Ending physical and verbal violence helps a girl to return school safely
Like other typical children, Channy, a 13-year-old girl has always fantasized about a safe neighborhood and friendly school environment where everyone in her community would respect each other and enable young children, especially girls to pursue higher education.
Channy studied in grade 6 in the 2020-2021 school year. She is living with her mother and four siblings – two sisters and two brothers in Samraong Village, Tasu Commune, Preah Vihear’s Chey Saen District.
Channy’s father had passed away many years ago and because of this, her mother took on the large role and the sole responsibility in raising the five of them. Her mother became very sick as time passed by and has slowly suffered with the experience of a mental illness. Eventually, she said some villagers began to discriminate and harass her family using inappropriate language.
“They spoke slanderously and sarcastically to us. Sometimes, they even make jokes about my private parts,” she said, explaining that this language made her feel really uncomfortable and insecure.
Channy added that there were always groups of drunk men shouting at her and her friends when they were cycling on their way to school and it was much scarier when she was alone on her bike.
“I had shared all these undesired incidents to my 15-year-older sister,” she said, noting that her sister had also experienced similar issues and given up going to school to earn money to support the family.
In October 2020, the End Violence Against Children in and around school project with funding support by the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children started. Forty two schools in Preah Vihear province were selected to have capacity strengthening on the Operation Manual for Child Protection in School. The project has been implemented by World Vision in partnership with Save the Children.
Under this project, an agreement on the Child Safeguarding Code of Conduct was signed and school focal points were formed to implement child protection mechanisms in and around the school.
Having the opportunity to attend trainings on the Operation Manual for Child Protection in and around school, a focal point who is also the deputy principal of Toul Sre Chhuk primary school, Chum Lot, 38y, said he has worked with all teachers to widely spread key messages of child protection, forms of violence and abuse against children, including reporting flows to all students and villagers, through microphones and home visits.
Mr. Lot acknowledged that there was a report related Channy’s case filed by her teacher and he carefully recorded the case into the reporting book.
“I have raised Chiva’s case to the Child Protection in School Committee (CPSC) during a monthly meeting with the Commune Committee for Women and Children (CCWC) and the police post to take action,” he said. “We have all worked together to raise awareness on Child Protection in villages, particularly where Channy is residing. I’ve also worked with a female teacher to provide psychological consultation to Channy and encourage her to return to school.”
Not long after the intervention, Channy has returned to school.
“I really enjoy learning and feel excited from the care given by my school, my teacher, and the authorities,” she said. “Recently, I do not see those drunk men on my way to school. My friends and I feel so happy and safe. Not completely, but my neighbors have reduced using words or language that would abuse or harass my mother.”
Notice:Channy is a nickname given to cover the real identify of this young girl.