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Enabling action in Cambodia

New Future for Children

Our Cambodia project
Rachel with two of the children at NFC, Pehn and Ronika.
Rachel with two of the children at NFC, Pehn and Ronika.

New Future for Children (NFC) is a children’s center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, founded in early 2003 to provide for the needs of children ages 2 to 18 who have lost their parents and would otherwise be fending for themselves.

Along with providing housing, three meals a day, clothing and medical care, NFC provides school uniforms and transports students to local schools as well as offering several in-house educational programs. These include classes in English, computer skills, crafts, and traditional Khmer music and dance.

We first heard about NFC through Rachel Lee, a young woman from Sydney who decided she wanted to do something to help others that were less fortunate than her.

Rachel volunteered at NFC in the English classes, helping plan lessons, teach one-on-one and organise activities including painting the walls, a trip to the beach and sports.

“When you walk in the gates, the spirit of the children and staff is overwhelming. Their smiling faces, compassion and eagerness to learn new things and make new friends changes your perspective on everything,” said Rachel. “They are all like one big family, the older children look after the younger ones.”

“Being in Cambodia and working at NFC changed my outlook on life. I appreciate what I have and the people around me more.”

The Centre has two buildings, one for boys and one for girls. Altogether there are nine bedrooms and three bathrooms for almost 60 children. They all sleep on the floor, share clothes, and there is no hot water or flushing toilets.

Rachel talked about one child that left a particular impression. “He had a horrible upbringing, and today still has social and behavioral issues. His mother was in the sex slave industry and sadly, he was the result of an unprotected sexual encounter with a client. The boy grew up with his mother in the brothel and was continually physically, sexually and mentally abused from a very young age. It wasn’t until he was 12 that someone ‘kidnapped’ him from the brothel and found a place for him at NFC.”

Listening to Rachel talk about her experience, we were inspired and compelled to act. Not only to make an impact for the children living at NFC, but to empower Rachel to make use of her passion and inspire others to do the same.

Some of the children living at NFC.
Some of the children living at NFC.

“Being in Cambodia and working at NFC changed my outlook on life. I appreciate what I have and the people around me more. It has made me want to be a better person and help those that are less fortunate than myself,” Rachel said.

NFC survives month by month, and is often in a crisis situation, with not enough funds to sustain their activities. They receive no Government funding, and no funding from any overseas aid organisations. They are completely reliant on donations from individuals.

Since living at NFC, Rachel donates as much as she can afford to support the children that live there. She’s also held fundraisers to encourage others to give.

“After meeting the children and seeing how they live, the area and the poverty in Cambodia, it was heart breaking to think of how lucky we are and how $50 can make a change in their life,” Rachel said.

At The Dragonfly Collective, we seek to empower people like Rachel to work for a better world, which is why we’re sharing her story – hopefully it has helped inspire you.

Rachel Lee was DFC’s first project champion for a more just world.

Please get in touch if you would like to learn more about the project and how you can support it!

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