In this post we take a brief look at the broad range of work undertaken by one of the smallest (in staff terms) of the Friends-International programs, the Chom Chao program in Cambodia.
Chom Chao is a community located in Phnom Penh city which has a high number of residents who were relocated there after their homes were demolished to make way for new buildings during the development of the city center. The people of Chom Chao community face numerous challenges, including high unemployment, drug usage, particularly among youth, and high levels of general economic disadvantage. Friends-International runs a small dedicated program in the community.
The Kaliyan Mith Chom Chao (KMCC) team is only four strong, yet their work has a significant positive impact upon residents. It includes outreach work, going directly into the community and providing needed services to community members, education work, encouraging parents to register their children to school, and it also supports children to reintegrate into school and to stay there. A recent reintegration event held in Chom Chao saw 149 children supported – 64 newly reintegrated and 85 supported to remain in education, quite an achievement for the small and dedicated team!
KMCC also work in the fields of family strengthening, ensuring that families have ready access to all the services they need, such as medical support, counseling advice and life skills training, working with drug users in a harm reduction/detox and rehabilitation framework and supporting young people into apprenticeship opportunities in various trades.
The ChildSafe Movement is also very active in Chom Chao, with the Citizens community program there keeping people informed on child protection and the important role they can play in keeping their community safe for all the children who live there.
Although it is a pretty small program, it is one that is having a very big impact indeed!