When Ming Oun’s young daughter, Rotana, became pregnant, Rotana thought she could raise her child and help out her mum at home. But just two months after the birth, Rotana realized she was not ready to be a mother. Neither she nor her equally young partner was mature enough to take on the responsibility of looking after the baby. The care of the baby boy was increasingly left to his working grandmother, Ming Oun.
Mother’s Heart staff spoke with Ming Oun to let her know she had their support if she wanted to raise her grandson, but if this was too much for her then she also had the option of placing him in a different family. Ming Oun took some time to think about it. She was the sole provider for herself, Rotana and her grandson, as well as paying off a heavy debt left by her ex-husband. Could she afford to raise her grandson?
Ming Oun’s answer, when it came, was simple: “I cannot live without my grandson.” With funding support from USAID through Save the Children, Mother’s Heart was able to offer Ming Oun day-care services for her grandson, as well as formula, diapers, and a food allowance. With this material support, as well as her own love for her grandson, Ming Oun was eager to take on the role of primary caretaker. During the day, her grandson stays at the Mother’s Heart day care center while Ming Oun earns a small amount of income collecting recyclable waste on the streets of Phnom Penh. The Mother’s Heart food allowance is helping to provide enough food for her grandson to make sure he grows up healthy and strong.
Despite her difficult life, Ming Oun remains cheerful and optimistic, and it is clear to see how much her grandson loves her. She just wants to be close to him. She tells Mother’s Heart, “This child is the reason I live.”