For many children in Cambodia, home life is filled with so much trauma, violence, and discouragement that attending school is barely possible. For this reason, Children’s Future’s team of social workers strives to strengthen children’s familial support and encourage communities to ensure their safety. Our social workers extend support to children and their families, and have assisted in bringing about positive change in dire situations like that of 16-year-old Reaksmay.
Reaksmay tried very hard to study, but her home life was so turbulent that it took a great amount of intervention to ensure her safety, let alone her education. She lived in a tiny house with her three siblings and a father who frequently lashed out in bouts of alcoholism, domestic abuse, and sexual abuse.
Violence escalated harshly in Reaksmay’s house. At one point her father tried to burn the house down while on other occasions he made threats to kill his family. Reaksmay feared for her safety and her life every day. On top of the stress her home life caused, Reaksmay was forced to do rigorous labor around the clock in order to support her poverty-stricken family. It is thus no wonder Reaksmay dropped out of school in 7th grade due to the endless stress she faced.
Knowing Children’s Future’s reputation for helping children in danger, Reaksmay’s mother asked CFI for help. CFI created a family safety analysis which declared it unsafe for Reaksmay and her family to continue living with her unstable father and worked with partners to relocate them. CFI involved local authorities, police, community leaders, her mother, and relatives from both sides of the family in the case conference to create a sense of community ownership.
Reaksmay lived in a shelter for victims of domestic violence for three months and now lives in a safe house provided by a partner NGO and is in vocational school for sewing. The family never thought they had a safe future ahead. The community authorities placed Reaksmay’s father in a rehabilitation center. Her mother is no longer in constant fear and trusts the resources she has in the community. Reaksmay’s teachers applaud her success in vocational school and she hopes to start her own business in the market to support herself and her siblings.