We build traditional wooden Khmer-style houses for some of Cambodia’s poorest people. We are based in Siem Reap, in Cambodia’s north-west, and most of the homes we build are in rural areas surrounding the popular tourist city. We target the communes and villages with high poverty and where few other organisations operate. Much of our work is done about 25 kilometres outside the city.
Poverty rates are high in rural Cambodia, where many people are still living on less than $1 a day. In many cases the housing is rudimentary at best and many homes are fragile structures with palm frond walls and dirt floors. Many do not survive the severe rainstorms.
In contrast, our houses are solid and designed to last at least 15 years. The houses we build are four metres by five metres, with concrete footings, wooden sides and floorboards and a tin roof. They include one enclosed room and one room with open sides. The space underneath the house is often used as a daily living and cooking area.
Each house takes about four days to build and on the fifth day a Khmer house blessing ceremony is held before the family moves into it. We employ three builders, who work under the supervision of our founder, Sinn Meang, and all are capable at leading a build and instructing volunteers.
The impacts of inadequate housing can take its toll on families. We see children who don’t go to school and many health problems through lack of sanitation or secure housing and sleeping arrangements.
Our impact assessments have shown the difference a safe, dry and secure house can make to a family. People are given some hope, they sleep better and the children go to school.
We access the poorest families with the help of our social worker, RORM, who conducts thorough assessments before signing a family up for a new house. He works with village and commune chiefs and checks referrals from other NGOs. We require the families we support to own their own land and to be free of debt to ensure there is no chance they can be evicted by the landowner or have the house taken by debt collectors.
We could not do this important work without the help of our wonderful volunteers and donors. We cannot thank you enough for your support.
*Please note that house builds only start when there are enough volunteers and their combined fees make up the project costs. Builds/voluntary work will still go ahead with just one volunteer, but might include installing a well or building a toilet.
If you would like to change lives, please make a donation, or contact us about volunteering to build a house.
A HOUSE BUILD COSTS US$3,000