Empowering children, women and communities through 9 programs at grassroots level to break the cycle of poverty and discrimination
Today Cambodia has over 16 million inhabitants, including 11% of children between 0 and 6 years old (UNICEF). Only 21% of them have access to good quality pre-primary education services such as preschools and daycare centers (UNESCO). A lack of knowledge of available services when they exist, persisting socio-cultural norms questioning the concept of childcare outside the immideate family circle, and strong financial constraints cause this situation.
KHEMARA has over 29 years of experience educating, caring for and protecting 3 to 6-year-olds. We currently run 8 Childcare Centers (CCCs) in Phnom Penh, directly targeting vulnerable children in the community, focusing on the most disadvantaged. This includes children from low-income families (living off less than USD 2 a day), those with disabilities, orphaned children, those living with HIV, and children at risk of domestic violence or neglect.
CCCs are an effective way to provide young children with a quality education while allowing parents to seek employment, which in turn supports and improves the quality of life of the whole family. Notably, our CCCs have an impact on women as they allow them to work during the day and thus increase their confidence, financial security, capacity and family income. It also allows older sisters to stay in school rather than being at home baby-sitting the younger children.
329 children directly benefited from our 8 Child Care Centres
3 balanced meals were provided every day to every child
All children received monthly health check ups by health professionals
53 students received follow-up home visits and support as they progressed to primary school
192 parents and community members received training on Early Childhood and Education
KHEMARA’s microfinance project offers its beneficiaries initial loans of USD $120 with 0% interest. To increase the likelihood of success in their small businesses, we conduct workshops on business skills, marketing and loan repayment advice, as well as training on profit making.
As a partnership between KHEMARA and Projects Abroad, the microfinance project began in 2015 with the objective of improving the living conditions of vulnerable families and particularly of women living in deprived areas of Phnom Penh.
The aim of the project is to build capacity for financial independence, enabling our beneficiaries to generate a living for themselves and thus empowering them to escape poverty, prevent violence and achieve greater gender equality.
We work with people that lack the necessary funding and skills to establish a business and who do not have access to traditional credit. Even though other microfinance schemes exist, they often charge high interest rates, making it very hard for people to have sustainable businesses and to generate profit from their activities.
45 beneficiaries received loans
to start their businesses
45 beneficiaries received
training on how to implement their businesses
$5,640 was distributed as interest-free loans to beneficiaries
45 repaid their loans
and accumulated savings
benefited from the project
Even though Cambodia’s public health system has greatly improved over the last few years, the poorest sections of the population still face great difficulties in accessing healthcare. For this reason, KHEMARA began the Public Health Project in 2015 to deliver educational and operational support to people living in disadvantaged areas of Phnom Penh and its surrounding areas. We currently operate in Mittapheah, K1, Psar Lech, Pormongul and Koh Dach. The goal of the Public Health Project is to provide crucial healthcare services and to ensure that disadvantaged people receive the treatment they would not otherwise be able to access or afford.
Our program offers primary healthcare services, community education, exercise programs for adults, medication and the creation of basic care plans for disadvantaged communities. Because we value feedback and the opinion of our beneficiaries, Khemara also conducts monthly meetings with key stakeholders to ensure that communication is effective and that the projects are running smoothly and in harmony with the needs and particularities of each community.
420 people were diagnosed with high blood pressure
180 were diagnosed with diabetes
228 people reported having an upset stomach, flu or joint pain
Child abuse remains a major area of concern in Cambodia. One in 4 children have experienced emotional abuse, every second child has experienced severe beating. One in 20 girls and boys under the age of 18 have been sexually assaulted.
KHEMARA launched its Child Protection Program in February 2015 to counter the prevalence of these unacceptable levels of abuse. The aim of the project is to have a qualitative and quantitative reduction in the prevalence of child abuse. The Child Protection Program provides care and support to orphans and vulnerable children and their families to improve the quality of their lives through health and education in the community. It also aims to strengthen partnerships between the community, government and civil society in order to contribute to effective and sustainable child protection.
Since its creation, Khemara has made child protection a central goal of its Childcare Centers and conducts home visits to ensure children are safe at home. We have focused our project on Roka Pro Pram in Tbong Khmum Province, a commune with both high poverty and a high school dropout rate, leaving children especially prone to abuse. We target the community as a whole through events and meetings.
6,308 people benefited directly from the project, and a further 8,047 indirectly
3,435 children benefited from the services of the community-learning centre
1,480 participated in
760 people attended training sessions on child rights
and child protection
8 villages and 1 commune conducted elections of child representatives
Women and girls with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to discrimination and domestic violence in Cambodia. Therefore, KHEMARA works actively in Tboung Khmum District, Tboung Khmum Commune, to address these issues through community-based awareness-raising programs to assure that women and girls with disabilities are aware of their rights and can play an active role in the prevention of violence against women/girls. We work specifically with a local Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) to educate them and strengthen their capacity.
This program also aims to address the root causes of disability discrimination and violence against women/girls and for families, care givers, and the community to change their attitudes and behaviours to support women and girls with disabilities and to make sure that cases are being identified and referred to support services.
151 women and girls (79 with disabilities) demonstrated understanding their rights with regard to violence
1233 caregivers, family members, community and duty bearers improved their knowledge on human rights
30 cases were identified and referred to the appropriate support services
84 volunteers (80 women) were selected and involved in SASA! adaptation activities
In partnership with EmbraceAbility, Khemera works on Koh Dach Island in Phnom Penh to provide occupational therapy to children with disabilities and their families in their home environment. This is a new project this year, and has so far been working with great results.
By working with families and carers directly, strategies can be formed to vastly improve their quality of life. With the promotion of a child’s independence and dignity at its core, the benefits of regular, family-centric occupational therapy are significant and far-reaching.
We also facilitate children with disabilities attending mainstream education, further our constructive relationships with local communities and their leaders and conduct essential research that informs our approach and enhances our understanding of disability issues on Koh Dach Island.
15 children with disabilities and their families were provided with occupational therapy in their home environment
4 children with disabilities were facilitated sustainable inclusion into state school classrooms
13 beneficiaries were successfully referred to other services
Essential research was conducted that will further the understanding of disability issues on Koh Dach Island and wider Cambodia
Over the past 10 years Cambodia has made impressive progress in HIV prevention. However, one third of the 75,000 people currently living with HIV are still unaware of their HIV status and are not receiving treatment. Among those most at risk are young people under the age of 24 who often lack knowledge about sexual and reproductive health.
KHEMARA works in two schools in Tboung Khmum to provide capacity building training on HIV/AIDS and SRHR and develop peer education in the schools to raise awareness about these issues.
Elected peer educators among the youth receive training from KHEMARA staff, local health care staff and midwives in the local health centre on topics of SRHR and HIV/AIDS prevention so that they can educate their peers and wider communities. We also organise specific events and theme days to raise awareness about SRHR and HIV/AIDS prevention in the communities, and to reduce stigma around the topic.
1073 youth (571 girls) were targeted in 2 high schools in Tboung Khmum province
38 peer educators (50% girls and 50% boys) were elected and trained by local healthcare professionals and Khemara staff
738 kits of school material including pencil cases, pencils, pens, erasers, and rulers were distributed in 2 schools
Despite strong economic growth, Cambodia still suffers from hunger and malnutrition and is highly vulnerable to climate change.
KHEMARA works in alignment with the national development goals for coping with hunger and strengthening resilience by working with particularly vulnerable farming communities in Tboung Khmum province to empower community resilience through education on nutrition, agriculture (including chicken keeping and breeding), natural use of pesticides and compost, crop diversification and seasonal choosing of seeds, food processing, as well as cooking through our communal kitchen. We also provide training on making fruit confectionery and braised pork for selling coupled with financial training.
With our 1000-days campaign we focus specifically on providing education on the importance of hygiene, nutrition, and health for pregnant women and children during their first two years. This time is crucial for the continued development in a child, and thus we work closely with local health centre staff and midwives to refer pregnant women and children under 2 to their services and encourage regular health check-ups.
20 people received training on agriculture
16 women (8 pregnant women) learnt to cook nutritious food from all 3 food groups in our communal kitchen
127 women were educated on their rights to government supported healthcare
13 people received training on food processing
127 women learnt about the importance of nutrition, good hygiene, and regular health check-ups during pregnancy and infancy
KHEMARA works together with VBNK in Tboung Khmum on this project which aims to empower communities by ensuring social accountability from duty bearers, and to bring together NGO’s, Commune Councillors/Commune Children and Women’s Committee members to resolve local issues.
The main aims of the project are to ensure that principles of governance, including transparency, participation and predictability, are integrated into all forms of decision-making processes, and to empower the communities themselves to hold duty bearers and decisions-makers accountable for their actions and decisions.
This is done by promoting a grassroots approach to decision-making by supporting local authorities and NGOs to involve community representatives (CRs) in their work and to conduct outreach visits to build CRs capacity and strong relations between the communities and duty bearers, and to provide information about the commune development plan.
1547 people (1076 women) participated in the first village consultative meeting
93 people (48 women) participated in an orientation meeting with Community Representatives
Citizens had the confidence to raise their voices with the CCs/CCWCs, NGOs and CRs about their concerns and the solutions they seek
The CRs learnt how to conduct outreach visits and were able to represent their community members