By supporting CHC, you will be supporting sustainable child and youth empowerment through phone counseling. While this is less tangible than building a water well or school, supporting CHC means you are investing in the emotional health of Cambodia’s children and youth population.
Cambodia has one of the youngest populations in Southeast Asia. In 1998, a 25-year period of war and genocide finally came to an end. Generational trauma, alcohol and drug addiction, sexual abuse and violent crime are a testament to the years of conflict. A culture of impunity and the common use of violence to solve problems has since modeled negative behaviors to young people. Recognizing this cultural background and following the results of a CHC needs assessment in 20072, there is a clear need for localized counseling skills and for them to be affordable and readily accessible for children and youth.
Cambodia has a population of more than 14 million people, half of whom are 25 years old or younger. The Ministry of Posts & Telecommunications recorded over 19 million active SIM cards. Most people have more than one mobile phone to capitalize on the different call / SMS promotions available across multiple mobile phone service providers. Additionally, there has been an increase in mobile phone usage in the provinces with handsets becoming more affordable.
Recognizing this information, mobile phone communication is a highly efficient and effective method for supporting children and youth with problems.
In 2007, questionnaires based on Child Helpline International design were completed by 400 children from three distinct groups in Cambodia: children living on the street; working children; and children living at home and attending schools. Nearly 100 adults who worked with children across Cambodia also participated.
Children living at home and attending school reported their main concerns were family, school and bullying. 70% had used a telephone and nearly 80% said they would call a special number for children for help with problems. Street and working children reported their main concerns were food, medicine, shelter; verbal abuse, physical punishment and no access to schooling. Less than 50% said they normally share their problems with someone else. Nearly 70% said they would call a special number for children. 92% of adults working with children believed a child helpline would be beneficial to children. Nearly all indicated they would help a child in need by calling a child helpline number.
We provide free and 24 hour phone counseling, information, referral and follow-up services to children and youth up to the age of 25 who are living in Cambodia. We allow children and young people to reach out when they need it, in real time and speak directly with someone in a safe and confidential environment.
CHC views each and every call as important, and depending on the client’s needs, our counselors will either provide emotional support or information to empower them to make decisions for themselves. At other times, counselors will link the clients to appropriate referral institutions if they need immediate intervention such as food, shelter, legal advice or medical care. A comprehensive follow up system is in place with the referral partners and clients in these cases.
We currently receive between 12,000 and 15,000 calls each month.
Anyone can call 1280 for free from any telephone networks anywhere in Cambodia at no cost 24 hours everyday.
To provide greater accessibility, people can also SMS us via a free phone 1293 or post a question on our website notice board.
All contacts are channeled through our office in Phnom Penh, and subject to funding and collaboration with project partners; we also implement awareness raising and issue specific meetings in target provinces.
We promote our services through community visits, the distribution of promotion cards, radio campaigns and Facebook activities.
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