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For most of their lives, sisters Ary* and Chariya* had been living in a government-run orphanage, and without the individual care of a loving parent that is so important for a child’s development.
Then the girls received a visit at the orphanage from Dalin, one of CCT’s social workers.
Dalin had been working with the Battambang government for a year, sharing skills and information with government social workers and helping them with reintegrating institutionalised children. As part of her work with the government, Dalin visited the orphanage where she got to know Ary and Chariya, spoke with them about their needs and dreams, and built relationships of trust. With time, Ary and Chariya opened up to Dalin about their family and their desire to one day reunite with their parents.
When Dalin had gathered enough information to start looking for Ary and Chariya’s biological family, she found out that not only were the sisters’ biological parents still alive, but that they also lived in Battambang. The next step was for Dalin to meet with Ary and Chariya’s parents, where she discovered that they not only wanted their daughters back, but also had the resources and capacity to care for them.
After the girls gave their full support for a family reunification, a reintegration plan was drawn-up.
Reintegrating children with their families does not happen overnight. It is a long process that requires a lot of counselling, relationship-building, and sometimes extensive investigating work and support. Supervised visits where Ary and Chariya got to spend time with their biological family were the next step. Over time, and when everyone felt comfortable, the two siblings moved back in their parents’ house, which they now call home.
Dalin continues to follow up with Ary and Chariya to make sure they are happy and thriving at home with their family. Today, the two girls appear to be on a path to a bright future with Chariya studying for her university degree and Ary starting year 12 at school.
* Names have been changed to protect privacy.