Smiling Hearts Association Refuge Cambodia |

Previous Next 1 of 3

Smiling Hearts Association Refuge Cambodia


The Smiling Hearts Association for Children (SHAC) is located in the Watsvay Village, Salacomreak Commune, Siem Reap, Cambodia. It is a both a haven and a school for local children affected by abuse and poverty.

Director, San Somaly (Aly or Mr Happy) has completed her Bachelor of Education degree via correspondence and has converted a significant proportion of her home into the school. SHAC is a stand alone organization and not sponsored by religious group. It has no government or company funding and relies solely on donations. 100% of donations goes directly to SHAC. Donors can nominate whether the funds go to the children for textbooks, shoes, pencils etc or to the School for running costs, assistant teachers, electricity etc. Aly takes a lot of time to provide photographs and original receipts to donors to show how the funds have directly benefited the school and children. Aly encourages donors and teachers to keep in touch with the children using Skype.

The school is currently limited to 130 children due to the number of desks and chairs available. Students are only able to attend a morning or an afternoon session once a day, as the resources are stretched to capacity. When these children arrive at school, they feel valued, safe, secure and happy. The popularity of the school has meant that children from more privileged families are keen to attend, so there is a strict screening process to maintain the positions for the children most in need. Aly’s dedication to helping these children break the cycle of poverty is truly inspiring.