Housing is a basic human need. In rural Cambodia, so many lack a proper roof over their heads and walls to protect their families. To many of us, a house made of palm fronds and plastic sheeting would be unfathomable – to be constantly wet when it rains and your children and family exposed and unprotected is a deep-seated discomfort. Unfortunately, this is the reality for over 35% of Cambodians.
Family by family, Operation Hope Foundation is trying to change this. Operation Hope has, over time, developed an excellent house model that serves rural Cambodians very well. It is a wooden house with a zinc roof that is elevated off the ground to ensure they are protected from the weather and the elements. It is spacious and provides a safe haven and truly a home for these families.
House Building Programme
OHF’s house building programme in Prey Veng, Cambodia is well accepted by the community. The villagers appreciate that we do not use the cheaper zinc materials for the walls and roof. They also like the “cooling” wooden floors and walls.
The programme starts with detailed surveys to identify the poorest of the poor. Photos of their current house and details of their income are recorded and submitted for management approval. The house building selection is also approved by the village and commune chiefs. We have our own team of dedicated and honest staff on the ground to carry out the project.
One grandmother said that with the new houses, her neighbours would come and visit her more and that she is not as lonely as before. No longer ashamed that their friends would see their decrepit shack, one mother also said that her children stopped skipping school.
One villager shared how she wrapped herself in plastic whenever it rained and often fell sick during the rainy season. Poor health leads to medical expenses which she can ill afford. As daily rated labourers, poor health also leads to a reduced income. Her children were shy to show their classmates the ramshackle shack which is their house.
It is for these reasons that OHF started a house building programme in Cambodia. OHF house building programme has brought joy, hope and self-esteem to hundreds of poor villagers.