Battambang City, with an estimated population of 250,000, has hurdled a great deal and now enjoys political stability, improved infrastructure, better employment figures, and increased investments.
However, there still remains an underlying belly of grim poverty, social exclusion, lopsided distribution of social services and insufficient child social care. Many children are homeless, orphaned, or at risk of losing parental care.
In the north-west side of Cambodia is Battambang, the country’s rice producing province with a capital city of the same name. Battambang City is a picturesque and busy trading centre with old French colonial architecture that serves as reminders of 90 years of French colonial rule.
The province played a crucial role in the country’s history as the starting point where communists and angry villagers fought the government because of unequal distribution of wealth and growing poverty. It escalated to a brutal civil war that tore the country apart for years.
Parents struggle to provide for their children
With a dismal minimum wage of less than 62p for about 40% of the city’s population, many Battambang parents are having an extremely difficult time feeding their children. They have resorted to pulling their children from school and putting them to work. The majority of those affected by poverty and poor wages are from the less developed areas. They live in inadequate housing, and both children and parents may become victims of slavery and dire working conditions.
Child mortality is high especially for children under 5 years because of malnutrition and lack of immunisation. The children who are able to work are not just vulnerable to diseases like skin conditions and HIV/AIDS, they don’t go to school which means the cycle of poverty continues.
Our Work In Battambang
Battambang SOS Children’s Village is the third location of SOS Children in Cambodia, having begun operations in the country in 2006. It was the Cambodian authorities who requested for SOS Children's presence in Battambang to assist them in addressing the social problems of HIV/AIDS and child care.
Within two years of opening Battambang SOS Children, the first community outreach programme was launched. These services aim to help families stay together, provide basic health and education services, and conduct skills training to help parents earn more.
The young children attend SOS Nursery while the older children go to a primary or secondary SOS School. SOS Children also offer scholarships to deserving Battambang children whose parents cannot afford to send them to school.
A new loving home
In our Children's Village in Battambang, there are several SOS families which provide safe homes for children who are orphaned and abandoned. They are cared for by SOS Mothers, who are trained to give guidance and healing love. The children thrive and enjoy a better life, knowing they now have a promising future.
Teenagers in the SOS families are encouraged to join the SOS youth programme because they are taught vocational courses. They are also prepared for a college education if that is their wish. SOS Children has qualified professionals who teach these teenagers responsibility, a positive outlook and the right social skills that will give them the confidence they need as maturing adults able to make decisions on their own.
For SOS Children to be in Battambang means vulnerable children get the help they desperately need to grow up healthy, confident, and ready to face the adult world. Will you support our work, and become a child sponsor today?