The village of Ta Hen is situated 10 km from Battambang city. The Catholic community is made up predominately of young people who are either studying high school or at university. The churches connection with Ta Hen is over 100 years old. During the Khmer Rouge and the decades of civil unrest that followed, Catholics were persecuted for there beliefs with many in Ta Hen practising theirs faith in secret up until the churches return. In 2001 a Church was built helping strengthen the congregations faith and encouraging young people to reconnect with there past. Since then the community has continued to grow steadily. The parish of Ta Hen run 5 main programs.

Education: The catholic Compound in Ta Hen is home to over 80 full time students. These students come from poor and disadvantaged families who cannot care for them. Whilst they live in the compound they attend to government schools and are provided extra classes. Living in the Church provides these students who want to study the opportunity to. The way to describe the students living there is as a big family, the oldest students look after the younger helping them with their homework, cleaning and daily activities. The Church with the collaboration of the pagoda built both a primary and secondary school and after their construction, they were given to the government to maintain. These schools have provided a benefit not only to the children of the local community but also to the children from neighbouring villages.

Pastoral: The parish of Ta Hen is extremely active in its pastoral responsibilities. On Sundays the older students visit the surrounding villages, accompanying the sick, elderly and the poor and conducting outreach programs. These visits to the villages provide an opportunity to show the children that they visit a good example, encouraging them to continue their studies. They also provide rice and basic amenities as well as the opportunity to seal medical attention if required. The most important part of outreach is for the students to accompany the people they visit, lo listen to their problems and be there for them. The parish of Ta Hen holds once a year a multicultural activity, a summer camp for the youth. Volunteers from Spain and other countries spend one month assisting the older students of he community organise activities and games. The summer camp is used as a way to identify and help those families in need in the surrounding areas.

Sewing: The Church operates a sewing and embroidery program, teaching the youth how to sew. This provides them an opportunity for future employment or creation of there own business. Products from Ta Hen have been sold over seas.

Farm: The farm of Ta Hen is located in the neighbouring village and is used to grow fruit and vegetables. Students who receive scholarships are directly responsible for the crops planted. Potatoes, mangos, bananas, coconuts are just some of what is grown there. As well as the farm, the Church owns some hectares of rice fields that enables the church to feed the students living there as well as provide rice to elderly and disadvantage families through the students outreach program.

Art and Culture: Since the Catholic Church re-established ties with the community of Ta Hen, traditional dance has been used as a way for the youth to reconnect with there culture. Regular dance lessons are a way of bringing together the community a surroundings youth as being a way to learn about the possible problems youth and concerns that young people deal with everyday. The dance troupe of Ta Hen reputation as quality dance group of both traditional and classical Khmer dances has lead to numerous invitations to perform at various locations around Cambodia as well as numerous overseas tours to counties such as Australia, Korea and Spain.


Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang; Phum Rumchek 1, Khum Rattanak; Box 330, Battambang, Cambodia Tel: +855 53 730219; Email: