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Raising the voice of youth in Cambodia

According to the UNDP, 65 per cent of Cambodia’s population is under the age of 30. But while the youth of Cambodia make up the vast majority of the country’s population, they are traditionally left out of decision-making processes.

In Khmer culture great respect is demonstrated towards elders. This centuries-old custom spills over to professional life with positions of power and influence often directly linked to seniority, leaving younger generations unable to express their opinions.

ChildFund Cambodia is working with young people to help them take on more active roles in their communities, particularly around issues affecting their lives. ChildFund’s youth groups are providing young people with vocational training to start businesses in their communities, reducing the need to migrate to cities to find work. They also receive peer training on life skills, focused on leadership, management and child protection.

This skills training is helping to grow the confidence of young people to become influential members in their villages and take an active role in their local community development plans.

This is the story of 25-year-old Sarath, a ChildFund-trained youth group leader in Svay Rieng province

Sarath is now a small business owner who is supporting himself through university. He is also a youth group leader helping others to build their skills. His youth group meets monthly to plan activities for their community, including health awareness-raising and sports.

In the past year alone, over 2,000 young Cambodians have benefited from ChildFund’s youth groups. By improving their skills they are becoming agents of their own change, ready to be the next leaders of their communities!

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