Save the Children Project started in 2007 by Chong Kok Baptist Church in Mongkolborey district Banteay Meanchey province. The project seeks to intervene in the lives of children who are at risk of abandonment when their parents leave the border towns of Cambodia to work in neighboring Thailand. Intervention is being accomplished by providing after school education for children, educational workshops addressing the needs of children in the community, and by efforts to bolster the local economy in order to raise the food security and the standard of living of the children’s families.
2. Problem Statement
Many families in Banteay Meanchey move to work in Thailand. In early 2006 Pastor Phirum, of Chhong Kork Christian Church, conducted a baseline survey to identify the problems children are facing in Chhong Kork village. The results showed that children are vulnerable to displacement and abandonment. Social issues affecting children in this region include child labor, drug use, poverty, sex trafficking, illiteracy and domestic violence.
- Displacement to Thailand – There are two scenarios regarding children: 1) Children move into Thailand with their families. Often the children are exploited for labor and do not attend school. 2) Children are left behind in Cambodia while the parents go to Thailand to find work. Children may live with relatives or live by themselves or be in charge of younger children at home. Even when living with relatives, they often need to fend for themselves, so again they lack the opportunity to go to school.
- Drug Use – 35% of the children, ages 12-17, who live in Chhong Kork village use amphetamines.
- Poverty – people who live in the village have no access to jobs. They live far from town and the markets. Their farming provides only a subsistence living, and they are unable to support their families
- Trafficking and Child Labor – Children move away for jobs at the border or in Thailand. There are three risks they confront: 1) They are forced to work all day, unable to attend school or enjoy childhood. 2) Some are forced to be prostitutes in Southeast Asia’s rampant child-sex trade. 3) Many are forced to beg for money (disfiguring a child’s body by putting their legs or arms into acid or by breaking their legs or arms).
- Illiteracy – 60% of children in Chhong Kork village do not attend school. 40% of them are in school, but the teachers do not come to class regularly (a number of children answered that their teachers come to class about 10 days a month).
A. Education Support
- Provide supplemental class for 180 children to improve good quality education.
- Provide school supplies to 200 children
- Provide 23 bikes to 23 children
- Provide a dormitory for 20 high school students
- Conduct training on Sexual abuse, Child Protection and the Marriage Law for 80 parents
- Conduct training on Child Protection for a village leader, a commune leader, commune police and public school teachers
- Conduct training Child Protection and Safe Migration for 200 primary & high school students
- The Child Safe Network has been in place
C) Income Generation Assistance
- Conduct training on mushroom plantation for 60 parents and 20 student at the dorm
- Improve food security and living standard with 35 families through providing micro-loans to expand/start small enterprises