Wednesday, July 22, 2015

UNICEF helps children victim of Explosive Remnants of War go back to school

By Plong Chhaya and Martina Tomassini

©UNICEF Cambodia/2015/Plong Chhaya
Vong Touch, 16, plays with his classmates during their break at Pang Rolim Secondary School.
PAILIN, Cambodia, 22 July 2015 – Sixteen-year-old Vong Touch is an Explosive Remnant of War (ERW) survivor who lives with his widow mother and three siblings in a small wooden house in the post-conflict area of Au Reang village, in Pailin province. Located along the border between Cambodia and Thailand, Pailin is the second highest landmine and ERW-contaminated area in the country. The plot of land that Touch’s family rents for their house was cleared by the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) in 2012.

Touch and his family are originally from Prey Veng province, in the south of Cambodia. In 2013, two years after Touch’s father passed away, his family was forced to move out of their home because of a debt they could not pay off. His mother, Path Nuon, had borrowed around $2,000 from a neighbour to pay for medical treatment when Touch’s father got sick and had to be hospitalized for about two months.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Empowering young people with disabilities in Cambodia to be heard

By Sam Waller

KAMPOT, Cambodia, 20 July 2015 – The nineteen faces in the room showed a mixture of excitement and apprehension. Many of these young people were about to do something for the very first time: operate a video camera. “This is a totally new experience for me, I’ve never held a video camera before!” 21-year-old Saron told me eagerly.

21-year-old Saron, who is visually impaired, learns to use a video camera for the first time at the One Minutes Jr. workshop in Kampot, Cambodia. © UNICEF Cambodia/2015/Sam Waller

It was the first day of the One Minutes Jr. workshop organized by UNICEF in Kampot, southern Cambodia and I was there to capture stories from this special event. Over the following week these young people would learn how to tell their stories by producing a storyboard, directing a film and capturing all the action on camera.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Want to innovate paediatric care in Cambodia? Set up a playground in a hospital!

By Martina Tomassini

Children play in the playground at Battambang Provincial Hospital, Battambang Province, Cambodia.   © UNICEF Cambodia/2015/Martina Tomassini

A first-time initiative in Cambodian hospitals, playgrounds help health care providers, parents and sick children have a better experience during treatment. I spoke with Sedtha Chin, HIV/AIDS Specialist at UNICEF Cambodia, who led this innovative project.

Q: In a nutshell, what is the “Playgrounds in Hospitals” project?
A: The project consists in introducing playgrounds into the paediatric ward of Cambodian hospitals to benefit hospitalized children; children with HIV going in for their monthly treatment; hospital staff; and parents. Playgrounds are equipped with toys and books for children and adults to read. The idea is to create an environment where children enjoy themselves and learn while waiting to be treated; healthcare providers are less under pressure because children are not crying to go home; and it’s easier for parents to keep their children waiting.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Water and sanitation bring good health and dignity to Cambodian school children

By Sam Waller

© UNICEF Cambodia/2015/Sam Waller
Pupils at Tekhak Panh Nhor Primary School, Phnom Penh, using their new handwashing station

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, 10 June 2015  Birds chatter in the trees, but otherwise all is quiet at Tekhak Panh Nhor Primary School. The 400 pupils of the school, located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, are busily working away in class. Then, the clanging of the school bell. Break time! Pupils stream out of their classrooms in the direction of the school food stalls. But they actually head straight to the adjacent handwashing station, part of the school’s new UNICEF-supported water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities. The pupils methodically work their way through six different techniques to get their hands clean  also known as the six steps.

Phyron Chandywa, a thirteen-year-old pupil in Grade Six, explains further. “Before we didn’t have proper handwashing facilities and I didn’t know how to clean my hands properly. Now I know the six steps.” Chandywa beams when she talks about the new school facilities. “The new toilets are clean and more hygienic. I’m very happy that we have these new facilities.” She has even taught her family members about the handwashing steps.