Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Street kids' NGO faces funding crisis

Street kids' NGO faces funding crisis

Street kids' NGO faces funding crisis

Well-known Phnom Penh NGO, Mith Samlanh/Friends, which offers a broad range of programs

and services for street kids, is in a precarious position after two major donors

recently had to cut their funding.

Friends' coordinator, Sébastien Marot, said the cuts were particularly worrying

as the organization needed to cope with an increasing number of street children.

"Every day we have parents and children asking to stay in our center so they

can be safe and study, and we have to reject them because we have no more space and

no more money," he said.

Marot said as Friends' funding was spread across many sources it would not have to

close completely. However, he said the shortfall meant it lacked money for three

main programs: the house where children live, the training center and the HIV/AIDS

project.

"You can't tell these kids not to work in prostitution if you don't offer them

an alternative," he said. "Nothing makes sense if you don't have a place

for them to stay and a place for them to train. It's hitting us right at the heart

of Friends."

Friends, he said, was looking for donors to make up the significant shortfall: $250,000

a year for housing and training; $150,000 for the HIV/AIDS program.

Marot said one reason for the increase in street kids was the recent Phnom Penh slum

fires and subsequent forced relocation of affected families outside the city where

they lacked facilities. Travel costs meant many children had dropped out of school.

Because there were no jobs at the resettlement site, Marot said, fathers were forced

to leave their families at the site to find work in the city, returning every 10

to 15 days. Mothers were out of work because their jobs were also in the city, but

they had to remain at the site to keep the land the families had been assigned.

"The kids can't go to school as there are no schools out there, so they go into

town with their fathers to work, and [end up living] on the streets with their dads,"

said Marot. Many parents had asked Friends to take in their children, he said, all

of which increased demand just when money was tightest.

Marot said AIDS provided another reason for the increase in street kids, with

more children forced onto the streets after their parents became too sick to work.

He said current projections predicted 140,000 AIDS orphans by 2004.

"It's now we need to prepare for the influx of these children and expand our

services," he said, but with the funding crisis: "We've got a lot of gray

hairs."

MOST VIEWED

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh