In 2010, Katrina Gliddon and her Cambodian colleagues started Mother’s Heart with a vision that no woman would face a crisis pregnancy alone. Ten years later, Mother’s Heart remains the only crisis pregnancy support organisation in Cambodia; assisting over 100 women each year who are from vulnerable backgrounds, or whose pregnancies are a result of traumatic circumstances.
Last year,1 Mother’s Heart helped 110 women through its pregnancy support programs, with 90% of clients coming from vulnerable or exploitative situations. Sadly, 40% of these pregnancies were the result of rape, trafficking or sexual exploitation. Many of these women had also faced rejection from their families and communities as a result of their pregnancies – placing both them and their unborn babies at risk. Until Mother’s Heart stepped in…
“We are reaching a demographic that no one else is reaching,” Katrina says of their work. “We are preventing children and babies from being institutionalised. We’re supporting mums who want to raise their babies to keep their children, or if they are unable to raise their own child, then supporting them through kinship care or through partner organisations to find a new Khmer family for them. We are supporting women and loving and caring for them during the most vulnerable time of their lives. That’s what keeps me going. And no one else is doing it.”
Given that Mother’s Heart is the only organisation of its kind in Cambodia, the team supports women right across the country – both during and after their pregnancies. That’s why, in early 2018, Mother’s Heart opened a second site in Battambang, in addition to their main hub in Phnom Penh. Katrina says the second site allows the team to provide the same level of service to women and children in this part of Cambodia, as it significantly cuts down on travel time across the country. Like all things Mother’s Heart, she also feels like God’s hand has been on the move.
“When we started Mother’s Heart, God gave us a verse and it’s about Jehoshaphat – when he was in the desert with his people… God had led them to very parched land with no wells, no water and no rain in sight… And God said, ‘Get your shovel and dig ditches’. So, they dug ditches all day. God said, ‘how those ditches are filled with water is my problem’. And the next morning, those ditches were filled with water supernaturally.
“At the beginning of Mother’s Heart, God said it was our job to dig ditches – write proposals, raise awareness – but how He fills those ditches with funding is up to him. Over the last 10 years, we’ve got down to the wire financially, at times, but we keep digging ditches and God keeps providing. And I constantly remind Him that it’s His work – not ours – so He has to be faithful to His word. And He Has been.”