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UN project encourages children to raise voices

UN project encourages children to raise voices

Lack of power and low social status are among the factors that lead to the violation of children’s rights in Cambodia, said a statement released as a guideline for journalists during a press visit to EU funded projects in Prey Veng and Svay Rieng provinces on Tuesday and Wednesday.

One of the projects highlighted during the two-day visit was Realising Children’s Rights Through Improved Local Governance which is overseen by Save the Children. It operates in 51 villages across four target communes in Prey Veng province’s Preah Sdech district.

The three-year project, funded by €1 million ($1.14 million) from the EU, established 40 village-level Child Clubs comprising a total of 1,215 children, of whom 650 are girls. It also includes 241 at-risk children.

On the last day of the visit in Prey Veng province, EU Ambassador to Cambodia, George Edgar, said: “We [the EU] have been supporting local and national level authorities to include children in their decision-making process and to empower them to raise their own voices and demand what they need from their government, communities and family.”

On its cooperation with the EU through the project, Save the Children noted that children in Cambodian rural areas receive less care as their parents migrated to work in the city or abroad.

Save the Children director in Cambodia, Elizabeth Pearce, said her organisation is studying the impact of parents’ migration on child’s rights and development.

“The research will have a thorough assessment of the child’s development, [and be] divided into sections such as mental development, to get a better understanding.”

Pearce said some people believe that other family members, especially grandparents, who take care of children whose parents work in Phnom Penh or other countries, cannot look after them well.

On the other hand, she said there were others who believe that the parents’ migration is a good thing, owing to the fact that they remitted money for their children’s education.

The leaders of Child Clubs across the province identified various problems faced by their child members and their substitute caretakers.

One leader cited a report showing that grandparents knew little about children’s rights due to their old age. It also said many of their child members dropped out of school, while some consumed drugs and alcohol.

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