One thing we learnt very quickly when we volunteered and worked in Cambodia in 2006/2007, is things change - some change rapidly, and some change very very slowly. The new NGO law has taken its time to be shaped and moulded to fit the current affairs of Cambodia, and despite much anticipation there are still many that are not happy with the new proposals and in this case one size does not fit all.
As a non-political charity we won’t comment on the current situation of the law, but will discuss how the new proposal assists in what HOPE have tried to achieve since registering as a charity back in 2008. We recognised very early on that there was a lot of help (sometimes misguided) for younger children and the support of orphanages and children centres, many of which have been purported as ‘fake’ and ‘bogus’. Therefore we took the stance to help the young adults, who no longer fit the requirements of staying in an orphanage, to stand on their own two feet and to support themselves.
The new NGO law is promoting that many of the bogus children centres be stamped out and original care re-instated back to living with extended family or community members. There is much positive work steering communities to support children who have previously been sent to live away from home.
Hopefully, this will give the children the opportunity to create stronger family ties and community connections and remain in the family fold. By finding their roots there hopes to be a natural progression for them to work on the family farm or be an apprentice in their uncle’s garage or Auntie’s dress shop and if their education allows and if support is there for them to take further opportunities to move to the bigger cities for work or further education.
Over the years, we have seen first-hand how difficult it has been for the young adults who have left institutions to survive independently, despite help in furthering their education, finding vocational training and providing shelter.
Sangkheum Center for Children have highlighted the need to re-integrate some of their children back into their own communities and continued their support for young adults in the transitional stages to be self-sufficient, their work has been ground breaking, and their journey continues.
Sangkheum started this journey a few years back re-evaluating their current model and to make serious changes to their operation, and only now are we seeing the success of their work. This doesn’t mean that their work is finished and we are still in urgent needs of funds to help them carry out this important work.
Please do help support us to help them and other NGO’s on the ground in Siem Reap to give young adults the right tools to start an independent life.