Working towards a bright future for children in Cambodia, starting with school

DARA Europe supports community empowerment activities in Cambodia, aimed at breaking the circle of poverty. With family-based care, we give children in need a positive lookout for the future.

Andong is a poverty-stricken area, approximately twenty miles from the center of Phnom Penh. Many of the self-built houses don’t have a sound roof, and most families don’t have access to clean water and sanitation. “Children grow up in unhygienic and unhealthy circumstances, without a safe place to play and learn”, says Tirza Josie Voss, founder of DARA Europe, a Dutch foundation that is on a mission to give children in Andong a better future. “In order to break the cycle of poverty, we provide long-term assistance to the most vulnerable families. Just imagine what children in a deprived neighborhood go through when their mother passes away and their father becomes seriously ill.”

Tirza Josie refers to a family that she has known since 2009, when she co-founded the Stellar Child Care Organization (SCCO) shelter in Andong. The four children were temporarily accommodated at the center in 2012. When their father’s health improved, the local SCCO team assisted the children to return home.

DARA Europe is still closely involved with the four children and their father, providing tailormade  assistance. For instance, in 2022 sponsors donated new furniture to the family home. In addition, SCCO’s social worker supports the family with all practical matters concerning health, wellbeing, income, and education.

The father and the two oldest children, now young adults, play an important role in Aone’s life. Through his work, Lavin, the eldest son, contributes to the financial stability of the family. As a successful hair stylist, daughter Srey Neat is an inspiring role model for her siblings.

“This family’s resilience and positive attitude are so impressive”, says Tirza Josie. “Despite the difficulties that they have gone through, the children are making huge progress, personally as well as professionally.” With SCCO support, Srey Nich, the youngest daughter, can now attend a good school and follow additional English classes. Lavit, the youngest son, studies English at the Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia in Phnom Penh with an SCCO scholarship. His study results are excellent, and he is working hard to finish his education, find a job, and make a decent living.

Tirza Josie: “Education really is key. For the DARA Europe team, it’s heartwarming to be able to contribute to a bright future for families that have faced so many hardships in the past.”

DARA Europe believes that everyone deserves a bright future, including children in Cambodia that have had a tough start in life. Please join our work to support families in need.