Psychosocial support for 300 Cambodian children

by Terre Des Hommes Netherlands
Psychosocial support for 300 Cambodian children
Psychosocial support for 300 Cambodian children
Psychosocial support for 300 Cambodian children
Psychosocial support for 300 Cambodian children

October 2021 update: Providing psycho-social support to Cambodian children

 

Children who are victims of sexual exploitation require long-term support from trained professionals to accompany them on their journey towards reintegration within their families and communities. Terre des Hommes Netherlands in Cambodia works to provide them adequate legal aid and psychosocial services.

At the school and community level, prevention is essential to improve community-based child protection, reporting and fight discrimination against victims.

Rehabilitation of child victims

 

Cases closed

 

This project is now closed and we have been busy in the fast few months making sure child victims of sexual exploitation receive the best possible care: 

 

  • The cases of 2 adolescent boy victims of sexual exploitation were successfully closed as their situation was considered to be stable and safe and they both started working;
  • Unfortunately, the Terre des Hommes Netherlands field Office located in Siem Reap was closed in parallel with the closure of the project;
  • 21 cases of child victims of SECTT were handed over to over long-term partner Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) and the relevant Departments of Social Affairs in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. 7 were "direct cases" TDHNL social workers had worked with and 11 cases were already "remote" cases led by other service providers, like Hagar and Agape International Mission;
  • 1 client still could not be found after he moved to Poipet near the Thailand border to find work in 2020. Authorities were provided the necessary information.
  • Even if it's the end of our Working Actively Together for Children (WATCH) project, started at the beginning of 2018, we are preparing for a new project to keep supporting child victims. The next project will focus on prevention and responding to Online Child Sexual Exploitation.

Our social workers support children to go back to school, a key step towards reintegration

Our child volunteers advocated for better child protection through awareness raising campaigns

Testimonies

 

Nara, 12: “I am feeling better and because of this I have made new friends in the neighbourhood. I am brave now if compared to before, now I can communicate with my friends, they motivate me to study hard. I learned how to protect my sister and cousin from the abuse when we go to school.”

 

Ven, 16: “I am very happy to have met the TdH-NL social workers and to get support. Now, we all have a good relationship, especially the relationship between me and my stepfather. He stopped blaming me and using bad words.”

 

Thida, youth volunteer, 17:“I feel optimistic about the future to see my community environment and children safe with a better understanding of SECTT both to protect themselves and to report incidents of SECTT and other forms of violence. 


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Rehabilitation of child victims

 

22 children (7 girls) identified as victims of sexual exploitation benefitted from legal aid and psychosocial support provided by TDHNL social workers and by the specialists of Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE)

 

33 welfare and hygiene packages were distributed to these children and their families to support them to cope with the loss of income under COVID-19; 1 child received a bicycle to support him complete his education

 

We collaborated with our NGO network to find vocational training for 2 boys who are over 16. The case of a boy who started working as a mechanic was successfully closed

 

Prevention of sexual exploitation through travel and tourism

 

452 children regularly involved in children's clubs to learn about the risks of sexual exploitation 


2,027 community members were involved in awareness raising events


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Our child volunteers advocated for better child pr
Our child volunteers advocated for better child pr

January 2021 update: Providing psycho-social support to Cambodian children

Children who are victims of sexual exploitation require long-term support from trained professionals to accompany them on their journey towards reintegration within their families and communities. Terre des Hommes Netherlands in Cambodia works to provide them adequate legal aid and psychosocial services.

At the school and community level, prevention is essential to improve community-based child protection, reporting and fight discrimination against victims.

Rehabilitation of child victims

23 children (13 girls) received emergency support from our local partner Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) after being rescued from an exploitative situation

35 children (14 girls) benefitted from long-term rehabilitation services

60 children (33 girls) received welfare packages to prevent re-victimization during the COVID-19 crisis

Prevention of sexual exploitation through travel and tourism

452 children regularly involved in children's clubs to learn about the risks of sexual exploitation 

2,027 community members were involved in awareness raising events

Testimonies

Nara, 12: “I am feeling better and because of this I have made new friends in the neighbourhood. I am brave now if compared to before, now I can communicate with my friends, they motivate me to study hard. I learned how to protect my sister and cousin from the abuse when we go to school.”

Ven, 16: “I am very happy to have met the TdH-NL social workers and to get support. Now, we all have a good relationship, especially the relationship between me and my stepfather. He stopped blaming me and using bad words.”

Thida, youth volunteer, 17: “I feel optimistic about the future to see my community environment and children safe with a better understanding of SECTT both to protect themselves and to report incidents of SECTT and other forms of violence.

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Thanks to your donation, we are seeing many vulnerable Cambodian children being provided with the immediate psychosocial and medical care they need following cases of trauma related to sexual exploitation in the travel and tourism industry. 

Thida is a 17-year-old girl in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province. She has seven siblings and lives with her parents. The family lives on farming however, the father has an extra job as a private school gardener and the mother is also a Khmer noodle seller. Despite the efforts of Thida’s parents, the family still has debts. Four of Thida’s siblings dropped out of school and became farmers. 

She was pressured by her mother, older brother, and sister to drop out of school so that she can support her parents to earn more income by farming. She cried and felt upset because she did not want to quit her studies.  

