We do whatever it takes to protect adolescent girls from trafficking and exploitation, but the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in Cambodia is jeopardising that freedom. The majority of our girls are in the most restrictive red zone, where food is scarce and markets are closed, so are distributing essential food relief to girls and their families so they can continue building a future post COVID.
Curfews have been imposed and travel is restricted for millions of people. With businesses across Cambodia closing and jobs limited, many families don't have money for food or supplies. Girls are now at a heightened risk of violence, exploitation, and (online) school drop out. We need a coordinated effort to immediately protect girls from exploitation, provide emergency food relief and mental health counselling, so we can ensure they can thrive in a post COVID world.
Our plan is two part: (1) Protect 183 girls in our care (+ their 702 family members) by delivering basic food supplies for the whole family, assessing the psychological needs of all girls, providing phone credits provided for girls who need to reach us, as well as ongoing 24/7 support for each family. Then (2) we will use our national hotline to reach other families with the same relief support.
This is about more than feeding families. One unfortunate scenario like this (a lack of a food package) threatens everything that a girl has worked so hard for in her education. But last year we banned together during a similar covid crisis and we managed to keep hundreds safe and get 100% of our Grade 12 girls to graduate and enroll in university. And we are confident we can do it again.