Maddox Chivan Children's Center (MCCC)
Brad Pitt and children from the MCCC during his visit with Angelina Jolie in November 2006. Photo by Brint Stirnton, Getty Images.
Brad Pitt and children from the MCCC during his visit with Angelina Jolie in November 2006. Photo by Brint Stirnton, Getty Images.

The CHC opened the doors of the Maddox Chivan Children's Center for AIDS infected and affected children in Phnom Penh in February of 2006 with the support of actress and activist Angelina Jolie. In honor of her work on behalf of children worldwide, the CHC named the center after her oldest child, who was born in Cambodia. To date, the Chivan Center has offered its unique program of multidisciplinary care to more than 600 Cambodian children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

The center focuses on the growing population of children whose lives have been severely impacted by the AIDS epidemic. Before having access to therapy, support was limited to accompanying children in the last moments of their lives. Now, life expectancy is much higher, which changes the type of support that they need. These needs extend beyond mere medical ones. They are typically unable to receive schooling because of their illness or because they have to take care of their ill parents, or work to support their families. They are victims of discrimination at school and in their communities, traumatized by their parents' death and often living in extreme poverty in which their opportunities are severely limited. 

Current estimates report that approximately 14,000 children in Cambodia are infected with HIV and mother-to-child transmission of AIDS is one of the major reasons for new infections. Without specific support that can help them cope with all of the obstacles and difficulties that they have to face, what kind of future can these children have?

The MCCC aims to respond in a comprehensive way to this need by offering multidisciplinary care. This incudes medical treatment for AIDS affected and infected children, provision of a daily nutritious lunch, educational support from preschool through 6th grade, counseling (through art therapy, peer groups, life skills workshops), sports activities, English, computer, etc.

Above all, the children get to be just children at the MCCC, not "children with AIDS or from an AIDS family". A special focus of the MCCC is on the particularly vulnerable ages of preschool and the teenage years, which has very specific needs in terms of counseling, health, and education.

The number of orphans due to AIDS in Cambodia is greater than 100,000. The multidisciplinary approach being pioneered in the Maddox Chivan Children's Center, will give these kids a leg up through education and opportunities in addition to medical assistance. The project is designed to be a model for pediatric AIDS care globally, while providing integrated care for AIDS infected and affected children and their families.

A new initiative underway is the construction of a new outpatient center at the pediatric ward of the KFSH and the renovation of the ward, which will care for approximately 500 children receiving care for AIDS.  The new clinic will be opened in the spring of 2009.