Orphaned at 12 Years Old


Rithy orphaned at a tender age, now a doctor offering free healthcare to poor families living in the slums of Phnom Penh.

At 31, Rithy is a gynaecologist by day, and a "family doctor" to slum families by night. Loading his tuk-tuk with medicines and medical equipment, Rithy rides through the slums of Phnom Penh to administer free medical consultation and treatment to needy families.

Though I am no longer living in the slum anymore, I am back for the slum people now.

Growing up on drugs where he made the streets his home, Rithy knows how life is like without access to basic needs. Rithy has no family; he never knew his father, and his mother had been an abusive alcoholic who would beat him every other day. One day she even tried to drown him, so to Rithy, the only person who really cared was his grandfather. Grandpa worked in the army with the Khmer Rouge and the toys that Rithy grew up with were militant explosives. They would shoot and kill boar to survive and one day, Grandpa too passed away, taking away the only love that Rithy had ever felt.

Defiant and angry with life, the love and persistent care from HAGAR staff finally paid off after a few years. Rithy pushed himself to study hard so that he can one day be a doctor and help underprivileged communities.

Sick people are not just found in the hospital, they are everywhere in the slums. The sick cannot come to us, we need to go to them.

Today, Dr. Rithy is working on a plan to build a medical clinic in the vicinity of urban slums. The people living in the slums cannot afford medical care and he has witnessed how some have died, succumbing to conditions and diseases that could have been cured with medicine. Help provide the medicines and supplies that Dr. Rithy needs as he cares for the poor families in 8 slums.