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Tuesday 3rd August 2010 by Amanda
After spending a day with the EveryChild team in Phnom Penh, we start out early to make our way to see our project in Kamrieng District. The main route out of Phnom Penh is busy with laden motorbikes, street vendors and pedestrians. Our destination is Kamrieng District, in Battambang Province where our work with our partner Meahto Phum Ko’mah (MPK) focuses on supporting and protecting children at risk of or who end up living and working on the streets. We arrive early afternoon at MPK’s offices in Battambang city. The offices of MPK are on the site of a children’s temporary residential centre. This is short-stay accommodation for children while M PK tries to reunite them with their immediate or extended families or where this is not possible try to place the children with foster families.
Wednesday 4th August 2010 by Amanda
Today we go to the drop-in centre in a commune where EveryChild works. The drop-in centre provides a place for children to wash, eat and where they can receive lessons in literacy, basic maths, personal hygiene and child rights. When we visit there are around 50 children. They are all seated around their two teachers and in the middle of a lesson. Some may have been left at home while their parents work over the border, some may be carers for younger siblings, some may be working or permanently living on the streets. They are a mixed age-group, between 3 and 15 years old, and the teachers do well to keep them all engaged. Soon the children break for play in the yard. The circle games look very familiar and it’s good to see the children so obviously enjoying themselves.
Thursday 5th August 2010 by Amanda
I meet with the members of the child protection network (CPN) in a hall in another village. These are representatives from each of the eight villages within the commune. They act as a bridge between the project team and their own villages. They help set up projects, co-ordinate child protection and parenting skills training and identify problems and highlight vulnerable families in their villages. The Chair of the CPN tells me that they have helped to reduce child trafficking and drug abuse in their villages.
Monday 9th August 2010 by Amanda
After a few days with the EveryChild Cambodia team in Phnom Penh, it’s time to make the journey to see the work of our other partner, Legal Aid Cambodia (LAC). For many reasons, including poverty, trafficking and family breakdown, increasing numbers of children are living and working on the streets. These children are at greater risk of becoming separated from their families and communities – particularly when they come into contact with the law. Children over fourteen can be tried in a criminal court and if found guilty can be sentenced to detention in adult prisons where they are extremely vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse and don’t receive the protection and care that they need.
Tuesday 10th August 2010 by Amanda
My visit ends today. It’s been a brilliant trip – I’ve learnt a lot about the Cambodia programme and about some of the challenges involved in its implementation. It’s been great to meet the dedicated staff at MPK and LAC and get to know our fantastic team in Cambodia. But some of my lasting memories are sure to be the children I met and their enduring sense of fun. I make a personal promise to myself to come back sometime soon.