Aly never knew her mother and father. She had never experienced the love and warmth of a family. Aly is 23 years old and a mother to 7-year-old child, Channey (aka Solika). Aly was brutally raped when she was 16.
When Aly was born, her mother abandoned her, and left her in a rubbish bin. She was not part of her mother’s plan; her mother worked as a Cambodian sex worker in Thailand.
“It was so painful for me that my Mother just threw me away in the rubbish bin. I’ve never seen her and my Father before.”
Lost and found, Aly was sent to a shelter across the Cambodian border. However, she did not receive much care from the housemothers. Aly was forced to work at a young age and did not go to school. As young as 7, Aly was already working to earn her own keep, cooking and cleaning people’s houses.
When Aly was 16, she was invited to attend an English class. She was so thrilled by the chance as she enjoyed learning. One day, her classmates invited her to attend a concert in a nearby province. On her way home with two other classmates, she was stopped by three men and was brutally raped while her classmates escaped unscathed. Fear and shame overcame her quickly and she didn’t dare to tell anyone after the attack. Adding on to the trauma, she realised six weeks later that she was pregnant with Channey.
Discovering the pregnancy, the housemother at the shelter was furious and kicked her out of the house. Abandoned once again, Aly roamed the streets and sought refuge at night markets where she slept and scavenged for food in the rubbish bins. Aly was picked up by the police and was later referred to HAGAR.
It was an emotional rollercoaster as Aly struggled to accept the baby. HAGAR helped Aly to prepare for the birth and also helped her to pursue justice against her perpetrator. She felt afraid at the thought of facing him, but her counsellor helped her along each step of the way.
“Malin (my counsellor) from Hagar came with me and held my hand. That gave me strength, and I had the courage to confront him in court.”
The rapist was eventually sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.
Surviving a long and agonising 3-day labour, Aly finally gave birth to Channey. To help her gain independence, HAGAR started training her in different vocational skills. Today, Aly is teaching at a school for children with autism. She enjoys playing with the young ones and helping them develop.
Her greatest love is her daughter. Little Channey recovered from a congenital disorder that had been plaguing her for the last 6 years. However, she has been experiencing perennial muscle spasms in her legs again and the recent medical prognosis showed that 7-year old Channey is showing early signs of cerebral palsy, caused by damage to the brain during the pre-natal stage. Your support will help to provide Channey with early intervention through education and therapy as her brain continues to develop.
HAGAR is also helping Aly to gain a formal education so that it will improve her employability and access to jobs. For women like Aly, being able to study is an opportunity she was never granted and she is absolutely excited to study and learn.