The city of Battambang, with around 200,000 inhabitants, is located in northwestern Cambodia near the border with Thailand. The district of Battambang is also known as the "Rice Bowl of Cambodia”, but families also grow other crops. An increasing number of people are employed in the service and industry sectors and the government has been improving the infrastructure in order to attract more businesses to the area. Decades of civil war and political unrest have affected families here.
Since 2006, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Battambang.
Financial experts believe that the Cambodian economy has potential to grow further due to mining and the discovery of oil off its shores. However, corruption is a challenge, with the country rated as one of the most corrupt in the world. Cambodia is ranked 157th in the global Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) out of 180 countries.
Human trafficking is also a problem: people are trafficked both with the country and internationally. In 2021, the number of people trafficked doubled from the year before. Many people are tricked into thinking they will be working in jobs with good salaries, only to find themselves trapped and exploited.
Children are often required to work on the land, as they have to help provide food for the family. Because of their involvement in the fields, they often do not go to school. Furthermore, these stressful conditions have a huge impact on family life, and countless children are left without parental care.
Approximately 60% of Cambodia’s population is under the age of 25. The young population has the potential to contribute to the country’s social and economic development, but many don’t have the resources and opportunities to access their potential. Prioritizing education and training will allow young people to escape the poverty cycle, as they grow older and have more employment opportunities at their disposal.