COP BirthdayIn June 2000, World Concern decided to close their day care center in Phnom Penh. Yos Bophal, who was working there, had a vision for this work and asked World Concern to donate some equipment and a bit of funding so the work could continue. They kindly did so, and Center of Peace (COP) started with 15 children.  Over the next few months Bophal took in several children from her home village who were living in poverty. COP served for two years as a day care center and orphanage. 

Over time more children were referred to COP from very difficult family circumstances, so the day care ministry was closed to focus on children at risk coming from the provinces. These children were totally illiterate and much of the work involved tutoring to prepare them to enter the government school system. The center grew to 75 by 2003. Back then, COP only had only one supporter, a missionary from Japan named Ms. Kiko, who saw the great need and few resources.

Many volunteers came to help tutor the children; by 2006 they were finally ready to enter the government school. In addition to receiving food, shelter and literacy teaching, the children were taught social skills, life skills, and provided venues and opportunities for spiritual nurture. Many received training around the city to build their capacity to serve the church and the Christian community. Some learned how to lead worship, teach Sunday school and youth/kids groups, play instruments and perform Khmer classical dance for Christian events around the city.

COPKidsSeven COP young adults have finished college, seven are now studying in local colleges, and two are in vocational programs. Altogether, 18 children have finished high school. We have once again established a day care center for children of the working poor such as nearby vendors. Now about 20 children from 4-6 years old come to COP to play, learn their Cambodian ABC's and some English, how behave in a social setting, and to watch helpful videos. It is fun to see them learn and grow.

The initial years were very lean, but by 2007 financial support was coming through several international NGO's, churches and individuals. At that time, the Center of Peace provided a home to 70 children. By 2015 COP had downsized to 30 children as funding dropped off. COP desires to become more self-sustaining and received funds to purchase two hectares of land for a pepper farm; now we need to buy equipment, hire staff, and do the planting. This is where additional investors or lenders are needed.

COP's Vision: We want to see Cambodia's children and young people grow up to have a better future and a heart to serve our Lord as well as our nation.

In light of our vision, once we become self-sustaining, COP would like to open a center for children near the site of the pepper farm in Rattanakiri for those who cannot go to school and lack basic nutrition and literacy. We plan to provide education and one meal a day as well as other opportunities for education and health.

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