New Life

Sovannara and PiseySovannara’s family in Phnom Penh is among the 89 home partners who have received a new house under Habitat Cambodia’s Building Homes Building Positive Lives project. Their new brick home has proper sanitation and sits on land with a secure title.

In 2004, Sovannara became ill and tested positive for HIV.  While he was hospitalized his wife left him, but workers from MaryKnoll, the project partner, were able to assist him with health support services.  “I felt like I gained a new life with their help of medicine, a rental room and daily living support.”

Living with HIV has not hindered the couple from persevering, and with housing assistance from Habitat Cambodia, a new secure home became possible.  While they will continue to receive medical support, Habitat’s partnership with Maryknoll opened the opportunity to obtain a decent place to live.  “We have more hope than ever before.  Our house gives us new purpose and new life,” Sovannara exclaimed.

“I am an orphan. My parents died when I was still young and I was supported by one organization in Phnom Penh. When I turned 18 years old I decided to leave to seek work in the province. I met someone and got married. My first wife and I did not have any child but unfortunately, in 2004 I found out that I had HIV. I got very ill and could not do anything. My wife could not understand what I was going through and she decided to abandon me in one hospital in Phnom Penh. Luckily, MaryKnoll came to my rescue. Their social workers helped me out,” Sovannara recalled.

Sovannara felt like he gained a new life when he received aid. Good news followed.

He met his second wife named Pisey, who is also a patient, and supported by MaryKnoll. After getting married in 2006, MaryKnoll bought one motorcycle for Sovannara in order to help him start anew as a “moto-dop” (motor taxi driver) and be able to support his family on his own. With his increased self-sufficiency, the couple no longer needed financial support from MaryKnoll.

2010 marked another positive turning point in his life. Except for the medical support, MaryKnoll has stopped providing support to his family as he has become more self-sufficient. HIV did not hinder Sovannara and his wife Pisey from living with hope. Their perseverance and faithfulness made them more worthy to receive their own new house. “We have more hope! Our house gives us new hope and new life,” Sovannara excitedly exclaimed.

Habitat Cambodia purchased a secure land with a secure land title to build a safe, decent house with sanitation facilities. MaryKnoll will continue to provide medical and consultation support.