Heather E. Connell
“In 2009, I met a remarkable little boy named Sumnamg while working on a media project in Siem Reap. Sumnamg had Cerebral Palsy and was confined to a bed, unable to move on his own or communicate his needs. The idea for Safe Haven was inspired by my relationship with Sumnamg and a desire to be able to provide him access to the medical and therapeutic resources he needed to improve his quality of life. I’m so thankful for my dedicated staff who have worked to help build Safe Haven Medical Outreach from the ground up.”
“It has been a pleasure and a challenge to take on the role of Safe Haven Country Director in early 2014. As an organization, we have grown and matured, with clearer-than-ever goals for children and families and more collaborative and coordinated strategies for meeting those goals. Staff skills continue to develop in their areas of concentration, such as social work and physiotherapy, and we have also focused on expanding their skills in the areas of child development, communication, and understanding of early intervention. I am immensely proud of Safe Haven’s development as an organization, and staff’s dedication to the families we serve.”
“It was love at first sight with Safe Haven- the staff, their work, their compassion. I am an American pediatric physiotherapist with 30 years of experience and from the beginning, it was clear that Safe Haven was providing best practice in physical therapy- services that are family centered, functional and meaningful to the child, with strong communication, collaboration and planning- and the success and progress is evident.”
Physiotherapy Trainer/IECD Project Manager
“Striving to consider disability holistically, I studied physical therapy and public health at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. When I graduated in 2016, I started working with children in a multidisciplinary clinic where I learned even more about the social importance of adaptive play and parental support. Now at Safe Haven, I can visit our families in their homes—even if they’re 4 hours away—alongside teammates who specialize not only in rehab therapy but also medical care and family support. Every day we passionately work together making the most of limited resources to provide family-centered care.”
“My name is Sopheary and I am working for Safe Haven as Interventionist. I really like and so happy to do that because my job is amazing, my work teach me how to help them with physical therapy and occupational therapy and I can see our children progress and see the happiness in their family. It’s a great job that I can help children with disabilities in my country to encourage them and tell them that I love them, they’re not alone anymore.
I don’t have money or other things to donate to my organization, but I can donate my hard work, my love, my heart. I want to help them improve the future of children.
I love my work so much and I hope can work for Safe Haven for long time.”
“I studied to be a nurse and midwife, and after I graduated, I worked as a school nurse in a preschool and primary school for two years. I came to work at Safe Haven because I’m ready for a new experience.
My job with children with disabilities is very interesting to me because it is my first time to do this kind of work and I am learning a lot about disabilities. I will use all my experience and knowledge to help these children and their families to be healthy. I will educate them about health and hygiene because I believe that education is the key to change.”
“I graduated from Cambodia University Specialty (CUS) in 2005 on Management of Business Administration degree. After graduation, I worked for Shanti Volunteer Association (SVA) 2 years as working on non-formal education projects in Kampong Thom, Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap Province. I worked as a social worker with Kalyan Mith nearly one year helping to reintegrate children with their families, get them back into school and provide vocational support training to the families. I really feel proud to work with families with kids with disabilities. I am happy to help educate the family understand about rights for children with disability and encourage the family to nurture a positive child.”
“Safe Haven is my first job. I graduated with degree Faculty of Public Health major in Nursing at Angkor University. I was an intern at Siem Reap Provincial Hospital. I also interned at Handicap International where I focused on Mother and Child health. I want to help parents look after and understand their children with disabilities, provide care, and good hygiene. I really love my position as a nurse and I expect to work for Safe Haven for a long time.”
“My name is Rany and I am graduated from Build Bright University (BBU) in Siem Reap city in 2017 of Business Administration degree. I worked for another non-profit for 5 years as an English Teacher.
In 2019, I began working for Safe Haven as Interventionist. I really like my job and I’m very happy because my job is really amazing, I like helping parents to better care and understand about their children with disabilities. I help to provide and educate parents with play therapy and skills for taking care of their children. I really love my position as a Junior Interventionist and I expect to work for Safe Haven for a long time.”
