DARA Europe supports community empowerment activities in the village of Andong in Cambodia. We are committed to creating effective ways to help the children and their families thrive.
Going to school every day, living in a house with a solid roof and a hygienic toilet, eating three healthy meals a day, having a safe place to play, and having access to healthcare … For the children in Andong, none of these things are self-evident.
The local NGO Stellar Child Care Organization (SCCO) has developed a diverse and effective range of projects, programs, and facilities in Andong, covering hygiene, well-being, safety, education, and work. SCCO provides emergency assistance, such as food aid and emergency medical care, as well as structural and long-term community support.
All activities in Andong aim to create a caring, safe, and supportive environment for children to grow into independent and resilient adults.
We are convinced that high quality education is the first step towards breaking the complex cycle of poverty. DARA Europe’s work focuses on high quality education for children and young adults and on practical support for the families in which they grow up.
Andong is a poverty-stricken village located some twelve miles from the center of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The government forced about 1,000 families to move there in 2006 to make way for urban development. Currently, approximately 6,000 people live in Andong.
As a result of the eviction, most families in Andong have faced serious hardships. Many adults have become unemployed and addicted to gambling, alcohol and/or drugs. Domestic violence is a common risk. In addition, the living conditions in Andong are poor and unsanitary. The many floods during the rainy season make roads impassable, causing the spread of diseases. In the dilapidated houses, the water tends to be polluted. There is a lack of sanitary facilities in the village, and waste management is inadequate. Most families are unable to cater for healthy meals on a daily basis, and access to health care is problematic.
The situation in Andong is closely intertwined with Cambodia’s recent history, which still affects the daily lives of millions of people. An estimated three million people were killed during the Khmer Rouge reign of terror in the 1970s. The devastating war resulted in major destruction of homes and farmland.
In recent years, thanks to the efforts of NGOs and the government, many improvements have been made in the Phnom Penh area, including Andong. Regional improvements in housing, schools and roads create a positive perspective for the people of Andong.
However, it is difficult to break the vicious cycle of poverty. In order to thrive, children need to have the knowledge, skills and a qualification to participate in the ever-changing society. Therefore, long-term aid and support are still urgently needed in Andong.