Although affected by decades of civil war and political unrest, Siem Reap, capital of the Cambodian Siem Reap Province, has recently become a major tourist attraction thanks to the of nearby Angkor Temples.
The economic boost has helped the region begin to recover, but many still suffer from impoverished living conditions, and a lack of education.
Life is harsh for families in north-western Cambodia
Despite predominantly being a rural area with a population working agricultural jobs, very few families have access to their own land. They are instead employed as seasonal day labourers. The only alternative is work in the informal sector, and while some make a living, the jobs are insecure, pay poorly, and unregulated.
Nearly half of the region lives in poverty, and many households in the area have no access to clean water. The lack of basic infrastructure combined with a number of food shortages over the years has had a negative effect on all, but women and children have suffered the most.
The child mortality rate is high, with deaths caused by respiratory infections and unclean drinking water. More women in Siem Reap than in any other part of the country suffer from anaemia, and almost a third of pregnant women receive no specialised care from a doctor before giving birth.
Children deserve better
Children born in the region live in harsh conditions. Many work in agriculture to provide food for their families, and because of their involvement in the fields, often do not receive any kind of education and little chance to improve their future. The stressful social and economic conditions in the area place strain on family life, and it is difficult to stay together.
Some children are without any sort of parental care or familial support. SOS Children places a importance on providing these children with both family-based care, as well as free and comprehensive education.
What SOS Children do in Angkor-Siem Reap
SOS Children has been present in Cambodia since 2000, and in Angkor-Siem Reap since 2002. Our programmes in the region make sure that children and families can move on from the region's tempestuous history of violence and civil war and toward a more prosperous future.
If a child can no longer be cared for by their parents, SOS Children provides a new life at an SOS Children's Village, where they grow up with SOS brothers and sisters and live under the care of a loving SOS Mother. Many of the children, when they first join our care have vitamin deficiencies, skin diseases, and have had little to no education. We nurture them with healthy diets, medical care, and prepare them to receive mainstream schooling.
SOS Children has a number of programmes in the area dedicated to educating children and granting families a peace-of-mind. A professional day-care service at the SOS Nurseries offers parents the ability to go out and earn a living without fearing for their child, while older children attend the SOS Primary and Secondary schools.
When a child reaches an age when they are ready to move out of an SOS Family, they join our SOS youth programme, where they either start vocational training to become electricians, plumbers, carpenters and mechanics, or pursue higher education. With professional support, the young adults develop prospects for the future, and increasingly become more autonomous.
With your support, we can care for more vulnerable children in Angkor-Siem Reap. Will you sponsor a child today?