Although the situation for children has improved in Cambodia, significant indicators, including low access to early childhood development and education, remain a challenge. Persistent inequalities continue to exist in terms of income, gender or disability. In terms of early childhood development and education, 33% of grade 2 children cannot read a familiar word and more than 36% of children in aged 5, are not enrolled in any form of education. Children with disabilities are twice as likely to be out of school compared to non-disabled peers and only 4% of adolescents with disabilities have completed lower secondary education, compared to 41% of non-disabled peers.
Cambodian children face child protection issues including a high prevalence of violence, family separation, neglect, exploitation, and child labour. Over 50% of children experience physical violence, 25% are emotionally abused and approximately 5% experience sexual abuse. Of particular concern is the number of children in residential care institutions, especially when approximately 80% of these children have one or both parents living.
Malnutrition remains critical, with stunting affecting 32% of children under the age of five, among the highest rates in the region.
Poverty drives child rights violations including accessing education and health services, child labour, trafficking, abuse, and vulnerability to hazards. Almost half of Cambodians living in poverty are 19 years old or younger.
Children and youth are not empowered to express their voice at local and national levels and meaningful child participation is lacking within government decision-making.
We are the world’s largest independent child rights organisation, working in more than 120 countries, and working in Cambodia since 1970. Our programmatic work involves the areas of early childhood care and development, basic education, child rights, child protection, health and nutrition, child poverty, and disaster risk reduction.
Our six strategic goals are:
In 2018 alone, we directly reached 143,118 children through our programmatic work. We implement our work in partnership with local and international civil society organisations and in close collaboration with various Cambodian government ministries and departments at the national, subnational and municipal levels.
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