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Ashes to Havens: Building CCF’s Best Home Model to Date

Article by

Puthealin Sok

On March 17, 2019, a blaze in a community in Steung Meanchey, Phnom Penh, left 52 families homeless. “Each house burnt to the ground in just two minutes,” said Mrs. So Soun, while recalling the incident. “My one-week old home turned to ashes in a flash. It shocked the life out of my husband.” With their homes engulfed in flames, most of the families did not have a chance to save any of their belongings.

Fortunately, the community is supported by Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF), an international non-governmental organization whose mission is to transform Cambodia's most impoverished children into tomorrow's leaders. Within hours, CCF received enough aid to offset against the families’ sudden loss of basic necessities. And within weeks, they were able to gain enough resources to rebuild the community, which ISI GROUP is grateful to be able to contribute.

The rebuild, which began in July, shows the construction of metallic stilt houses on the ground once filled with fire-prone makeshift shacks. The new homes are being built upon CCF’s most successful model, with even bigger and bolder concepts. For instance, to prevent or control fire hazards, the separation distances between houses has been increased and brick walls are now being used between the homes. Also, the steel and zinc materials being used are of superior quality and strength, some of which we provided through ISI STEEL, one of our 7 member companies. The building and construction materials we donated for ten houses conforms to international standards, helping to ensure the future safety of the community.

These brand new homes are expected to be finished in mid-October, 2019. “We can’t wait to move into one of the houses that have strong walls and a strong roof to protect us,” said Mrs. Soun while sitting in a temporary shack she and her family have been living in since the fire.

Each new house is equipped with new water, electric power systems and a private bathroom. “The purpose is for people to clean up and refresh from their days of scavenging through piles of waste,” said Mr. Nicky Ward, CCF Grants Manager. “We try to give them privacy in whichever way we can,” he continued.

As the promise of a new home materializes, however, danger still looms in the corner. Literally. “It’s not uncommon to see a python around here, lying just near you,” said Mrs. Soun. “I needed to stop working to stay at home because I’m scared for my children. I don’t know what we’d do if we didn’t have CCF and all the donors,” Mrs. Soun continued.

Giving back to our local communities is the goal of ISI GROUP’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs. Being able to use our expertise to help build a better living for all alongside organisations such as CCF is incredibly humbling and rewarding.

To read about our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs, click here.

To learn more about CCF, visit their website, or follow them on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) for their latest updates.