“My name is Chan. Safe Haven is my first experience working with children with disability. When I graduated from high school, I chose to apply to the interventionist position at Safe Haven. I had researched about Safe Haven and saw the photos about the kids and the help the Safe Haven team was giving. I wanted to be part of that too. Seeing kids having fun and getting healthy and feeling love from us. It was a dream to educate the parents about how special their children are. Now my dream has come true: I am part of the Safe Haven team that and I expected to work with Safe Haven for long time.”
“Working with children can follow what you want them to do and helping them to learn new things is good but what about children with disabilities? How can we help them to enjoy their life?
Being able to help these kids is way exciting. As a brand new physiotherapist who just graduated from school, I’ve learnt a lot while working at Safe Haven as a physiotherapist. I love to see Safe Haven kids enjoy their life like other kids. It’s heartwarming. I loved to see their smiles.”
“My name is Kosin. I am 28 years old and I started working for Safe Haven as a Disability tuk tuk driver in 2019, I love to be able to help a lot of children with disabilities. I was trained and promoted to Physiotherapy Assistant in November of 2020. I really love this position because I can grow in my knowledge and ability working with Safe Haven’s Leadership and PT Teams.”
“My name is Sreythea, I have over 10 years’ experience in social work from several different NGOs in Cambodia. I enjoy working with children and their families to support and strengthen those who are in need of social services. As a part of multi-disciplinary team at Safe Haven we have to make sure children are protected and meet their daily needs by supporting the family. I love this job very much because it fits my dream since I was young to help and support vulnerable children and their families in the community.”
“My name Sopheaktra, I graduated from Build Bright University Major Law and Societies. My experience includes work for these CWPD working on HIV/AID. I continued to learn about and work in Child Protection with Friends-International Kaliyan Mith Program Siem Reap. I have been happy to work with vulnerable street children and marginalized youth to help them to be functional and productive. In 2018 I worked as a social worker at Terre Des Hommes Netherlands working with children victims of sexual exploitation. In 2021 I had the opportunity to join Safe Haven as a social worker. I am very happy to be a part of the amazing team in Safe Haven, the team provides me a lot of knowledge and experience about children with disabilities and I can also share my experience.”
“It was not until I did my internship at Kantha Bopha in Phnom Penh that I realized how important it is for children to have access to adequate medical care in Cambodia. When I see their smiles, it makes everything worthwhile and warms my heart. After I graduated, I found my place at Safe Haven. I’m grateful to be part of Safe Haven’s mission to improve the quality of life for children with disabilities. Oftentimes this group of population is rarely a topic discussed daily, but they deserve to have more attention. My commitment is to provide primary care to children with disabilities and spread more positive knowledge to reduce the stigma about them. I’m so privileged to be part of their recovering journey.”
Veng Pich Bopha
“My name is Bopha, my dream is to do something to help the people. I worked as a Cashier and Service for the hotel and restaurant for 7 years. I started to feel that my work is just for work it didn’t make me feel giving help to the people. Thanks to Safe Haven Organization that offer me a chance to work. I help the operation of the organization financial, documents of the organization involved with the government law and all of the documents for Safe Haven operation. I have learned a lot from my team to support and provide help to disability children and family. Seeing those people smile by our activity is what makes me so proud. I will use all of my knowledge and skill to educate people to understand that Love and Sharing is a really important part of life.”
Child Care Specialist
“I studied English for teaching at the University of South East Asia (USEA). I worked as an assistant teacher for two years in an international school with primary students. In 2019, I began working for Safe Haven as a child care specialist. I really like taking care of children and helping their parents. I am really happy when I see their children grow. I will use all of my skill and knowledge to educate their children and sharing is a really important part of life.”
“I graduated from the University of South-East Asian (USEA) in Siem Reap city in 2020 with a Banking and Financing degree. In my heart I had a dream. My dream was to have a job that can help the people in my country. I would like to say a million thanks to Safe Haven that offers me a chance to work here. I love my job so much, because I can help the people that really need to help and this job is giving me a lot of experience and knowledge.”
Accessibility Tuk Tuk Driver
“My name is Loeurt Lomor, I was born in Kralanh district, Siem Reap province. I used to work as a mechanic and in tourism. I worked in tourism for almost 14 years to support my family and my parents. I feel lucky that I can work at Safe Haven as our Tuk Tuk driver. I am interested in helping children with disabilities because I can help our community.”