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Habitat for Humanity Supports Families Living With HIV In Cambodia

December 1, 2011


Som Chenda, her brother and sister-in-law standing in front of their new Habitat house.


SINGAPORE, 1st December 2011: Today, on World Aids Day, Habitat for Humanity recognizes the harsh realities of day-to-day existence for people living with HIV, intensified for those without a decent place to live.

Since starting its program to assist people living with HIV in May 2010, Habitat for Humanity Cambodia has supported 183 families to secure safe and decent homes in Prey Veng, Kandal and Phnom Penh provinces.

Som Chenda*, 41, found out she was HIV positive in 2000. She is a mother to five children, and one of the people that Habitat for Humanity has been working with in Cambodia: “Where I lived previously, my family and I were subjected to unkind discrimination. We could never eat outside our home as people were uncomfortable to eat near us. Parents used to tell their children not to play with mine at school.”

Chenda used to live with her family by a river in a district on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city. Her house would often flood and the roof leak. Earlier this year, with Habitat for Humanity’s assistance, she has moved in to a house in Dangkor district, to the west of Phnom Penh. Chenda lives in this home with her husband, who is also HIV positive and her sister-in-law.

“I have hope for my children. Now that I have a house, I know that my children will have a house when I am gone. And because I no longer have to pay rent, I am able to save money for their future,” continues Chenda.

Habitat for Humanity works with partner organizations equally committed to improving the lives of people living with HIV in Cambodia. These partner organizations help to secure the land on which houses are built, provide families with medical assistance and develop livelihood opportunities in order to provide a holistic support service to home-partner families.

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Cambodia is amongst the highest in Asia, with an estimated 63,000 people living with HIV in Cambodia. There are an estimated 4.9 million people in Asia living with HIV, with the large majority in South and Southeast Asia.

* not her real name

Habitat for Humanity Cambodia works with the following partners to deliver the ‘Enhancing HIV / Orphans and Vulnerable Children Program with Holistic Housing Solutions (EHOPHHS)’ program:

  • Save the Children
  • Sharing Experience for Adapted Development
  • Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE
  • Khemara