Thida was quiet and did not have the confidence to talk to a big group but she was still a clever student in class. 

Thida never heard about Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism (SECTT) before joining Terre des Hommes Netherlands’ WATCH (Working Actively Together for Children) project as a student volunteer. She frequently helped her mother sell products in tourist areas. While she did not realise that foreigners may not harm her and other children, she did not know how to protect herself and others. Thida was not aware of the grooming techniques used by offenders and how children who want to make money are particularly at risk. 

“I felt shy and did not want to talk much to friends. I was concerned only about my family's livelihood and my parents wanted me to drop out of school”. Thida added “I thought the tourists who came to visit Cambodia for good reasons and there was no sexual exploitation of children”.

TDH selected Thida’s school to receive awareness raising events regarding sexual exploitation. Her school is located in a hotspot area where children are vulnerable to sexual exploitation. The aim of the WATCH project is to spread awareness about this issue by using children and youth volunteers to inform their community on how to protect themselves. 

At the end of July 2019, Thida and three other students were selected by their teacher to join the project. The teacher proposed to them to join because they have been brave, have high commitment, and a good reputation in school.  

Thida started with the project orientation in the following month. During the training, and awareness events at school, Thida has been an outstanding student (amongst a total of 24 WATCH’s school volunteers students). 

Throughout the project, Thida was involved in many trainings and workshops organized by TDH such as Training of Trainers on SECTT, communications for development, facilitation skills, and basic financing which played a key role in co-facilitating awareness raising events in school.

Thida even represented TDH at the event celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Child Rights Convention organized by the Joining Forces Network in November 2019. 

Thida learned very quickly how to positively influence her friends, family members, and other children in her community. Thida was offered the opportunity to do an activity and budget plan, and also lead pre-meeting with the team before the event happened. After every session, she and other volunteers reflected with the TDH team about their strengths, weaknesses, and shared how they could improve future events. Throughout the programme, Thida also learned how to make a video, write a story related to child rights, and develop posters for social media. 

Thida has led her team to replicate awareness raising activities in her school with various groups of students. The girl is a fast learner and the most standout volunteer among the schools in the province. Before the event, she always organized a pre-meeting with peers to divide roles and calculated budget for the events. After each event, she did a minute report to TDH project staff. 

When TDH´s field staff visited Thida’s home, they had a conversation with her parents. Her mother was pleased about her new found role in the community, “I am really happy to see my daughter become more courageous. I saw her and other children go to the training centers in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh and saw them help children in the village after being trained”. Her mother was proud that she became a volunteer for a community project and she seemed positive to see her daughter become stronger, confident, and courageous. 

Recently, Thida became a member of the child council in her school and will continue the work she is doing through the WATCH project. She leads other students to organize school gardening, and gathers resources for helping poor students.

Thida said, “I am braver than before and I have helped my classmates learn about sexual exploitation while building good relationships with them. I am now capable of writing stories, developing messages through posters and photos, and making videos for social media to promote self-protection among children and their friends”.

She added, “I am very pleased to join the WATCH project and I have learned a lot about SECTT.  The WATCH project is helpful for children in school and community members because they gain knowledge and information on how to report to parents, teachers, local authorities and police about sexual exploitation in the community. It also gives the opportunity to teenagers to involve, build confidence and be a model for other kids in school and community as a whole.”

Thida looks forward to her future. She said, “My personal goal is to be a doctor to support myself and my family. Moreover, I want to continue helping other children and people in my community.” She added, “I feel optimistic about the future to see my environment safe where children have a better understanding of issues in their communities and how to protect themselves from it. I hope that the WATCH project will continue. I am committed to replicate the knowledge and experiences that I have gained in other schools and communities”.

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Thanks to your donation, we are seeing many vulnerable Camboian children being provided with the immediate psychosocial and medical care they need following cases of trauma related to sexual exploitation in the travel and tourism industry. 

One such child is Villa - a 14-year old female from Phnom Penh Cambodia. Villa lived with her mother and six siblings in a small rental room in a poor community near the riverside. Her father left her family when she was 10 to live with a new wife, leaving her mother to be the only wage earner for the family. Along with her siblings, Villa collected cans and begged for money from tourists to try to get by. Her mother urged her to drop out of school so she could devote all of her time to begging. 

In 2013, she met an older tourist from the US when she was begging for money near the riverside. He befriended her, gave her money and visited her on a daily basis. Once he had gained her trust, he convinced her to let him abuse her. For two years, he abused Villa until police in Phnom Penh arrested him in 2015. Villa was rescued, assessed and provided with immediate health care and psychosocial support and placed in a shelter. During the time that Villa was in the shelter, she was also provided with legal support and counseled to testify in court and seek justice against her perpetrator. 

In 2016, Villa's perpetrator was found guilty of purchasing child prostitution and sentenced to ten years in prison.

She is still working hard to overcome her trauma and sees a counselor and social worker twice weekly to recover from her trauma and look to the future. She dreams of becoming a hairdresser and opening her own salon someday. 

Thanks to your donation, we are able to continue to provide this much needed support to children who are vulnerable to sexual exploitation in Cambodia. 

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Project Leader:
Rilian Agunos
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
$2,674 raised of $5,000 goal
 
29 donations
$2,326 to go
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