to teach essential skills to some of Cambodia's most underprivileged children, Mr. Hengchhea established a non-profit charity, ACODO in early 2008 so that he could work towards giving more victimized and vulnerable members of society more opportunities than he eventually benefited from. He wants to provide them with a loving home, nutritious food, healthcare and especially a high-quality educational opportunity both formal and informal education (Khmer curriculum and vocational skills) so that they can flourish into their adulthood, bamboo shoots that will replace old bamboo, pillars and heirs of the country to develop in all sectors and to lead the Cambodian Society to prosperous progress in the future.
Hello and thank you for your kind interest,
In 1967 I was born into a rural community in Battambang Province, Cambodia. My family with nine siblings, were extremely poor.
Between 1975-1979 Cambodia was under the strict control of Pol Pot and the Communist Regime. At the tender age of just eight old I, alongside any child of a similar age, was forced to work in the fields full time. This period of Cambodia’s history was truly a horrific experience for myself, my family and my country. Even today many of my childhood memories are too painful to remember.
In 1979 I was able to attend secondary school. In 1984, at the age of 17, I was forced to join the army as my family were simply too poor to support me. In my spare time in the army I secretly taught myself English. As Cambodia was under the Vietnamese Communist Regime between 1979 to 1987 the study of foreign languages, except Vietnamese and Russian, was strictly forbidden. I used my finger as a pencil to write my English exercises in the sand and my cigarette packs as my notebooks. I practiced my English conversation with my gun, which became my best friend.
In 1997 whilst I was still in the army I went to the Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL) to complete a bachelor’s degree in English and Management. In 2001 I resigned from the army in protest at the curuption
A childhood dominated by war and extreme poverty had a profound effect on my future. It inspired me to create ACODO so that I can work towards giving some of the most destitute members of society, such as orphans and other vulnerable children, the same opportunities that I eventually benefited from. I want to provide them with a loving home so that they can flourish into their adulthood.
I am forever grateful to the other co-founders, all the staff, volunteers and supporters from around the world. Without their invaluable help, ACODO would not be able to transform the lives of so many orphans and vulnerable children.