The Ou Ambel Church Orphan Home is located in the Northwest town of Sway, in the Bantemeanchy Province.Bantemeanchy means “Camp of Victory” and was a strategic site in the long struggle with the Khmer Rouge. Located at the junction of two major highways, this area was the scene of fierce fighting. During the excavation of the Ou Ambel Home in 2002, several unexploded bombs were found.
This is the heart of the rice producing region of Cambodia, and is generally a flat rice paddy with an occasional mountain scattered throughout the landscape. Phnom Thom or “Large Mountain” is visible from the Ou Ambel Home although it is less than 1000 feet high. Malaria, landmines, childbirth complications, along with poor healthcare contribute to the large orphan population in this area. An average of two people per day become casualties of landmines in Cambodia, and this is one of the most heavily mined regions in the country.
A typical day begins as the children awake. Before eating breakfast, the orphans participate in devotions. The school age children either attend classes in the morning or in the late afternoon. After lunch, most of the orphans take naps, play, study, and take classes in the home. Later, they eat dinner, take care of the homes’ garden and plants, and attend an English class in the home. The Ou Ambel family orphans finish each day gathering for church devotions, before setting up their mosquito nets and going to sleep.