A place to call home
In 2014, CCF began a partnership as the local giving partner for World Housing, a social venture that partners with developers to market and sell real estate to benefit third world families living in the worst conditions on earth. Together, World Housing and CCF have been able to provide homes to more than 500 deserving families.
These World Housing homes are for deserving local families with children studying at CCF. Each house is made locally, designed specifically for the community's needs. Each house goes towards creating a village; small communities with edible gardens, social areas, playgrounds, clean water, toilet blocks, safety and security.
The homes are built for deserving families that have made a commitment to prioritising their children’s education, providing a safe environment for their children to grow up in, free from drugs, alcohol and abuse, and keeping their children out of the workforce. It’s not just a safe home, but a safe space to raise your family - a safe community.
When families helped by the Cambodian Children’s Fund receive a new home, it’s a life-changing experience. Most of these families have dealt with years of poverty, unsafe housing and constant struggles. These well-built homes are safe and comfortable, with access to electricity, drinking water, and a bathroom. For many of the benefiting families, this is the first time they’ve lived in such a place.
“Truthfully, people say they never thought they could live in a home like this,”
CCF provides extensive support to families in the Steung Meanchey area and beyond. Rice, clean water and medical care for families of CCF students form the first tier of this support, ensuring that families are not negatively impacted when their children attend school. Receiving a World Housing home is the top-tier of that support, and is provided as a reward to the most deserving families.
The houses are the larger incentive for parents to ensure their children’s safety and education. Families that encourage their children’s education, provide a safe home life and encourage good behaviour are the first to be offered a home.
New homeowners sign a simple three-point agreement – they will encourage their kids to go to school, they will keep the home free from abuse (drug and alcohol abuse, physical abuse etc), and will not allow their children to undertake paid labour. This is not an effort to impose external values (there is no ban on alcohol), it is simply to create a safe environment for children.
Families are overjoyed when moving into their new homes. For the first time they have a home that is safe and secure, and built up on stilts out of reach of the seasonal monsoonal rains.
Skin in the game
As most charities know, if you give something away for free it can be perceived by the recipient as having no value. It’s something that we have learnt working on the ground in Cambodia since 2004. We want people to have ‘skin in the game’, to take pride in their homes and communities. Recipients of World Housing homes pay up to a $15 per month contribution towards the cost of maintenance and upkeep of their community. This contributes towards land rental, maintenance of communal spaces, toilets, and gardens etc. It’s roughly one-third the price to rent a substandard shack in the surrounding area.
Long term solutions
By encouraging people to have ‘skin in the game’, we see dramatically different outcomes than if we simply give something away. We are helping people out of horrific living conditions, but we don’t want to breed dependency or a welfare mentality, and we don’t want to completely remove them from the real-world economy. And if people can’t afford to pay, then they don’t pay.
If families are able to leave Phnom Penh and move back to the countryside, CCF will always support them to do this. Provided that families honour their contracts to keep their children in school, safe and out of work, we will work to provide them with a house in the province to move into.