As an organization, we want to work ourselves out of a job; at the very least, evolve with our approach. The needs of communities will change as Cambodia becomes more developed and families gain empowerment. To have true success, holistic needs must be met, both sustainable and long-term.
If over 80% of children in orphanages have at least one living parent, two main conclusions can be drawn. One, it is unsafe for the child to live at home. Two, the family lacks the means to care for their child. CIF addresses both of those problems through our work, but today we are going to talk about the latter.
CIF’s ultimate goal is for the families we work with to become self-sufficient and not rely on us long-term. A branch off of our core programs is our special projects.
After assessing community and individual family needs, special projects are based on both individual situations and funding. For instance, some families have reliable access to water, but need filters to clean the water. While other families, rely on rainfall, which – when drought or dry season hit – can leave them vulnerable and desperate without life-sustaining H2O.
Our special projects not only include water, it can also be a cement floor for hygienic purposes, or help and training to start a sustainable business, like pig farming.
Recently with the help from Australian donors, CIF put in two wells. All together the wells will supply water for over 70 individuals from 12 separate families on a regular basis. In addition, depending
on the conditions of the water table, the wells will also provide agricultural support for these families as they pursue vegetable growing and other projects.
In July, we also held a three day program in Svey Reing. We trained 25 families, including two of our own in fish and vegetable farming. While it is in the beginning phases, this program will provide viable income for the community. Our training included two days of implementation, preparing and building.
The fish farming is the most complicated as it involves creating pools to raise fish in, while the waste can be used as ferilitzer for the vegetable farms.
Finally, what does this have to do with children?
Since Cambodia is mostly agricultural, people in the provinces are greatly impacted through their ability to grow food and raise animals. Families who generate income can afford to send their children to school, feed them, and meet medical and other needs. Parents are also less likely to leave their families to go to the city and look for factory or other work.
Clean water and hygiene keep our children and their families healthy. Healthy children thrive and attend school more frequently. Healthy parents can work more, generating income and being better able to care for children. (It usually equates to less medical bills as well.)
Unburdened by debt and vulnerability, children are much less likely to be trafficked or handed over to an orphanage.
As far as children leaving abusive situations, foster and kinship families are more likely to take children in if they can afford to care for them.
Holistic, maintainable approaches are a win-win. As Cambodia grows and heals, the big picture includes making sure more and more families no longer need to rely on NGO’s and assistance because they will be trained and set up to thrive. The cycle of vulnerability, poverty, and trauma must end…
Because all children deserve a safe environment and loving family to grow up in.
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