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Cosette’s Story

Our teenaged daughters had just returned from visiting an AIDS orphanage, and they burst into the kitchen, shaking and shaken up. Breathlessly they recounted their visit. They had seen and held an 8 day old little girl who was premature and HIV+. Her head was the size of a tennis ball, and her arms so tiny that our daughters were able to put one of their rings on the baby’s wrist. Her mom, HIV+ and quite likely a prostitute, had given birth to her, jumped from the delivery table and run out of the hospital


Disturbed that the baby’s caregivers were calling her by the name of the hospital where she had been born and abandoned, our girls decided she needed a real name. They tried a few, but none seemed to fit. Then one of my daughters said, “Cosette…her name should be Cosette!” Some of her friends, visiting the orphanage with her, asked why. Our daughter quickly recounted the story of the character Cosette in Les Misérables. The orphaned daughter of a prostitute, Cosette has been left in the care of a greedy, heartless family. Rescued by a Christian gentleman, Cosette grows to be a godly young woman. This story of hope inspired our daughter to name her Cosette Hope.

“And now they have her at the orphanage, Mom! You need to bring her home! We’ll help take care of her Mom, she really needs to be held and loved!” We made a phone call to the orphanage director who told us that the baby weighed only 3 pounds and had no sucking reflex. He said he would be willing to let us take her in if his staff could get her stabilized; he asked us to call him the following week.

We spent the weekend praying for Cosette, asking the Lord to sustain her. Monday morning we called the orphanage director. He told us that Cosette had lost her fight for life over the weekend.

Though our daughters saw Cosette only once, and we not at all, we were saddened by the loss of this seemingly meaningless little life. She managed to touch our hearts, and we prayed that her short life was not lived in vain.

Our contact with Cosette Hope initiated a strong, compelling desire to somehow care for the children of Cambodia who had been orphaned by and infected with HIV/AIDS. In the weeks following Cosette’s death we met the orphanage director and began talking with him about the possibility of starting a home for such children. He encouraged us to pursue that goal.

In July 2005 our dream was realized as we opened the doors of Cosette’s Hope Children’s Home (CHCH). Our first little residents were a three year old girl who is HIV positive, and a 13 month old boy whose parents died of HIV, though he himself is not infected.

Since starting Cosette’s Hope Children’s Home, we have brought in a total of 19 children; our prayers have been answered. We believe that through Cosette’s Hope Children’s Home, Cosette’s short life will have a lasting, even an eternal, impact on these beautiful children in Cambodia.

You can help us meet the needs of these children by making a financial contribution for their daily care and on-going medical needs. Please visit our “Sponsor A Child” page and make a difference in a child’s life today. You can also make a one-time donation through our “Donate” link.

Cosette’s Hope Children’s Home (CHCH) is a ministry of Cambodian Outreach Project (COP). Online donations are processed by Cambodian Outreach Project (COP) through a secure online server.

COP is a non-profit 501(c)(3) Public Charity organization recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and is incorporated in the state of Colorado. All contributions are tax-deductible in accordance with IRS tax code and are solicited with the understanding that Cambodian Outreach Project has complete discretion and control over the use of all donated funds. The IRS requires this disclosure for contributions to be considered tax-deductible. However, COP will honor all donor preferences to the best of their ability. You will receive an annual statement for your tax records and an email confirmation for online donations.

Donations can also be made by sending a check or money order to the following address:

Cambodian Outreach Project
P.O. Box 2475
Longmont , CO 80502

(Please see our contribution statement on our Donations page.)