"On this International Day of the Girl, let us recommit…
“Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world.
And ALL moms deserve to be celebrated.”
Cambodia has one of the highest infant and mother mortality rates in the world. Not only did the brutal regime of the Khmer Rouge, in power from 1975-1979, take the lives of two million Cambodians—they also worked to destroy the bonds between parents and children. Under the Marxist leader Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge tried to take Cambodia back to the Middle Ages, forcing millions of people from the cities to work on communal farms in the countryside.
This dramatic attempt at social engineering had a terrible cost.
Whole families died from execution, starvation, disease and overwork.
“Here in Cambodia, there is a term that women use for giving birth called
‘crossing the river’ because of the FEAR of the complications that might occur.”
– Cissie Graham Lynch
The Khmer Rouge brutally killed and wiped out generations of grandmothers, mothers, teachers, and doctors—and they also “threatened the young ones to spy on their parents,” says one young woman in this video. “Soon, there was no love, only fear.”
“A whole generation was taken out. Now, you have women who are raising children who never had grandmothers teaching them, mothers to teach them how to be a mom.”
– Cissie Graham Lynch
Driven from Cambodia nearly four decades ago, the Khmer Rouge’s evil legacy remains as a new generation struggles to care for themselves and their children. Tens of thousands of women die each year while giving birth, and nearly half of all children under 5 have stunted growth because of severe malnutrition. Women are often terrified of becoming mothers.
Samaritan’s Purse works to restore the joy of motherhood in Cambodia. They have built two new birthing centers for women to safely deliver their babies, and are teaching the benefits of breastfeeding, how to cook nutritious meals, and the importance of making sure children drink clean water. Most importantly, they share the message of unconditional love.
4GGL thanks Samaritan’s Purse for this story.
Cissie Graham Lynch is daughter of Franklin and Jane Graham, founders of this international relief mission.