Building Homes, Building Positive Lives

Habitat for Humanity Cambodia continues to build on its 30 months of experience in serving families and orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) infected and affected by HIV/Aids through its second HIV, OVC-focused housing project, Building Homes, Building Positive Lives.

The 2-year project that started in May 2012 is funded by HFH Australia and aims to serve 140 vulnerable families from peri-urban villages in Phnom Penh and Kandal province through improved shelter security, improved water and sanitation and by providing livelihood opportunities. This project involves a broad partnership with MaryKnoll, an NGO that provides expert medical and psychosocial support for PLWHA and OVC. The intergration of shelter into HIV/Aids programming reinforces the importance of the catalytic role that housing plays in turning lives around through secure housing, providing a level of protection especially among children and women. It also enables families to use their homes for micro enterprise activities and enhances families’ living condition, providing them security from floods during the monsoons and better access to water and sanitation facilities.

From its inception, the project has served 11 families like Thouen Visal-19 years old-who, since July, is finally reunited and living with his siblings in his new house and are together starting to build on the stronger hope that they gained upon owning their house. “I am very happy we now have our own house; my brothers and I are now starting to learn to save for our needs and especially for our little sister’s. I have stronger hope that we will have a better chance in life with our new home,” said Visal Visal and his siblings have been living apart since they were orphaned because of HIV/Aids and were supported by MaryKnoll through its foster care program. They moved to live in Phnom Penh under MaryKnoll’s care where they were able to continue their education, provided food and shared a decent shelter with other children who were also under the same program. As they grew, they had to be separated from each other to live with other orphans of the same age and gender.

With the building and provision of their own home, Visal and his siblings continue to receive psycho-social support and guidance especially his brother who is infected with HIV, who continues to undergo regular Anti-retroviral Treatments. These interventions help to build positive lives.