

Records show that all the beneficiaries in our program are healthy. During this period, the women and girls and their children/babies didn’t encounter any major health issues and there are no underweight or malnourished children. On the women’s and girls’ side, we observed that when they have spent time with our social workers and other partners (counsellors) over time, we can see a marked improvement in their behaviors and attitudes. Attachment to their babies is becoming more evident and they are opening up themselves, bravely asking questions about babies, caring for babies as well as their own health. They’ve become more confident, and their demeanor changed. Many of them opted to avail of the vocational skills training offered with the hope of learning skills that would allow them to earn incomes without leaving their babies and their villages. Some, especially the younger ones, have returned to schools or have expressed their keen interest in returning to school once they feel they are deemed ready.

Based on our records, we can say that we have success in ensuring that every woman, girl, and child in our program are safe and thriving. And this wouldn’t be possible without your continued support.  We are privileged to be able to continue serving our community through your generous gifts and belief in our mission. Should you have any questions, suggestions or feedback, please email us at communications@mothersheartcambodia.org, or follow us on Facebook. Thank you again!

Team Mother’s Heart

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Story time with kids.
Story time with kids.

Dear Friends and Supporters,

The first six months of 2022 brought about a heartbreaking challenge to Mother’s Heart’s funds. Despite the funding challenges, we are pleased to share what we have accomplished through your generous support.

Quick update:
At the moment, we have a total of 75 women and 71 babies and children in our Crisis Pregnancy Support program. Thirty-three (33) women have jobs, seven are undertaking vocational training, and nine others with their own home-based businesses. Ten of their children are enjoying Mother’s Heart daycare whilst their mothers work or study.

Phanith* is one of those children who greatly benefit from Mother’s Heart’s daycare service. Her mother, Vuthy*, entered the program when she was eight months pregnant with Phanith. Vuthy is a young woman that has an intellectual disability which meant that she needed support to develop her skills and abilities so that she can take care of her child as well as to live indendently.  Months after giving birth to Phanith,  Mother's Heart supported her by providing her access to vocational skills training. It wasn’t easy but Mother’s Heart was able to find a job for her.

Once Vuthy started work, Phanith was placed in Mother’s Heart daycare centre.  Before daycare, she had spent her time at home but with not much stimulation or anyone to play with. Being at daycare meant that she could spend her time in a warm, caring and stimulating environment. With encouragement from the daycare staff, Phanith  started to build confidence and she took in everything around her learning fast.

Phanith has just turned four and is a bright girl with a real love for learning.  She is thriving in the daycare environment. She has a caring heart and loves looking out for the younger children and playing with them. She also has developed leadership skills amongst the other children, leading them in imaginary play.

Vuthy was happy to hear the feedback from the day care staff. “The day care centre is a big help for me. I have no relatives and I have no one to leave my daughter with when I go to work. The day care staff told me that Phanith loves  singing, and listening to stories. She can also recite ABCs and count one to ten in English! I am happy that my child is not only in a safe place but she is also in place where she is learning a lot. Thank you for taking care of both of us.

Note: Names have been changed to protect their identities.

Teenage pregnancy on the rise:
Many girls in our program have been under 18. These strong and courageous girls are still children themselves. Working and supporting these girls is a great challenge as Cambodia still has a long way to go in terms of resources and support for girls and their children in this circumstance. We work closely with their relatives/caregivers and community partners to support these girls with parenting and health decisions to ensure they have a stable life.  Mother's Heart is also currently working on getting a ChildSafe Organization accreditation. And we are able to do these thanks to your support.

Moving forward:
The days ahead we have restructured to be more effective efficient and sustainable. We are so excited to see new growth and a wonderful future for our beneficiaries.

In the next half of 2022, we now have space to provide another 18 extremely vulnerable pregnant women safe delivery and a hopeful future for them and their babies.

We’d like to thank you all of you for continuing to support Mother’s Heart Organization. Please continue to walk alongside Mother’s Heart. Together, we can reach out to more women and girls in crisis.


Gratefully yours,
Team Mother's Heart

MH midwife performs routine check on a baby
MH midwife performs routine check on a baby
Monthly food assistance to beneficiaries.
Monthly food assistance to beneficiaries.
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A young beneficiary on one of her ANC check ups.
A young beneficiary on one of her ANC check ups.

Dear donors, supporters, and friends,

It’s always a pleasure to share Mother’s Heart Organization’s report to all of you.

At the end of 2021, Mother’s Heart has a total of 109 women and 96 babies and children in our Crisis Pregnancy Support Program in our Battambang and Phnom Penh offices. Fifty (52) of these women and girls entered our program in 2021, and we also have  a total of 43 babies born during this year. We have had in our program many girls under 18 who were pregnant. These strong, courageous young girls face many physical and emotional challenges. But we know it is such a privilege to be able to support and walk along side them through their crisis through your generous support to us via GlobalGiving. Working with very young mothers who are still children themselves prove to be a greater challenge and Cambodia still has a great way to go in terms of supporting children in this circumstance. We work closely with the girls' parents, relatives, or caretakers, and take into consideration their decisions regarding their health and parenting choices, what they want and what they need in order for them to have a stable life with additional support from our partners in the community.

One of the examples of community working together is the number of women (and their children) that were reintegrated to their families during this period. This period we have seen that our family mediation efforts are paying off. We are happy to see the women and their babies (who were in foster care) return to their families (four cases) and welcomed back into their ommunities and, at the same time, their return to their families mean foster mothers can accept new babies while their mothers are still undecided or are unprepared to parent for the time being.

