MISSION AND HISTORY
Established in 2007, Aziza’s Place (AP) is a locally registered, non-profit learning and development center for underprivileged children in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The children live in local communities and come from vulnerable families that have been marginalized from wider society, struggling to earn a living and to provide for themselves. Our holistic programs and services provide the children with opportunities for intellectual, emotional, and physical development, which are key to their advancement into a balanced adulthood.
Our social workers regularly visit the communities to ensure a sufficiently safe and stable environment exists for their children. They are a sounding board for advice sought by the families, provide them (financial) guidance as required and serve as a guide to navigate their way towards providing a stable home for their children.
Because of our extensive experience in the reintegration of children back into their families and communities, AP created the reintegration program through which it advises and guides other NGOs on how to safely reintegrate children into families and communities.
Paramount to AP’s vision is respect for children’s rights. Therefore, we have established and enforce a strict child protection policy, which is in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Our approach evolves as international research points to new ideas and better practices.
We are grassroots
We work with families
We are neutral
Our vision is for all Cambodian children to reach their maximum potential and become productive citizens within their own communities.
What sets us apart?
Focusing solely on the children's immediate needs and education is not enough to guarantee them a better future.
In Cambodia, it is not uncommon for children from marginalised families to be sent to "an orphanage" in the belief they will be better off there. However, in accordance with children's rights best practices, the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child and Cambodian Government policy, Aziza's Place has a community-based approach, believing the children are best cared for by their families, extended families and community networks, no matter how poor, rather than being placed in an institutional setting.
In our work with the families, we raise awareness of the importance of education and the creation of a nurturing home environment focussed on education as key to a child’s future. Our goal is to assist families to become independent and self-reliant and always encourage them to develop their careers with the aim of achieving greater financial security.
Our mission is to support vulnerable children in close collaboration with their families and communities by providing a range of educational and developmental services.
Aziza’s Place is the namesake of Aziza Yasmeen Ghori, whose sudden and tragic passing in December 2002, left a tremendous void in everyone she touched in her short life. In early 2006, Aziza’s parents, Amjad and Fauzia Ghori visited Phnom Penh as volunteers and were struck by the dire situation facing the city’s underprivileged children. It was here, too, that they met Nader Ebrahimi (who was filming and volunteering in the Steung Meanchey dumpsite) and first conceived a joint project: a grassroots children’s center that would offer sustainable and meaningful change in the lives of children and their families. The notion of Aziza’s Place was conceived along with a way to perpetuate Aziza’s radiant compassion and improve the lives of Phnom Penh’s neediest children.
In July 2006, Nader, who was a professional artist, agreed to undertake locating and renovating a suitable venue which ultimately revealed itself as a small and cosy Khmer style house near Phnom Penh’s Russian Market. The building became a beautiful canvas of vibrant artwork and inspired the first intake of children and employees in February 2007. Unfortunately, Nader unexpectedly passed away on March 2, 2009, a few short weeks after celebrating the two-year anniversary of Aziza’s Place.
At Aziza’s Place, we share the inspiration of Aziza’s love and joy with everyone who comes to us. Her compassion lives on in the ethos of our organization that has grown from very humble beginnings and goals to one where several hundred people are positively impacted by the work and dedication of our long-standing Staff.
Today, Aziza’s Place resides in a slightly larger building than before, but the spirit of the organization remains unchanged. We aim to foster creativity and compassion in every walk of life, and always maintain a vision of hope for the future.