A Khmer New Year Story

Noulin is proud to be a ChildSafe tuk tuk driver who has directly helped children who were at risk. One morning he saw two girls aged 13 and 14 looking lost on the streets of Phnom Penh. They seemed very upset and distressed. Because of his ChildSafe training, Noulin realized that they were in a very vulnerable situation.

During the school vacation for Khmer New Year, these two girls had come to the city from Kompong Cham province with a neighbor who had promised to give them a job. However, when they asked to visit their home for the holiday festivities, they were told they must remain working. Desperate to return to their family, these two girls had run away, but were soon faced with the fact that they were alone in a large city with no money for transportation and no-one to turn to for help. It takes very little imagination to realize how defenseless they were and the kinds of dangers they could face.

Luckily, Noulin’s ChildSafe training meant he knew how to help! He approached the girls to find out their story and drove them straight to the ChildSafe Center. They were offered counseling and support, their parents were contacted and the girls were able to return home that very day. The team also took the opportunity to inform their parents about child rights and child exploitation to ensure that these circumstances do not occur again. They were assigned a Case Manager who follows up with them regularly.

Noulin’s story just goes to show how valuable it is to educate and support the local community to help those around them. If these girls had not received immediate help, they could have ended up living on the streets and exposed to all kinds of risks. Instead, their tale has a happy ending and they were reunited with their family.

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