Support for children with disabilities


Project partners:
Children in Families, Epic Arts, Safe Haven and Damnok Teuk

Kampot, Phnom Penh,  Neak Loeung and Siem Reap, Cambodia

Åsa Olsson
[email protected]

Children with special needs are three to five times more likely to be exposed to some form of violence than other children. Sexual abuse is almost five times more common among children with mental or intellectual disabilities. There are several reasons why children with special needs are particularly vulnerable – they are more dependent on adults, they may have difficulty expressing themselves and interpret the abuse as well as to report what they have experienced.

Hidden and neglected children

When parental support is lacking, children with disabilities are at higher risk to be neglected and in many countries hidden away at home. They are often unable to go school, are subjected to violence or are completely abandoned. This is what the situation looks like in Cambodia, where Childhood partners with a number of grassroot organizations to address the needs of children with disabilities. Our partners implement strategic support interventions and develop methods that can help and strengthen the children and their families.

Routines to protect children from violence

With Childhood´s support Epic Arts Cambodia both contributes to increased knowledge about routines that protect children with disabilities from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation and offer the youngest children preschool activities. Childhood´s partnership with Safe Haven has allowed them to establish support groups and relief measures for parents of children with disabilities, in order to prevent the children from being violated and abandoned in orphanages. For children who cannot remain with their families, the local initiative Children in Families, with support from Childhood, arranges safe family placements – with relatives or foster families who are educated and receive support.

Round-the-clock care

For children with such severe disabilities that they need constant care Damnok Toek has, with funding from Childhood, set up family-like group housing as well as a day center for families with children with disabilities living nearby. Childhood works actively to encourage learning and exchange of experiences between our partners as well as sharing the experience with others. We also use our contacts and networks at a national level in Cambodia to strengthen long-term sustainability. The goal is to eventually establish a national system that protects and strengthens this group of children.

Photo: private