In Cambodia, there are over 70,000 people living with HIV/AIDS and because of their illness many face discrimination and daily challenges around accessing housing and basic services. Visal and his wife Nat, who are both HIV-positive have experienced these struggles for many years.
At the age of 16, Visal had to leave school to help his family make a living by growing rice. In 1997, he moved to Phnom Penh where he met Nat and also worked as a security guard at a garment factory.
Visal, now 37 years old, works as a tuk tuk driver where he earns about $250AUD a month. With an unsteady income, they struggled to pay the rent for the small room where they stayed and had to move into Nat’s sister’s home.
“It was not easy living in the small house with so many people,” Nat said. Despite this, she kept a positive spirit adding, “We were living happily because our hearts were not small like our house.”
With a dream to build their own home, they borrowed money from the bank to buy a small plot of land next to Nat’s sister’s home. But with no savings left, they were unable to afford the building supplies and materials needed.
Visal and Nat were selected as one of the families under Habitat for Humanity’s New Start, New Life project. New Start, New Life is a three year project that began in April 2016 that seeks to improve the living conditions of vulnerable families in Cambodia by providing secure land and housing as well as access to clean water, sanitation and livelihood training.
“Habitat has made our dream come true. We have nothing to give back but we just put our palms together and thank the volunteers deeply for coming over just to build a house for us.”
With the support of our donors and volunteers, we are working with 78 vulnerable families like Visal’s including persons living with or impacted by HIV/AIDS, the elderly and child-headed households, to provide access to safe and decent homes. Your support is also enabling us to work with 120 households to gain improved access to water, sanitation, and hygiene and livelihood opportunities. Thank you for making an impact.
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