"Noordeen Home", our first in the country of Cambodia was built and we opened its doors to 50 children at the end of 2013. The donated land is amidst two hectares of rubber plantations in the beautiful Toulsombo village of Kampong Champ Province of Cambodia.
Launch of project and progress
Dian's father decided to visit Cambodia in 2012 to learn more about the condition of Muslims in a land dominated by communists. He wanted to see if there was something he or GiveLight could do in light of the atrocity of Khmer Rouge where millions of innocent were massacred, and the ongoing discrimination against minority Muslims.
As fate would have it, he found a hotel by the bank of Mekong River, run by a Muslim couple. Zul and Mariya Weasna were immediately taken by my father’s pleasant demeanor, eloquence, and the rare combination of gentleness and determination in him. He remained resolute in wanting to do something lasting to help the poor in Cambodia, especially the orphans.
The idea of philanthropic work was not of much interest to Zul and Mariya. They were busy, young professionals who ran a hotel, plantations and other business ventures. They had been approached by many Malaysians to partner in building schools or mosques, but no project appealed to them. Upon meeting Dian's father, however, and hearing about GiveLight’s global work, they became very interested in working with us. You can read more about the outcome of the trip in Dian's own words here.
The launch of this project in Cambodia has an amazing story behind it. You can read more about it below.
- Land donated to GiveLight - September 2012
- Permit and legality established in Cambodia - October 2012
- Dian's father volunteered to oversea project initiation and traveled to Cambodia - Nov 2012
- Ground breaking ceremony - Nov 2012
- Completion and Opening ceremony – Winter 2013
- Dian and Nahlah Kokailah (a U.S. volunteer) visited our home – Summer 2014 (please see Nahlah’s account here)
- 10 volunteers from Singapore built dining tables/chairs, bookcases and renovated a few rooms – Summer 2015
“Dreams do come true, fantasy may turn into reality, when they are all destined by God”
by Mariya Ly Vaesna (Kampong Cham, November 8, 2012)
The festival of Eid this year was a historical moment for Toulsombo Village in the Kampong Champ Province of Cambodia. Besides the qurbani of three cows from Muslims in California, USA, there was also the groundbreaking for a new orphanage, “Noordeen Home.” We decided to call it Noordeen Home because we were inspired by the legacy of a merchant in Aceh who's progeny, Dian Alyan, started GiveLight Foundation with the mission of supporting orphans globally.
The preparation went smoothly and everything was flowing gracefully like the Mekong River. There wasn’t a single obstacle or any difficulty. Our story began at the beginning of 2012, when our hotel (Mariya Hotel), located in front of the Mekong River in Kampong Cham, was visited by an Indonesian visitor, Father Zaini Wahab. He traveled to Vietnam and Cambodia to do some assessment on local needs and to look for opportunities to save orphans. He was drawn to Cambodia and Vietnam because of the history of “Khmer Roouge” who massacred millions of innocent people. He talked about his difficulties in finding a trustworthy partner who had the rights and ability to operate as a legal, non-profit organization.
He started sharing the mission of GiveLight Foundation in the USA to care for needy orphans around the world.
That was the beginning of our simultaneous conversation to build the orphanage. My husband and I started to talk about the possibility of donating our land to the project. We thought about how wonderful it would be to share what God had blessed us with to help the needy orphans of Cambodia. After months of planning, Weasnamariya Economic Development To Poverty Organization (WEDO) a non-profit organization was officially formed.
I wondered why Father Zaini, an elderly man, came from Indonesia to do something for Cambodian children. Why do I, who has been given abundant prosperity, by God the most Merciful, only watch while Cambodian Champa children live on their own without certainty of the future? Inspired by Sister Dian Alyan’s efforts in saving orphans globally, I asked myself, “why can’t I contribute to my own country of Cambodia?” I have been dreaming to become a woman strong in my faith and do something meaningful for others. This work could be a means for me to conduct the ultimate fight for the sake of the Creator. My dream may soon bloom as the flowers of the springtime.
We still remember, when Father Zaini called us from Jakarta at the end of the Ramadan celebration in 2012. We also had a lovely phone talk with Sister Dian who was taking a summer vacation in Indonesia to visit her orphan children in Aceh. In early September 2012, we got another phone call from Father Zaini, just a hello. It was then that we informed him that the Cambodia government, Ministry of Interior, had issued permission for Weasnamariya Economic Development To Poverty Organization (WEDO) to develop an orphanage. He was thrilled with joy. In a week’s time, we were notified that GiveLight Foundation was ready to support WEDO under the following pre-requisites :
- The land was donated
- We registered as a non-profit organization
- We found needy orphans
We donated our land for the orphanage right after the notification. The land is 2-hectares of rubber plantations. We feel so blessed to be able to embark on this amazing journey to help the neediest and brightest orphans in Cambodia.
Mr. Ly Veasna
President Of WEDO
Mrs. Man Mariyan
Treasury Director of WEDO
Our annual operating cost for this home is $35K, which covers everything; food, clothing, medical, books, salary of cook and tutors. Please donate generously.