The process of transferring guardianship of a child can in some places be a long and costly battle involving courts, lawyers, social service workers, and guardians… however, in Cambodia, the process takes only a few hours. Once it is decided by a joint meeting of social services, village leaders, police, and the parent or guardian of a child, that it is in the best interest of the child to be removed from a vulnerable environment and placed into the care of a licensed facility, like The Wat Opot Community, the thumbprint is all that is required. We have added nine new children to our community in the past two months.

The Guardian is first to place their thumbprint onto the document and the children are fully aware of what is happening…

and one can only imagine what is going through the child’s mind during this process.

Fortunately, we have at times, volunteers like Kate Bernoske, who can make the transition from living on the streets to living in a controlled environment just a little easier.

Once the paperwork is finished the only thing left to do, is for the child to add his own thumbprint to the document to make the transfer legal and binding.

Climbing into a stranger’s car to be taken to an unknown destiny by people you do not know, can be a bit daunting…

But within hours they are surrounded by other children just like themselves, who are happy to show them around and introduce them to the many opportunities and activities available at Wat Opot.

Opportunities that very few other children in Cambodia get to experience.

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