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Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

At ChildFund we believe all children should grow up feeling cared for, encouraged and valued, no matter where they live.

Every child should explore, learn and thrive, and be able to reach their potential.

Unfortunately, many children around the world grow up in an environment of fear, unable to have the childhood they need.

Millions of children are forced to work in dangerous conditions when they should be learning and growing in the safety of a classroom.

Despite laws to protect children, and an overall decline in the number of child labourers, 152 million children are still working too early. Below we take a look at how all 152 million children around the world are affected by exploitation as child labourers.

Many children work in agriculture, construction and other hazardous jobs

Of the 152 million children working, 73 million are in hazardous jobs. Agriculture, construction and manufacturing are some of the main industries employing children. In these industries children can be exposed to toxic chemicals, expected to operate dangerous machinery, and expected to work long hours and risk abuse.

When children work they often have to drop out of school, or their education suffers as a result of the additional responsibilities they have outside of school.

“In my life, I am happiest when I go to school, and see my classmates having fun,” said Phhuong, from Cambodia who dropped out of school in Grade 6 to help her younger brother continue his education.

“When I see my friends going to school, I feel very regretful. “I am not able to meet them any more. We used to play together.”

A report by the International Labor Organisation in 2015 found that in some countries working children were half as likely to attend school as children who were not working.

Without an education, or with a limited education, children are more likely to end up low-paid jobs which decreases their chances to escape poverty.

Older children are expected to work to provide for their younger siblings

In the world’s poorest countries, one in four children is a child labourer.

In many cases, the eldest child in the family is the most vulnerable to child labour. As soon as they are old enough to work, they are expected to help provide for their younger siblings.

Children may be expected to work if their parents are unable to

Sometimes children will be forced to work if one of their parents is unable to work. This is what happened to Arum’s daughter Mony, who is 13 years old and working in a dangerous brick factory after he mother was injured at work.

“I don’t want my kids uneducated like me,” Arun said. “I want them to study so they’re able to find better jobs.

“But I didn’t know what to do when my wife could not help me out on family income.”

Almost half of all child labourers are younger than 11 years old. In most regions, girls and boys are equally likely to be engaged in child labour.

How you can help end child labour

ChildFund believes that ending the exploitation of children is inextricably linked to our poverty reduction work.

Poverty can result in more children becoming involved in harmful labour, rendering them vulnerable to trafficking, and increasing the likelihood of girls marrying at a young age.

ChildFund works with local partners, governments and communities to prevent and respond to the exploitation of children around the world. Donate now to help give children a childhood without fear.

ChildFund Cambodia is helping to boost the stocks of qualified teachers in rural areas by providing scholarships in remote villages.

The project has already helped to train 45 young teachers in areas where there are shortages of quality teachers and schools are under-resourced.

Although the right to a basic education is constitutionally guaranteed to every Cambodian child, a considerable gap remains between policy and reality.

ChildFund is partnering with communities and the Cambodian government to close the gap.

Why Cambodia has a teacher shortage

The root cause of the gap between education policy and reality in schools involves a complex interaction between supply and demand factors.

Teacher shortages and rudimentary educational facilities are prominent supply-side factors that have impeded quality and participation rates in Cambodia’s education system.

Low pay and a lack of opportunities to learn basic teaching skills are among the factors deterring new teachers from entering the workforce. Furthermore, many graduates cannot afford to be properly trained.

Improving teacher capacity is key to the Cambodian government’s education policy.

Becoming a government-approved teacher is a rigorous process. If candidates are interested, they apply to take a national teacher’s examination. If they pass this exam they are admitted into a national teacher training college centre, where they undertake a two-year course.

Many candidates must relocate to be closer to the centre because there is only a few centres in Cambodia. It is a large undertaking for an individual requiring extensive training and significant funding.

How ChildFund helps educate new teachers

ChildFund Cambodia has been long-time supporter of working with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in to achieve national education goals.

The success of New Generation Schools and the Easy-2-Learn projects have already demonstrated the strength of this partnership, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron said.

“I am highly appreciative of the support from ChildFund which help the government to implement our educational reform policies especially the expanding of Easy to Learn project, a project that engage community to ensure effective learning and teaching,” he said.

ChildFund Cambodia decided work in areas with a severe teacher shortage and where Easy-2-Learn is already present.

In these areas ChildFund has a strong knowledge of potential candidates for the programme, established resources, personnel, and connections with the community.

The best and brightest young adults were found and trained as Community Teachers.

Since ChildFund is already working in these areas, it was easier to identify the prospective community teachers.

ChildFund provided a basic salary and led the vital training that allowed 45 young men and women to gain experience in teaching.

After dedicated mentoring, these teachers were encouraged to take the entrance exam to attend the training college centres that will allow them to become a state-qualified teacher.

All of ChildFund-selected community teachers passed and were accepted. As they underwent their two years of state-led training, ChildFund provided each individual with a $600 scholarship to help them cover essentials and transportation.

ChildFund’s support helps significantly alleviate the initial financial obstacles that might have deterred them from training to become a government certified teacher.

Meng is a teacher in Cambodia supported by ChildFund
Meng, 22, is keen to help his community after ChildFund Cambodia supported his teacher training.

“I am happy to be able to help my community and feel proud that a child from this village grew to become a teacher of the school,” said Meng, 22, who graduated teacher from the Svay Rieng school where he got support from ChildFund the whole two years.

Now, there are more than 45 talented young men and women who are qualified teachers. They work in remote schools throughout the country and are fully supported by the Cambodian government.

ChildFund Cambodia believes investing in young teachers is a sustainable method of ensuring quality education is available for every child in Cambodia.