Mother’s Heart Organization (MHO) is a registered local NGO that is the first and currently the only crisis pregnancy centre in Cambodia. MHO, was founded in 2010 in response to a research that showed one in five women in the country had unwanted or unplanned pregnancies.
Through the years, MHO have seen many women from all walks of life. Their stories are all different but there is one thing each woman has in common: they are in the midst of a crisis. Many have faced horrible physical and/or sexual violence. In 2020, 29% of the women who came to MHO for support were rape survivors.
In Cambodia, there are high levels of stigma and discrimination against single pregnant women. This can result in barriers to accessing essential health care, putting these women/girls and their babies at risk. These risks include stillbirths, pregnancy complications, low birth weights of babies and maternal and infant deaths. There are also higher rates of death and health complications due to unsafe abortion when women are unaware of other alternatives. MHO’s mission is to empower, equip and educate these women, girls and their families by providing ongoing case management, counselling and support services to overcome these barriers. Therefore, MHO plays an important role in the health sector
Without support, vulnerable women and girls facing crisis pregnancy can also be in risk of social isolation. This is a result of a higher likelihood of school dropout or loss of employment, family separation and community ostracization, which is debilitating in Cambodia’s communal society.
There is then a greater risk of child abandonment, institutionalisation, or trafficking. Therefore, MHO actively works to reunify families if possible and make sure that children are protected. This includes partnering with other child protection agencies who offer foster and kinship care services.
Samnang. was born pre-maturely in June, just three days after his mother, Dara, had entered our Crisis Pregnancy Support program. His mother was very weak, severely malnourished, and, at seven and a half months in her pregnancy, we found out that she had not undergone a proper and complete antenatal care.
When he was born, Samnang was immediately placed in the ICU because his vital organs weren’t functioning well. He spent the first 11 days of his life surrounded by beeping machines and apparatus attached to his frail body while his mother could not hold him yet. Watching from a distance, It was difficult for Dara to think about her baby spending the first days of his life like this. But, we are thanking God for His gift of miracles, and celebrating the angels on earth who helped our little Samnang pull through.
He is now out of danger and already at home with his mother. Both of them are doing well, and we are hopeful that with our continued support, Samnang will continue to reach his developmental milestones and his mother, Dara, will be on her way towards her own healing and stability.
“My heart was breaking as I watched my son alone in a room with wires attached to his tiny body. But thanks to you, my baby and I made it through. I am in gratitude for Mother’s Heart, and to the people who are helping Mother’s Heart help women like me.”