Chinnat, 13, Chinny, 11, and Phanna, 6, live in a remote village with their mum and dad.
Mum and dad earn just $2.50 a day working on a farm and are in multiple debts. When their employer needs them to travel for work they have no choice but to leave their children at home alone, sometimes for days at a time.
If they don’t go, their children won’t have food.
Without supervision from their mum and dad, Chinnat, Chinny and Phanna spent their days living on the streets. They were begging and stopped going to school, putting them at serious risk of being put in an orphanage.
More than 60 years of international research shows that growing up in orphanages can have a lifelong detrimental impact on the physical, emotional and psychological development of children. This is why all orphanages are harmful to children, regardless of the living conditions or whether the orphanage operators have good intentions.
The most important thing for a child’s healthy development is growing up in their family.
The women’s village network and local community leaders in Chinnat, Chinny and Phanna’s village alerted CCT, who immediately took action to support the whole family. Social workers came to provide counselling and family strengthening support, and provided medical treatment for the children. We helped Mum and Dad feel safe to come home and learn new work skills that would give them more employment opportunities around their village.
Long-term, Mum and Dad wanted a secure income that would keep their family safe and allow them to stay permanently at home in Battambang. So our Family Finance team helped them start their own business. We purchased the materials so they could build a chicken coop on their property, and then started intensive financial coaching about saving, budgeting, reducing debt, identifying needs versus wants and running a sustainable business.
We then helped Chinnat, Chinny and Phanna enrol in their local public school. We organised the government paperwork they needed to enrol and provided them with new school uniforms, backpacks, school shoes and text books.
Although schools have been closed for the past 8 months to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Chinnat, Chinny and Phanna are still enrolled and doing home learning. This is a huge feat as there are concerns that thousands of vulnerable children across Cambodia will drop out of school following months of school closures. We are making sure Chinnat, Chinny and Phanna have all the remote learning support they need. Because they live next to their local public school, they are able to pick up homework and assignments from their teachers.
Now, Mum and Dad have a secure and sustainable income in Battambang. They are now able to stay permanently at home with their children, which is what they have always wanted.
Families should not have to face the agonising choice between earning money for food or leaving their children at home alone.
With your help, we can support the most vulnerable families in Cambodia to stay together.