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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Don't fund street kids

Don't fund street kids

Walking through the streets of Phnom Penh, one cannot miss the hundreds of little

beggars who bombard you at every hotel, restaurant and shop. You might feel bad not

doing something as easy as giving them a little money: they look so poor and needy!

However, the lovely smile they give you in return hides a much more complex reality.

Giving them money is so far from helping them.

Today, a young beggar can easily make more than U.S. $40 a month, often exceeding

the average salary of Cambodian (professional) adults. Many are sent to help support

family or relatives. Somme are struggling to survive a lone. However, for all children

the seduction and dangers of street life can easily become a trap from witch it is

often impossible to escape.

Unfortunately, much of the money given by concerned individuals ends up paying for

video games, gambling, and liquor. Phnom Penh streets are also becoming more and

more controlled by gangs with a hierarchy exploiting children to benefit the leaders.

Under such circumstances, it is difficult to get off the streets. Return home. Go

back to school. Prepare for a healthy future.

Giving money to street children is not the way to help. Buy them bread, soup or fruit

instead of giving Dollar or Riel. You can also contact member agencies of the Child

Welfare Group, which co-ordinates efforts to meet needs of Cambodian children in

difficult circumstances. Agencies working with street children are listed below.

Now is the time! Phnom Penh does not have to become another Bangkok or Manila for

children. Together we can help prevent an increase in the number of Cambodian children

robbed of their childhood.

Agencies concerned with the problem of street children:

UNICEF (CEDC), World Vision, Krousar Thmey, Holt International, SKIP, Global Network

JVC, ASPECA, ICMC

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