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Preventing & Responding to the Orphanage Crisis Learn about the Orphanage Crisis

Our work is focused on a two-prong approach to prevent and respond to
the negative impact of the Orphanage Crisis in Cambodia.

At the heart of our work is our preventative child protection model that addresses the root causes of the Orphanage Crisis. It places families and communities in the driving seat,
empowering them to meet the challenges in their lives and raise their
children well.

We are also responding to the Orphanage Crisis by reuniting children in orphanages with family.

STRENGTHENING FAMILIES PREVENTING SEPARATION

Our model of preventative child protection empowers vulnerable families, preventing children from being exposed to harm, trafficked and ending up in orphanages.

Our model is community-led. It places families in the driving seat, empowering them to identify their own solutions and raise their children well. We mobilise family and community networks to support families, equipping them to meet the challenges in their lives.

Our model is holistic. It addresses problems as a whole, allowing a tailored approach in each village. We bring support services directly into communities to ensure that families struggling with poverty, disability or illness never resort to placing their children in an orphanage.

Activities include:

Family Networks

We mobilise Family Networks around vulnerable children and their parents to co-create safety and/or empowerment plans that ensure the ongoing welfare of children. A Family Network is a committed group of people who are naturally connected with the child – they consist of extended family, neighbours, family-friends, teachers, coaches, and anyone else who is cares about the child's welfare.

Community Child Protection Networks

We mobilise Community Child Protection (CP) Networks in villages to identifying vulnerable and at-risk children and families. Community CP Networks oversee the Family Networks and ensuring families are connected in with necessary support services.

A Community CP Network is group of people in a village who are concerned for the safety and welfare of the children in their village – they consist of Village Chiefs, Village Leaders, Commune Council for Women and Children, CCT Village-based Social Workers, and members of the community.

Satellite Community Centres

CCT’s Satellite Community Centres and Preschools ensure vulnerable children in poor communities can access their basic needs – nutritious meals, clean drinking water, shower and bathroom facilities, while remaining living with their families.

Community Centres and Preschool
Public school enrolment

We enrol vulnerable children into their local public schools and ensure they have uniforms, shoes, books and everything they need to attend. We also assist families to follow-up the children's school attendance.

Preschool Program

Our Preschool program is a part of our Satellite Community Centres. It was established for the younger siblings of the children who attend our Satellite Community Centres, providing young children with the care they require while their older siblings are at school. It also provides them with nutritious meals, healthcare and a full day of activities to promote their emotional, physical and intellectual development.

Medical outreach

We provide preventative healthcare interventions including vaccinations, regular health check-ups and general health and hygiene workshops. We also ensure families can access treatment for acute and chronic illnesses, injuries and mental health.

Family Finance training

We work with vulnerable families to show them how to save money, grow their income, and become financially independent.

Income generation

We assist parents, caregivers and school-leavers to access safe and non-exploitative employment and generate an income so they can cover their basic living costs and support their children.

Community support groups & workshops

We provide a range of educational workshops for community members and families, including: skilful parenting workshops, school attendance workshops, alcohol support groups and child protection.

Crisis intervention

CCT’s social workers are on call 24/7 to respond to crisis situations to support vulnerable children and families. Our social workers help develop action plans, source accommodation, liaise with police, de-escalate conflict, provide counselling and mobilise a family network to support families and ensure ongoing safety.

Counselling

Our social workers do regular home visits to vulnerable families and are trained to provide counselling to the children and family members.

Vocational training

We help young adults and school-leavers find safe and non-exploitive employment training (such as in the hospitality and auto-mechanic industry) that will help them earn a secure income. On average, the training lasts one year – after which time the young adult will seek employment in their field of expertise.

Raising Awareness

We deliver workshops and advocacy materials to raise awareness about the harms of orphanages and importance of keeping families together for local communities, NGOs, government officials, tourists, and donors.

Academic classes

Our Satellite Community Centres run supplementary academic classes to improve children’s confidence and academic results at public school. By helping them with literacy in Khmer, English and maths, we can assist them to catch up to their age-appropriate grade.

Life skills

Our Satellite Community Centrez run life skills classes to ensure develop important skills needed for successful independent living, such as nutrition, gardening and financial literacy. CCT’s Kitchen Garden classes give the children an opportunity to learn how to plant, tend and harvest their own food.

Cultural activities

Our Satellite Community Centres run cultural activities such as Aspara dancing, Khmer music classes and Khmer theatre to keep Cambodian culture alive for the next generation.

ICT

Our Satellite Community Centres run ICT literacy programs, ensuring that children are learning the crucial skills they will need to thrive in an increasingly digital world. We also offer opportunities for more advanced ICT skill development such as coding, multimedia, website development and robotics.

Physical education

Our Satellite Community Centres run sporting activities such as football, Aspara dancing and martial arts, ensuring children receive a well-rounded education.

School in the cloud

Our Satellite Community Centres run Professor Sugata Mitra’s School in the Cloud program. The School in the Cloud classroom helps students prepare for the future by using Self-Organised Learning Environments (SOLE). This approach sparks the imagination and creativity of students at our Satellite Community Centres by encouraging them to ask big questions and learn the methods and skills needed to find the answers.

REUNITING FAMILIES

The Orphanage Crisis has resulted in thousands of children around in Cambodia being unnecessarily separated from their families and institutionalised in orphanages.

When children are separated from the people who they were attached and bonded to, a massive biological stress response is triggered and remains activated until their familiar caregiver returns. The most important resource a child can possibly have to buffer the effects of toxic stress is a responsible adult who’s totally devoted to their well-being.

Each day a child remains in an orphanage, separated from their family, the harm is compounded and chances of lifelong consequences is increased. We are working with the Cambodian Government to safely reunite children from orphanages with their families. We also ensure the family have adequate ongoing support to welcome their children home.

Activities include:

Family tracing and reunification

We meet with children in orphanages, provide counselling and begin the process of tracing their families. Once family is found, risk assessments are conducted and we work with the family, children and surrounding community to develop a plan to safely reunite the children. This process is always driven by the children, allowing time for them to rebuild relationships with family members who they may not have seen for some time. The decision to return and how long that takes is always dictated by the children.

ALTERNATIVE CARE

It is very rare have to resort to foster care. Our prevention work harnesses the power of family and community networks to ensure the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children. Even children who have been orphaned or come from dysfunctional families can be kept safe with a committed family support network around them. However, if all family and kin placements have been exhausted, as an absolute last resort we ensure children who need alternative care are placed in foster families, not orphanages.  When looking for foster care placements, we always begin looking within the child’s home community so, wherever possible, they can stay connected to family and retain a sense of belonging.

Activities include:

 

 

Foster care

Where it's not possible for a child to live with their biological parents, we look at kinship care options so that the child can stay connected to their birth family and community. For those children who have no safe options to live with relatives or who are in the process of family-tracing and family reunification, CCT provides short-term and long-term family-based foster care. All the children in our programs are living in a family.

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