Friday, January 29, 2016

A safe environment for child trafficking survivors

By Iman Morooka

The Goutte d’eau reception centre for children rescued from trafficking, where children live, learn and play
© UNICEF Cambodia/2015/Antoine Raab

It’s 10 o’clock in the morning, and the children are busy learning in the outdoor classrooms set up at the reception centre run by the NGO Goutte d’eau in Poipet, a town in northwestern Cambodia on the Thai border. This morning, the teacher tells stories to teach the children about the importance of personal hygiene. The children gaze intently at their teacher and take in the story.

But, this is not an ordinary class or a regular school. Classes at this centre are tailored to provide education to children who have been rescued from traffickers – children who have experienced enormous trauma and exploitation. The children here receive regular lessons. They also learn songs composed by the teachers about children’s right to education, protection and care. Story-telling classes help the children to learn essentials skills and knowledge to assist with their healthy growth.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A monk playing an important role in protecting children

By Kanha Chan

Venerable Mao Kun, the head monk in Vihear Thom pagoda, Prey Veng province
© UNICEF Cambodia/2015/Kanha Chan

Since 2008, under the regional Buddhist Leadership Initiative, UNICEF Cambodia has cooperated with the Ministry of Cults and Religions to implement a four-year project promoting the role of Buddhist monks in supporting orphans, children affected by or vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, and their families. The project finished in 2012, but it was so successful that cooperation continued. The project aims to involve religious leaders as advocates to raise the voices of children and challenge social norms that allow violence against children to continue. It also promotes family-based care. The Ministry of Cults and Religions has played an important part in coordinating religious leaders and promoting their role in protecting children from violence, abuse and unnecessary family separation.

Venerable Mao Kun, the head of the monks in Vihear Thom pagoda, was part of this cooperation. In his role as a religious leader, he has helped children who experienced violence and abuse and has worked to prevent unnecessary family separation. Vihear Thom pagoda is in Rong Damrey village, Cheoung Phnom commune, Ba Phnom district, Prey Veng province.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Parenting education empowers hard-to-reach women with knowledge

By Ariel Hofher

Nhor Bork, 19, (left) has benefited from parenting education classes delivered by Kavet Neang (right) in Koy village, Ratanakiri province
© UNICEF Cambodia/2015/Vanny Kong

Kavet Neang is talking to 25 women, each intently engaged with what she is saying. These mothers are from Koy village in Ratanakiri, the province in Cambodia’s remote northeastern corner, and this is a UNICEF-supported village health support group. Neang is the local commune focal point for women and children, a role which sees her deliver parenting education sessions such as this one.

Neang speaks in Kroeung, the local language in this rural village. Today she is raising awareness on key obstetric care practices – helping women to know how to protect the health of their baby and themselves when they give birth.

Parenting education classes are an important component of UNICEF’s strategy for improving family and caregiver practices, with the aim of reducing maternal mortality and bettering early childhood survival and development.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Safe water for families thanks to community water treatment

By Jeremiah Rogers

Chorn Sina and her husband with safe drinking water in their home in Paknam village, Kampong Cham
© Lien Aid/2015

Chorn Sina and her husband are tobacco farmers in Paknam village, a rural community of just over 1,000 families along Touch River in Kampong Cham Province. They live in a simple wooden house with their 10-year-old daughter.

The area in which the family lives is prone to flooding, which can contaminate water sources. The groundwater is also contaminated with arsenic, a tasteless poison that can cause irreversible health problems. Sina and her husband used to gather firewood regularly from a nearby forest, to boil their water in an effort to make it safe to drink. “Gathering wood to boil water took us several hours every week,” explains Sina, “and we spent less time working on our farm and with our family.” Now, Sina and her family have easy access to affordable clean water.