Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

People with disability in Cambodia are often marginalised, and not given the opportunity to fully participate in their communities.

This can lead to high levels of unemployment and exclusion, and leave children and families trapped in a cycle of poverty.

ChildFund Cambodia’s  Community Voices project is giving people with disability the opportunity to have a say about the challenges they face in their daily lives, and how these obstacles can be tackled.

In turn, this improves the accountability of village authorities and drives change at a grassroots level, with community members working collaboratively to find innovative solutions to the problems raised.

In rural Svay Rieng, the lack of work and livelihood opportunities was found to be a major issue for people with disability.

Working together, the village decided to provide motorcycle mechanic training to help people with disability find meaningful and stable employment.

Motorcycles have become extremely popular in Cambodia, and there is a long-term need for skilled mechanics.

Ratha, who cannot use his right leg, is one of many parents in Svay Rieng who took part in a mechanics apprenticeship. This is his story.

 

Schools in Cambodia are traditionally not equipped for children with disability, but ChildFund Cambodia’s New Generation Schools are providing a safe environment where all students can reach their potential.

Nine-year-old Vireak was born with no left foot, making it difficult for him to participate in sports and games. Since he started studying at his local New Generation School, supported by ChildFund in cooperation with local organisation Kampuchean Action for Primary Education (KAPE) and the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, life has become much easier.

His school is equipped with new infrastructure, and the staff and community have become more involved with students, through investments in quality teaching, school leadership and management, and community engagement.

“I am happy to see my school looking new, clean and equipped with books, materials and tablet computers. I am happy to learn and play around with all these new things,” Vireak says.

He has also noticed a change in the attitudes of his classmates and teachers. “I don’t feel any discrimination from my classmates nor my teacher,” he says. “I feel motivated and they are supportive. I like to go to the library to use the reading kit, the tablet and watch educational videos during break time.”