At the age of seven, Sarah Mein spent a lot of her time each day searching the woods for any food that looked edible. Food meant survival, and children like her were often left to their own devices during the genocide.
Mass executions, abuse, and starvation were prevalent as cities were emptied and their residents forced to relocate to labor camps in the countryside. Nearly two million lives were lost between the years 1975 to 1979 during the Cambodian genocide under the Khmer Rouge regime.
Sarah and her family fled Cambodia and ended up in refugee camps in Thailand and the Philippines. The community style of living allowed no forms of privacy. Sarah vividly recalls waiting in line for soy bean soup during lunch everyday.
In 1981, Sarah and her family were fortunate enough to be sponsored and immigrated to the United States. She currently resides in Uptown, Chicago. At the age of 75, Sarah needs assistance on various tasks and is a client of CMAA’s Community Care program.
Licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health, CMAA’s Community Care program deploys over 240 home-care aids who go into elderly client homes and provide basic services, such as help with cooking, cleaning, and assisting them with their doctor’s appointments.
“CMAA has enabled Sarah to reside comfortably in her own home while receiving assistance when needed,” said Dary Mien, her daughter. “The Community Care program and social services provided means a lot to individuals with challenging backgrounds like Sarah.”
We’re proud to say that little girl who spent parts of her youth searching for food in the woods is Dary Mien, Sarah’s daughter and our current Director of Elderly Care and Social Services at CMAA.