By Anna Jolly
17-year old Seng Kunthea learns vocational skills at Marum training restaurant, in Siem Reap province, as part of UNICEF-supported diversion services
© Kaliyan Mith/2015
SIEM REAP, Cambodia, 1 September 2015 – Seng Kunthea* is a 17-year-old girl from Poipet, a town along the border between Cambodia and Thailand. Her parents died when she was very young and she has been living with her grandmother ever since. Kunthea’s elder sister is now married and living in Thailand while her younger brother works in a casino in Poipet. Kunthea never attended school and began working at a very young age.
At the age of 13 she moved in with a family in Poipet to work as a maid. The father in the family started harassing her and eventually tried to rape her. Luckily Kunthea managed to escape and reached out for help to Cambodian Women’s Crisis Centre (CWCC) – an NGO that provides support to violence survivors. CWCC was able to help Kunthea by providing couselling services and enrolling her in a sewing course – one of its vocational training programmes designed to facilitate victims’ economic and social reintegration. But when Kunthea’s only friend at the centre graduated and moved to Siem Reap, Kunthea decided to follow her.