Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Growing up in Cambodia: Srei Thim, 14, Andong urban poor community, Phnom Penh

As told to Martina Tomassini

© UNICEF Cambodia/2015/Fani Llaurado
Srey Thim, 14, sits outside her home in Andong urban poor community, Phnom Penh.

Srei Thim, aged 14, lives in Andong urban poor community. With over 3,500 people, Andong is one of the 516 urban poor communities in Phnom Penh which account for about 25% of the capital’s population – according to government sources. Typically for urban poor communities, Andong faces many challenges, including poor sanitation & hygiene and high rates of diarrhoea and malnutrition. Lack of toilets, proper drainage, garbage disposal system, as well as overcrowded shacks, are common problems. The situation is compounded by high rates of poverty and domestic violence. To help face some of these challenges, UNICEF supports the Cambodian government in promoting access to healthcare for the vulnerable people of Andong and other urban slums in Phnom Penh. As a result, the spread of diseases in the community has decreased, however a lot more remains to be done to ensure all children and mothers are healthy. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Birth registration gives every child their right to an identity

By Kong Vanny and Ariel Hofher

 © UNICEF Cambodia/2015/Kong Vanny 
Chruy Saveth, holds her baby Yaty and shows the child’s birth certificate in Ou Kandoul village, Kampong Cham province.

Kampong Cham, Cambodia, 17 August 2015 – Sitting on a woven mat on the floor of her home in Ou Kandoul village, Kampong Cham province, Chruy Saveth cradles Yaty, her newborn daughter. Yaty is just 11 days old, yet an incredibly important event has already taken place in her life. Saveth holds out a single sheet of headed paper, which has been signed and stamped; in the future, this piece of paper will allow Yaty to access healthcare, education and eventually employment. It is her birth registration certificate.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Youth voices tackling violence against children in Cambodia

By Sam Waller

21-year-old Tuy Raksmey, who is a member of the UNICEF Youth Representative Group and will represent Cambodian youth during the creation of Cambodia’s action plan to tackle violence against children
© UNICEF Cambodia/2015/Sam Waller
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, 12 August 2015 – Dressed smartly with a traditional Cambodian krama scarf around her neck, Tuy Raksmey is a young woman with a mission. “I want to help to end violence against children in Cambodia,” she tells me. “I experienced violence as a child and my neighbours use violence against their children too. I want to contribute to a solution.”

Many of Cambodia’s children and adolescents experience violence – often physical but also emotional violence and sexual abuse. Cambodia’s Violence against Children Survey (CVACS), launched in October 2014, revealed that more than 50 per cent of young people surveyed had been the victim of physical violence as a child.

21-year-old Raksmey is one of 20 adolescents and young people who are ensuring that Cambodian youth have a voice in the country’s response to violence against children (VAC), as members of the UNICEF Youth Representative Group. The group receives technical support from UNICEF and funding from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development through Together for Girls.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Children with disabilities flourishing at school

By Anna Nordenrot

Pich Set Vimol (front left) sitting with friends outside her classroom at Krong Kampot Primary School in Kampot.
©UNICEF Cambodia/2015/Anna Nordenrot

KAMPOT, Cambodia, 11 August 2015 – It’s break time at Krong Kampot Primary School and hundreds of children are playing in the schoolyard. 11-year-old Pich Set Vimol, however, prefers to spend her breaks in the classroom. “Because of my disability I cannot run around like the other children. I have colouring pens and paper, so if I don’t feel like going out I enjoy drawing pictures instead,” she tells me with a smile.

‘Smiling’ is perhaps the best way to describe Vimol, who studies in Grade 5 and lives with her parents and three siblings in Muoy Ousaphea village, Kampot. Upon hearing her story, I cannot help but wonder if it is Vimol’s positive attitude that has helped her to overcome her difficulties and become the successful girl that she is today. She explains to me that in 2009 she fell and badly injured her leg. “I fell and hit a rock that broke my leg. The injury did not heal very well and my leg broke twice more after that.” Vimol was in such a bad state that she could not attend school for five months and today, although back in school, she cannot walk without assistance.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Resilient communities in a changing environment

By Jorge Alvarez-Sala

© UNICEF Cambodia/2015/Jorge Alvarez-Sala
Yuen Roun washes her baby with water from a nearby pond, Veal village, Siem Reap province.

SIEM REAP, Cambodia, 4 August 2015 – Yuen Roun is 37 years old, has two children and a big debt that obliged her husband to migrate from Cambodia to Thailand a few weeks ago. 

Roun’s family lives in Veal village, Siem Reap province. They are landless farmers so they work as daily labourers for other (poor and nearly poor) neighbours.  

Late in 2013 Roun’s husband got malaria, just before the rice harvesting season. This is the time with the most job opportunities for daily labourers, but her husband had to stay home for months and the family had no income. As a result, they had to resort to requesting a loan of $100 from a local microfinance organisation.