Nestled amid Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, Cambodia is a land of rice paddies, ancient temples and poverty. More than half of the population is under 25 years old. In many of the impoverished rural areas, where 85 percent of Cambodian people live, children have reduced access to education, safe water, sanitation and employment opportunities. ChildFund has worked in Cambodia’s remote, rural areas to connect communities to education, clean water and sanitation facilities, child protection services and training about child rights and youth initiatives.
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ChildFund Cambodia’s extensive water and sanitation project is bringing clean water and improved sanitation facilities to families in rural Cambodia. The addition of wells and toilets has decreased rates of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea and hepatitis, for which the youngest Cambodian children are most at risk. Meanwhile, decreased medical expenses and less time off work have meant that family incomes have increased, helping to reduce poverty in Cambodia. We are also helping to increase household food security and enhance livelihoods by providing training and equipment, and establishing community-based saving groups.
ChildFund Cambodia provides children and youth with access to education – including classroom materials and bicycles to ride to school. In partnership with the government and local communities, we have established child-friendly libraries; trained principals, teachers and librarians in child-friendly approaches and library management; and constructed playgrounds and educated students about playground safety. Community education campaigns and awareness sessions teach young Cambodian people about the risks of human trafficking and child labor, and ChildFund-trained youth lead programs on child protection and rights.
ChildFund’s 50 youth groups engage nearly 2,000 members and offer training in life skills and livelihoods such as sewing, motorbike maintenance and electrical repair. Many youth receive livestock and equipment, benefiting both themselves and their families. And young Cambodian people are actively involved as representatives participating in local development planning.