ChildFund helps children living with disability in Cambodia
Tears well in nine-year-old Chantrea’s eyes as she describes her childhood before she was diagnosed with a hearing problem.
How a hearing problem affects a child at school
At school, she felt like she was a distraction in the classroom, constantly asking other students to repeat what the teacher was saying.
“It was hard to hear the teacher teaching and to follow the lesson,” she says.
“My classmates would get frustrated when I asked them what the teacher said. Sometimes, they would just ignore me.”
At home, her parents thought she was not paying them any respect.
“I thought she was lazy and pretended not to hear when I called her,” Chantrea’s mother says.
Many children in developing countries don’t know they have a hearing problem
Like many children living with disability in developing countries like Cambodia, Chantrea had no idea about why she was facing these challenges.
Disability affects nearly 10% of world population, 80% of whom live in developing countries like Cambodia.
Children face social stigma and a constant lack of opportunity
Children like Chantrea often face social stigma and are unable to reach their potential if they are not diagnosed.
They can lack equal access to education, training and development. This lack of opportunity can mean they are unable to participate in activities that can enhance their knowledge, confidence and self-esteem.
Chantrea was diagnosed with a hearing problem when ChildFund arranged for her to see a specialist
Chantrea’s hearing problem was diagnosed when ChildFund Cambodia arranged for her to see a hearing specialist through its local partner, Krousar Thmey.
When Angkearith from Krousar Thmey diagnosed Chantrea with a hearing problem, he informed her mother, who instantly changed her attitude towards her daughter.
“My neighbours and I never knew about things such as hearing problems and we didn’t know where to get support,” Channy says.
“Now, I am so relieved I know. I will help to spread the word about such services to my neighbours and friends.”
Changing community attitudes toward children with living with disability
Changing community attitudes towards children living with disability helps to create a more inclusive environment, so children are not as vulnerable.
ChildFund also works closely with teachers to help identify children with special needs. These children can then be referred to Krousar Thmey where they can undertake tests.
Chantrea was fitted with a new hearing aid and she can now hear everything her teacher says in class. She says the new hearing aid will help her reach her potential at school.
“I want to be an outstanding student,” Chantrea says. “Now that I can hear, I can do that.”
You can change the life of a child
Every child needs a friend like you. Around 150 million children globally live with disability, and 80% of people living with disability are in developing countries.
You can help a child living with disability gain independence, remain in school and receive the assistance they need.