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Mentoring the next generation of social workers

It was Malin’s heartfelt desire to help disadvantaged people break free from the cycle of poverty that led her to study social work at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP).

“I want to help change people’s lives for the better and to support poor people in getting a job that allows them to buy enough to eat and to live well and to ensure their children have a happy and healthy future.”

Malin is the latest social work student to be mentored by CCT’s social workers over the course of a three-month-long internship, through its partnership with RUPP. Prior to 2008, there was no social work degree offered in Cambodia and the first, academically qualified, social workers graduated from RUPP in 2012.

She was keen to do her internship with CCT because the organisation’s goals are aligned with her own — working to keep kids out of harmful institutions by ensuring people’s fundamental needs are met and that families have the tools necessary to flourish and to stay together.

CCT social workers have a huge amount of experience supporting children, families and communities. Among a whole range of holistic services, they provide counselling, do home visits, crisis intervention and facilitate community meetings, workshops and targeted support groups.

CCT’s Social Work Technical Advisor, Heidi, said that CCT has a professional obligation to help cultivate the next generation of social workers. “The social work department at CCT does a lot of really great work and it’s important to be able to provide experience and mentoring to new social workers, which will be beneficial for them, and the people they work with, as they begin their careers.”

Malin will complete her degree after finishing her internship and then final exam in May. She was thrilled to have the opportunity to build on the skills she has learnt during her four years of study.

“I’ve learnt a lot from my time with CCT, counselling families and children, working with alcohol support groups, attending meetings about social work frameworks and also improving my English.”

The bright, young Cambodian woman is inspired to spread awareness about the importance of child protection and why children need families and not institutions. “I hope that, in the future, Cambodia will have no orphanages and only family-based care.”