It’s Valentines Day! Near our headquarters in Phnom Penh the streets are full of (mainly young) vendors selling flowers, cuddly toys and other love-themed trinkets from brightly decorated makeshift stalls to students and young people who mill around excitedly, giggling shyly at their purchases from behind their hands. Pink is everywhere – all we need is Aerosmith’s paean to the color of passion on the soundtrack and the picture is complete…
But underneath the fluffy bunnies and hearts and flowers, the real world lurks, and in a country where there are growing numbers of young people (50% of the population are under the age of 25 according to the CIA World Factbook) the importance of those young people having access to clear and reliable information on reproductive health and relationship issues is paramount.
This is where the ‘Health and Love’ website of Friends International plays an increasing role primarily among urban young people in Cambodia in providing access to information on health (including sexual health) and relationships, with confidential access to professional advice on these topics. It also links to initiatives including ChildSafe, promoting their 24-hour helplines.
Clearly this is a much needed service, and one that also works – last year almost 30,000 young Cambodians visited Dr. Love on the ‘Health and Love’ site for advice and information.
So, Happy Valentines Day from us all at Friends-International, and remember, if you have a relationship or health question, you can always ask our Dr.Love!