During Covid-19, we at APLE and the child protection community in general need to be much more alert as well as flexible on the needs of children at risk of sexual abuse and exploitation. There are many underlying factors that can increase risk of sexual abuse and exploitation - poverty being one of the main ones.
The economic impact of Covid-19 in Cambodia has been far more devastating than the health impact in the country that at the moment stands at zero deaths related to the virus.
With the help of some individual donors as well as our main donor foundations, we have distributed welfate kits to 21 families in dire need. Among those families is the family of young Dara (not his real name), a 12 year old boy living in the Doem Chan Village of Phnom Penh with his family of 6 siblings. Dara was abused by a foreigner in 2018, and we collaborated with a partner organisation to provide further social services whilst we provided the legal representation.
Dara’s mother is a fruit seller who sells fruits mostly to restaurants. They slowly decreased their sales from January until early April, when they completely stopped selling due to many restaurants closing and lack of clients. This, to a family of 8, is of major stress.
APLE provided welfare support and hygiene materials to Dara and his family, to which they have shown a lot of gratitude. We are at the moment coordinating more support for the following months with different partner NGOs as well as donors, and of course, with your help, as it will be difficult for many families to recover from the Covid-19 economic hit.