Kratie is a small town situated on the Mekong River, northeast of the capital of Phnom Penh. Over half of the population lives in rural areas, surviving off subsistence farming or fishing.
Although some improvements have been made in recent years, the northeastern provinces remain the most underdeveloped and over one third of its inhabitants live in poverty. Years of conflict has resulted in stressful social and economic conditions in Cambodia, which have a huge impact on family life. Many children are in need of support because they have lost parental care, or are at risk of losing it.
Since 2012, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Kratie.
Families do not always have enough food to stay healthy: around 32% of Cambodian children under 5 years of age suffer from stunting. Early childhood malnutrition has far-reaching consequences: if continuously underweight.
When children are undernourished, they get sick easily from preventable illnesses that could be avoided by proper sanitation. Frequent illnesses means that children don’t go to school. The consequences of the COViD-19 pandemic on the country’s economy, as well as frequent flooding has increased food insecurity for families and has increased acute malnutrition among children.
Child labour is an everyday reality for many children in Kratie. These children are at risk of exploitation and abuse, many are separated from their parents, and some end up as victims of human trafficking.In addition, more than half of all Cambodian children have experienced physical violence, including beating, emotional and sexual abuse. One in twenty children have been sexually assaulted according to UNICEF’s study on child protection.Children who lose the care of their parents are often cared for by the state. The majority of these children receive some schooling but not enough to help them break the cycle of poverty.