Orphans Choosing One Another

Rachel Chimits

Two sisters have survived heartbreaking events and are drawing closer to one another as they trust God for a brighter future.

Tara Winkler volunteered at an orphanage in Cambodia, excited to be able to help children in need. The longer she spent there, though, the more she began noticing strange things. Children were catching mice to eat because they were so hungry, despite money pouring in to support the organization.

The more she investigated, the more she realized that the funds that people were earnestly sending to these orphanages was being used to enrich the directors. “I think it’s really important for people to remember, in Cambodia, the poverty rate has been in steady decline, the number of orphans as well, and yet the number of orphanages has skyrocketed,” she said.

What Tara discovered was that a growing number of orphanages in Cambodia were taking children from lower income families, promising to provide education and care — to say nothing of the relief of one less mouth to feed — while using these kids to net foreign donations.

Tara Winkler has founded one of many cutting-edge organizations that have began working to reunite children with family members or find them new families.

Losing a Dear Loved One

World Challenge partners in Cambodia are part of the growing force that is working to keep children out of orphanages and either reunite them with a family member or find families who will adopt these kids.

Dara Reaksmey* is one whose family choose to take in an orphan who had lost her parents. Nakry* is an orphan whose parents had abandoned her when she was only five months old, and she was taken in by Reaksmey’s mother. She grew to love her little baby sister, but when her mother died unexpectedly, their entire world was thrown up into the air.

Heartbroken, she explained, “My mother was passed away as a Christian. I have hope because she is staying with God, but I was so sad without my mother. So Nakry and I were orphans without warmness.”

Only 22 years old, Reaksmey decided to adopt six-year-old Nakry.

Now Nakry is in primary school. She likes to sing the Christian songs her class is learning, and she is staying in good health. The outbreak of coronavirus in Cambodia and churches closing because of the virus has created a frightening atmosphere for Reaksmey and Nakry, but at least they have one another and the support of their church community, World Challenge’s partners.

Finding the Lonely a Family

Although the future is uncertain, Reaksmey continues to have hope for both herself and her little sister’s lives.

“My mother always told me take care Nakry and send her to go school so that she will get education. She wanted me to love her [Nakry] as my sister. I would like to express so much grateful to the donor providing something for my family with love.

“Please continue to sponsor orphans in my community because there are many orphans abandoned and some orphans by parents divorced. May God bless all the donors with good health, peace and happiness in their families.”

For orphans of all ages, the knowledge that they are loved and seen is a weight lifted from the heart.

“Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,

    extol him who rides on the clouds[b];

    rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,

    is God in his holy dwelling.

God sets the lonely in families…” (Psalm 68:4-6, NIV).

*Not real name. For our ministry partners’ security, we don’t release names or locations in highly sensitive areas.