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Meet the Sophanna family | Dignity in the future 

The Sophanna family could see the clouds coming. They were threatening to rain again. On wet days like these, they would escape to their relative’s house to avoid the constant leaks. All five family members consisting of the parents and their three children lived in a small cottage that used to house pigs. 

The family scraped together enough money to support the family but there wasn’t much left for anything else, let alone a safe, secure home. The husband worked as a construction worker earning just US$5 a day. His wife stayed home to care for their three young sons. When she could, she would sell fish, frogs, crabs or vegetables and make around US$3 a day.

A family of four stand in front of a delapidated hut where they used to live.
The Sophanna family stand in front of their old, insecure house which used to be used for housing pigs.

Their insecure income became even more tenuous when the husband suddenly became seriously ill. For two months, he stayed in the hospital and couldn’t work or support his family. His wife took on the burden of earning and supporting the entire family while her husband was receiving treatment. 

During this difficult time, the Sophanna family partnered with Habitat for Humanity Cambodia to help build a new house. In March 2022, their new home was completed. It’s large enough for the whole family; it has a door and can withstand bad weather. 

The husband was so overjoyed by the house that he asked his doctor if he could leave the hospital to visit. When he finally saw the new house, he was overwhelmed. “When I die, I can close my eyes properly as my wife and my sons have a safe place to live now,” said the husband. He went back to the hospital for a week before coming back home again for a visit. He stayed there for two days until his illness took a turn for the worse and sadly, he passed away. 

The wife had to shoulder the responsibility of caring for the whole family again after the loss of her husband. The difference now is she doesn’t have to worry about her house, and she can put more focus on her children. She plans on starting up a small business selling children’s clothes with help from a microgrant next year. 

A woman sits with her three sons inside their new home. She's smiling as she holds her youngest child.
The Sophanna family without their husband and father. They sit safe and secure in their new home.

“Thank you very much for the invaluable home which enables us to go through life with dignity in the future,” said the wife. 

This project receives support from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) and is in partnership with our implementing partner Habitat for Humanity Cambodia to provide access to safe shelter. 

Read more stories like this here.