The Cambodian SOS Children's Village Association was founded in 2000. The organisation first started working with children without parental care in the capital city of Phnom Penh. Due to the high levels of poverty and deprivation in the country, the organisation has continued to grow and now supports children, young people and families in six locations in Cambodia.
Ratanakiri is located in the northeast of the country. It is notorious for its jungles, where the Khmer Rouge used to have their hideouts. Most people here earn their living as farmers or as workers in the rubber and cashew plantations. The education level is low and the plantation labourers live under very poor conditions. Their children do not have access to basic services such as health care and education; many of them are malnourished. In addition, there are many orphaned or abandoned children in need of long-term family-based care. During a meeting with SOS Children's Village president Helmut Kutin, Prime Minister Hun Sen requested the organisation to build an SOS Children's Village in this part of the country. The government provided the piece of land for free.
SOS Children's Village Ratanakiri consists of ten family houses, co-worker accommodation, the village director's house, a house for the so-called SOS aunts (family helpers who support the SOS mothers and fill in for them when they are on leave), a community building and an administration and service area. An additional two family houses will be used as a nutrition clinic for malnourished children. There is also an SOS Kindergarten with three classrooms for up to 90 children both from the SOS Children's Village and from its neighbourhood.
A family strengthening programme will be designed to provide an appropriate package of measures to help the plantation workers and their families. The programme will include the nutrition clinic mentioned above, a day-care facility and the kindergarten.