Yesterday I read about a Cambodian “mother” in Koh Kong who chained up a four-year-old girl in her care for eight hours a day while she went to work. She said it was to protect the girl from drowning or wandering away while she was at work. The girl had been handed over to the woman years ago by her biological mother as collateral for a loan.
When informed of the woman’s arrest, her years of chaining the girl to a post, and the 4-year-old’s move to a children’s shelter, the girl’s biological mother, who lives in Preah Vihear province, said she could not take back and care for her daughter…
The article is about child abuse in Cambodia and an overall lack of concern and awareness. That the girl had been signed over as collateral on a loan wasn’t even central to the story. Variations of that happen all the time, usually involving domestic work in return for food and lodging and, in the best cases, attending school. This was a worst case situation.
After reading about this girl, I turned to another troubling article in The Guardian, Virginity for sale: inside Cambodia’s shocking trade. … Keep Reading
Read about one man’s journey on behalf of orphans and vulnerable children, including stories you won’t forget. Will you join in the change that’s coming?
I heard a story from a man I was training in Myanmar. A number of years before, when his parents were visiting a rural village, his mother happened to use a pit toilet shared by the community. Inside she heard a tiny muffled noise that reminded her of a baby’s cry. The only place it could have come from was down the hole, so she put her arm inside and brought out a newly born baby. The baby must have been in there for some minutes; no one really knew how long. The unknown mother had tried to kill the child, presumably due to shame. Everyone agreed the baby should go to an orphanage.
We’ll come back to this story, but first let me tell you how I came to be delivering training in Myanmar in the first place.
First, an observation: Orphanages are still the default solution for orphans and abandoned children in poor communities throughout the developing world.
Having worked as a social worker in the United Kingdom for many years, in Child Protection and Adoption/Fostering, I had often wondered if the services we developed for children and families would be valid and effective in developing countries.… Keep Reading
Most people don’t have a good image of the families of “dump kids” of Phnom Penh. Here is one organization that has set out to prove them wrong.
Say Son lives in the Stung Meanchey area of Phnom Penh and has a child studying at Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF). She said that living in Phnom Penh is really hard for her as she was used to living in the countryside. There she lived with her family. They grew what they ate and didn’t have so many expenses. Now she has to earn a salary to cover rent, food, education costs, and healthcare and to pay off some of the debt she has from moving to the city.
She spent two years working as a cleaner with a private company in Phnom Penh for $60 a month. She said that her work at this company was extremely hard as she was required to work full time 7 days a week. She was also put under great pressure, and the employer was not particularly nice to work for. When the stress started to affect her health, she left the job.
In November 2012 (after her child had joined ISF’s program) she learned that ISF was partnering with another local organization that provides training and links to dignified jobs for its trainees.… Keep Reading