Families in the slums of Cambodia struggle with profound poverty, addiction and abuse. But their biggest wishes are the same as families everywhere - healthy, happy children with an education. Desperation makes them targets for child traffickers, especially during a crisis like a sudden illness or lost job when they have given up hope. Riverkids works with the most complicated and abusive families, because their children are the most vulnerable, easy prey for pedophiles, pimps and traffickers.
WINGS supports families with direct aid tied to health and educational goals for their children, with counselling and support to encourage the families to stand on their own to protect their children from traffickers. We developed WINGS after detailed surveys, studying other successful alternative aid programs and test-piloting it for a year. WINGS also identifies families who need more intensive help. WINGS now provides daily meals to over 400 children at Riverkids.
Children in WINGS have the nutrition to concentrate in class and graduate. WINGS families use the funds for food, medicine and daily essentials for their children, and are able to start saving for the future instead of spiralling into poverty. WINGS directly ties good parenting - school attendance, improved child nutrition, counselling - to financial stability. Families in our pilot have gone from pushing children to drop out and work, to choosing to pay for their school fees themselves.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).