About Sok Sabay

Founded in May 1995, Sok Sabay is a registered charity that cares for children in Cambodia. It is a residential shelter in Phnom Penh for children who have been rescued from domestic violence, physical or mental abuse, slavery, starvation and neglect.

Kate has lived in Sok Sabay since the age of 3. Click to read her story
Kate has lived in Sok Sabay since the age of 3. Click to read her story

Under the leadership of Marie Cammal, recipient of Times Magazine 2004 distiction “European Hero of the Year”, Sok Sabay has helped hundreds of children in the last twenty years, and continues to provide a hopeful future for neglected children.

After working as a nurse in refugee camps, Marie first arrived to Cambodia in 1983. She returned in 1987 to work with the Japan International Volunteer Centre (JVC) and by the early 1990’s, Marie found her heart moved by the plight of the children in Cambodia. After further field studies and surveys, she decided to set up her own centre – the Sok Sabay shelter.

As Marie recalls,

I was then on my bicycle, searching funds among pharmaceutical groups and publishing companies. After submitting the project to hundreds of companies and private donors, four major sponsors (IPSEN, Beaufour International, SANOFI, World Council of Churches) responded positively. Then, I got some precious help from French and Belgian private donors who believed in me and my vision, before Sok Sabay was even born in Cambodia.
With my personal funds, I went to Cambodia. At that point, I was ready to start. It took me one year (96 to 97) to get approved by the Cambodian Ministry of Social Affairs for my project called "Medical care and therapy for young prostituted children in Cambodia".
The doors of the shelter opened in September 1997 and in 2000 we expanded our project to help all neglected children .

The Sok Sabay shelter, nested in a leafy street in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, now provides housing, nourishment and education to almost 50 children of both genders.

Approaching its twentieth anniversary, Sok Sabay’s mission is expanding, sponsoring female children of the Akha community in the Laos highlands, helping them complete their secondary studies, and for teachers to attend the “Teachers’ Training College”.

Marie meets a family to discuss education for their daughter
Marie meets an Akha family to discuss education for their daughter.

This new project will see Sok Sabay provide support to more than 30 girls, through scholarships, financial help and the construction of school rooms and dormitories in the Long District, in Laos.

None of Marie’s work would be possible without the help and support of her wonderful volunteers, devoted friends of Sok Sabay, and our generous private and corporate donors and sponsors.

If you want to help the Sok Sabay association, please consider donating to us – a small amount will go a long way and will help make a difference. Or consider sponsoring a child – by becoming a “sponsor” you are directly lending a hand to secure a better future.