The commune leaders such as the commune chiefs and the members of the commune committee for women and children have also stepped up in their involvement in Mother’s Hearts reintegration activities. Not only that, they were also instrumental in the procurement of civil documents for the women in our program, such as birth certificates, family books, and also in securing ID cards for the women to have access to the government’s COVID-19 subsidy. Our goal for the coming years is to secure these government ID cards for all the women in our program before they leave our care so that they are able to access government subsidies and assistances on their own.

We have also seen some cases of women slowly taking steps towards empowerment, especially our more complicated cases of beneficiaries who have disabilities. With our partner NGOs, these women and girls received specialised support and intervention. In addition, and one of the important things for Mother’s Heart Organization, we are working on our Child Safety Organization accreditation. We expect to undergo the Child Safety Training and Audit in the first quarter of 2022.

COVID-19 continues to pose a challenge in our operations (four of our frontline staff fell ill with COVID-19 in the second half of 2021), we had to find reative solutions, and managed to do so, to continue serving our beneficiaries especially during this time. Three of them were taken to the government-assigned treatment facilities in the city while one was given the go-signal to have home quarantine/treatment. It took them at least a month before they were allowed to return to their homes and work.  Operations in the office returned to normal only in November, 2021. However, the number of staff allowed to go back the office on any given day is still limited (there is a schedule), so were the number of visitors and beneficiaries due to the concerns about the omicron variant.

Our Annual Report for 2021 is currently being processed. We will be including stories of women exemplifying empowerment in this report so please watch out for it.  In the meantime, we welcome you to check out our Annual Report for 2020, if you haven’t already.

We’d like to thank you all of you for continuing to suport Mother’s Heart Organization. Without your support in 2020, we wouldn’t be able to suport all 109 women and 96 babies and children during this difficult time of COVID-19 pandemic.  Please continue to walk alongside us this year 2022.



With gratitude,


Team Mother's Heart

Our midwife performs routine infant check.
Our midwife performs routine infant check.
Our staff in Battambang province on a house visit.
Our staff in Battambang province on a house visit.
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Family reconciliation
Family reconciliation

Dear supporters and friends near and far: These are challenging times for us all, and we hope you’re in good spirits and health!

 As COVID-19 continues to impact our everyday life, we thank you for your continuing support to Mother's Heart. We are doing everything possible to sustain daily operations and provide services to our beneficiaries and, at the same time, ensure they, and ourselves, are safe and healthy.

Although we have been quiet in the social media for a while, we are currently supporting 88 women and 78 children and babies. Five women entered our program in September and three babies were born. At the moment, there are also nine pregnant women waiting for delivery in the coming weeks.

There are four women in our women’s home (shelter) while three more women are in the care/shelter of our partner organization in Phnom Penh. Because most of the mothers are still unable to go back to work, we only have five children in our day care. When the country reopens and returns to normal in the near future, we are expecting more children in the day care. A total of 27 women are receiving receiving support in the form of monthly food packages (consisting of rice, canned goods, etc., plus sanitation items) and modest stipends (to help with their utilities). In addition, a partner organization in Battambang province is also supporting five of our beneficiaries there.

Despite the setback in the progress made by the women in our program due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the first six months of the year, we have seen cases of women whose families’ attitude and behavior towards their daughters' (being single and pregnant, or single mothers) have slowly changed towards understanding and acceptance.

One case is Marady (not her real name) and her baby who were recently reunited with her family after months of being indifferent and not wanting to communicate with her. Convincing her family, especially her father, was difficult. But in each meeting spanning more than 12 months, our social workers, counsellors, and our partners from the Phnom Penh social affairs department and the commune council for women and children had been really helpful in counselling and mediating between Marady and her family members.

When our team officially closed her case, her case workers met with her one last time and gave her a good send off.  She is now with her family, looking healthier and happier, and keeping herself busy in their family's business, while her parents and other family members are doting over her baby.

There is also Mony, a shy 15- year old girl who survived a traumatic experience in her young life that resulted in her crisis pregnancy. With Mother's Heart's support, she delivered a healthy baby boy and continues to receive support and services to complete her healing and recovery.

Due to her young age, the financial hardships of her family, and the stigma from villagers, Mony's baby was initially placed in a temporary foster care. Three months later, Mony was reunited with her baby, and Mother's Heart was there every step of the way working behind the scenes to ensure Mony and her baby have the support, protection, and care they needed for the reunification. However, Mony's story is far from over. Mother's Heart's social worker and counsellor continue to work with her to help her deal with the traumatic experience, and to follow through and provide support to her immediate and long-term needs.

All of these would not be possible without your support to our organization. On behalf of the women and children in our care, we thank you for your generous support to Mother’s Heart. There are countless other girls and women in Cambodia, like Marady and Mony, who have no access to crisis pregnancy services. Your donations to Mother’s Heart will give more vulnerable girls and women in crisis pregnancies access to critical support and services they need to heal, recover, and achieve stability for their and their babies’ future together.

Reintegration. Making sure the baby is accepted.
Reintegration. Making sure the baby is accepted.
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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
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Organization Information

Mother's Heart

Location: Phnom Penh - Cambodia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @MHOCambodia
Project Leader:
Zarah Jane Rushworth
Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh Cambodia
$190,816 raised of $350,000 goal
 
1,106 donations
$159,184 to go
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