How an orphanage survivor thrived after leg amputation

February 2024

After Dyna’s parents went through a divorce when he was just seven years old, his mother and older sister relocated to Thailand. Remaining in the care of his financially strained father, Dyna didn’t have the resources or money to attend school. Consequently, his father, believing it to be the best option, made the decision to place Dyna in an orphanage.

Dyna spent his years in SKO orphanage, the same facility that, in 2007, Pon Jedtha and Tara Winkler rescued fourteen children from. Reflecting on his time in the orphanage, Dyna shared, “It was difficult living away from my family and my father. I felt scared being away from home.”

“I thought the orphanage would be a good place and that I would get to go to school. But at the orphanage I experienced bullying, didn’t have enough food to eat and was forced to work.”

The orphanage proved to be far from an ideal environment. The mistreatment reached a devastating point when, during a play session, Dyna suffered a fall resulting in a broken leg. The orphanage staff took him to the hospital but ended up abandoning him there for several weeks, refusing to cover his medical expenses. The lack of medical care led to a severe infection and an heartbreaking ordeal that no child should ever have to endure. “The wound became infected as there was no one caring for it. It became so infected that my leg had to get amputated,” Dyna recounted.

Dyna was eventually brought back to SKO orphanage, where he resided until its closure in 2020. Following this, CCT took the initiative to assist Dyna in transitioning to independent living, providing support for rent, food, bills, and other living expenses. Under the guidance of CCT, Dyna accessed vocational training to become a phone repair technician. Since completing the training, his aspiration is to establish his own phone repair shop.

Dyna’s mother and older sister had been residing and working in Thailand since their separation from Dyna after the divorce. Despite their desire to return to Cambodia, they hesitated due to their stable jobs in Thailand. They were working toward a financial goal to facilitate their return, but their plans were disrupted when Dyna’s mother was diagnosed with cancer. The family spent their savings on her chemotherapy and surgery.

In September 2023, after extensive coordination between CCT social workers and Dyna’s mother and sister, they finally left Thailand to reunite with Dyna in Cambodia. Although they had family land in Cambodia, there was no house. To address this, CCT stepped in to help construct a home where the reunited family could live together.

Reuniting with his family has brought about a transformative change in Dyna’s life. Most significantly, there has been a remarkable improvement in his mental health. Reflecting on the past, Dyna expressed, “When I was alone, I felt very depressed. I felt lonely. I didn’t care about anything. I had no energy to wake up and keep going. I missed my family and I wanted to live with them,” he shared.

“But now that I’m back with my family, I am motivated. I have more energy. I am enthusiastic about life. I used to dream about seeing my mum and now I can see her, touch her and hug her.”

Equally happy about the reunion is Dyna’s mother. During her time overseas, she grappled with daily worry about Dyna. However, constrained by financial limitations, she felt unable to return home. She expressed her relief, saying, “Now, my stress has significantly reduced. I no longer need to worry about my son, and I can be with him forever.”