Center for Children's Happiness (CCH), Cambodia
Local Hero Mech Sokha knows how it feels to be an orphan. He was the sole survivor in his family of the Khmer Rouge genocide of 1975 to 1979. Today however, despite many intense challenges, he is saving the lives of hundreds of orphans—children who were living and working as garbage pickers on the Steung Meanchey landfill in Cambodia. In 2002, with the help of a benefactor, Mech opened the Center for Children’s Happiness (CCH).
The road to opening this center was long and arduous. During the time of the Khmer Rouge, Mech was stripped of his chance to get an education. After the overthrow of the regime, he worked various jobs and studied at night to educate himself. By the early ‘90s, he was working as a driver for a small, Japanese NGO based in Phnom Penh when a client, a Japanese woman, Ms.Osanai Mieko, befriended him. He shared with her his plans and aspirations, and she eventually sponsor his education in the Philippines where he studied child development and NGO management. In the meantime, Ms. Mieko organized financial support in Japan to help make Mech’s dream of opening an orphanage for children who called the Steung Meanchey landfill home (nicknamed “Smoky Mountain” for the toxic smoke it gives off) come to fruition.
The Center for Children’s Happiness (CCH) is home to 170 children & youth. CCH provides them with good nutrition, secure living facilities, education, loving support, and encouragement to dream of a better future. Mech knows that this critical care is what children need to grow up to be successful, healthy, happy citizens. Read more about Mech and his project with GO below.