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Our Family Stories

Marady Nov / Diane Santiago

Marady Nov's Story (in his own words)

Dear FLOW Supporters, eGlobal Family, Foster Parents, and Supporters,

My name is Nov Marady, and I have lived in the Future Light Orphanage of World (FLOW) for 5 years. I am going to share with you about my life story before I moved into FLOW, during life there, and after I left.

Before coming into FLOW, I lived at Kandal province with my family. I was a child that could not get enough education but so lazy. I went to school by foot; it took about 25 minutes from my home. I never knew what a computer was or learned other languages like English. Furthermore, my family could not afford my school supplies such as books, a bag or a pan, and more. I always felt that I was an unlucky person and frequently quit school to help my family grow rice, corn, and look after my nephew.

When I arrived at FLOW, I was feeling like my life was changing, I could have more friends, get enough food, learn new things, and get advice from teachers. FLOW could provide me and other children a good education, school supplies, traditional arts, music, and other skills. I could say that FLOW was my second home. In addition, I could have a chance to learn computer skills, the English language, and traditional art. FLOW has also given me and all the kids a chance to visit beautiful places in Cambodia; such as Angkor Wat temple, Sihanoukville (Beaches), and others places every year. Many that we’ve never been to before. While I lived in FLOW, I became one of the team leaders of FLOW kids so I could learn how to manage my team and get experience for my future. After I graduated from high school, FLOW provided me with a good opportunity to enter the Advanced Education Program and to continue my studies at the University. I then decided to leave FLOW and live outside to continue my studies at the University.

Nowadays, I live with my friends and study System Network Administration. I have to work by day and study at night so I can have a good job and acceptable salary to support my daily life.

In brief, I could describe my life when I lived in Kandal province as an unlucky person but not so when I came to FLOW. I was able to get a good education, good advice, have more friends after starting my life there. I would like to deeply thank FLOW, FLOW’s staff, friends, family, eGlobal family, foster parents, and all supporters of FLOW for taking care of us.

The Foster Parent experience (as written by Marady's eFoster Mom)

My name is Diane Santiago and I have been a foster mom for about 11 years. It all started when I met Rob Hail. He was so enthusiastic about the email foster parents program that I was eager to join up. My first foster son was Veasna from Palm Tree Foundation. What a cute little kid. I was able to visit him while staying at Future Light where I was warmly met at the airport and welcomed by Madam Phaly, the staff and children. My very short stay included sitting in on classes, being treated to a dance performance and even a ride to Palm Tree Foundation and Phnom Penh for the day. It didn't take long for me to sponsor two children from FLO. Imagine how rewarding it was to send to and get email across the ocean from my three kids. The children were eager to know more about me and my family and I was just as eager to know them. As Rob traveled to Cambodia, I was able to send small gifts with him which were received with such appreciation and handmade cards and trinkets were sent back to me. The children needed bikes to get to school and I was happy to make sure the kids got them. A high point took place a few years back when the music and dance performers came to Honolulu and I got to visit with my sister's foster son. By the way, the Khmer performance at Mamiya Theater was outstanding. It was disappointing when one of my FLO sons left for a factory job, so I just became mom to another. I lost two teenagers who found the rules at FLO constraining, and again that was sad for me. So I became foster mom to Srely and Marady.

I am proud to say the Veasna, Srely and Marady and all grown up and have been successful in their studies. Two of them attended hospitality training in Siem Reap and are working there. Marady completed two years of college and is working in IT. I am still in touch with Sreyly and Marady. Graduating from FLO and moving on doesn't always mean severed ties. We write to each other still and I am happy to encourage them and learn of their accomplishments. Just as Rob shared his experiences with me, I did so with others and it didn't take long before three of my friends became FLO foster parents too. I continue to support the Advanced Education program and hope I can make one more journey back to FLO. In a world where we learn so much about conflict and strife, I could feel helpless about making a difference. But when I think of my six Cambodian children, I know that by being a foster mom I have contributed to their wellbeing. Even those who didn't complete their stay at FLO got off to a good start in nutrition, health and education. I want to thank Rob and all those working to keep eGlobal Family going. And for anyone considering being a foster parent, JUST DO IT!

Marady Nov

Marady Nov at FLO

Young Marady

Marady when he was little

Meata at Work

Marady in 2016 at work