THE SITUATION OF CHILDREN IN CAMBODIA: CHALLENGES AND STATISTICS
Cambodia is populated by about 16 million people, mainly ethnic Khmer (95%). Poverty affects 13.5 percent of the population (Cambodia Voluntary SDG Review, 2019). Among the nearly 6 million children, the birth registration rate required to access public schooling drops from 92 percent to 78 percent in Phnom Penh's slums. Despite the sharp reduction, many school-age children still work, especially in the slums, where the rate rises (in Phnom Penh's suburbs it reaches 40 percent) with slight male prevalence. Child labor is mostly employed in garbage collection, hospitality, fishing, agriculture, and industry.
Education is high in primary, but declines in secondary with a significant dropout rate. Specifically, in Phnom Penh, a dropout rate of 10.2 percent in primary, 12.3 percent in middle school, and 13.6 percent in high school is calculated. These children, who live within 277 vulnerable communities, are extremely exposed to risks such as drug and alcohol use, gang membership, problems with the law, and domestic violence.
TACKLING JUVENILE NEGLECT AND VULNERABILITY IN CAMBODIA
Our Bright Home aims to provide assistance to Cambodian children in neglect or vulnerable situations through strengthening domestic adoption, improving center support, and in difficult settings. The project runs for 18 months and aims to reach about 180 civil servants and more than 550 children through:
- the promotion of care alternatives and domestic adoption for children without a family;
- the promotion of access to education for the most marginalized and vulnerable children, particularly those living in contexts affected by crisis or emergency;
- the contribution to the development of child-friendly educational environments, suitable for supporting learning processes and promoting the psychosocial and emotional well-being and development of children.