Strategy for Impact
Hope for Cambodian Children Foundation (HOPE) signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The Royal Cambodian Government in May 2016. This was a very exciting development for HOPE as we had been negotiating for a new MoU for 2 years. The signing is a very important milestone for HOPE as it affirms the direction we have been working towards, and have achieved, during the past 12 months. That is, there are NO Children remaining in residential care at Hope for Cambodian Children. We have now achieved our goal and HOPE is a Community-Based Care Organisation servicing local disadvantaged, vulnerable and poor children and their families.
In 2006 The Cambodian Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) adopted a Policy on Alternative Care for Children. This new policy direction aimed at ensuring “that children grow up in a family and in a community” and promotes the approach that “institutional care should be the last resort and a temporary solution”. Through this policy, the Ministry also encourages other relevant Ministries and Non Government Agencies to be committed to implement policies and related programs of alternative care; to build the capacity of Cambodian staff working in the sector and for agencies to work with MoSVY to establish monitoring and evaluation systems.
Our mission is to care for, educate and improve the lives of very poor and vulnerable children and their families. The HOPE Community Centre is still the focus of the Foundation’s activities, but these activities are now much more centred on the Community, supporting and developing families and providing opportunities for education for a much larger group of children.
HOPE’s Outreach Program is targeted at children who have transitioned from residential care to live in the community and provides a wide range of ongoing services that are individually based on the needs of each child and the family; school uniforms, bicycles, school fees, clothing, utilities, textbooks, rice, skills-based training and most importantly social welfare support. There are currently over 80 families in this program.
At HOPE, close working relationships have been developed with a number of skills-based training Non-Government Organisations (NGOs). These organisations provide training to selected teenagers to enable them to qualify in trades, such as moto or motor mechanics, hairdressing/make up, waiters and chefs. This training is a vital part of setting teenagers up with a career so that they may go on to live independently within the community.
HOPE also partners with selected private businesses which allows for teenagers to learn a trade “on the job”. Currently there is one teenager learning men’s hairdressing and another learning roof welding.
Education is the key to a brighter future for Cambodia. Our Early Learning Child Care and Education Program (Preschool) was started in 2015 and currently has over forty 3-5 year old children attending, with an extra class planned for this year. Each of these children attends lessons, plays together and is provided with a nutritious meal each day.
Older school-aged children from the local community also have the opportunity to attend HOPE’s free Community Education classes in Computer and English, from 1pm to 6pm Monday to Friday. Currently over 170 children regularly attend these classes. HOPE also runs a Community Sports Education program for local children organising, outfitting and training soccer teams to compete in the local competition. There are three teams with 52 children participating in this program.
Gifted students at HOPE are nurtured so they may reach their full potential. Academically, this can lead to our fully funded Higher Education Program with the University of Battambang. HOPE already has one young woman who has graduated from the University of Battambang and one young man who is expected to graduate this year. HOPE is also supporting one gifted young man who is studying for a visual arts degree at the Phare Ponlue Selpak International Art School in Battambang on a full scholarship.
HOPE has an MoU with the Battambang Aids Committee which allows us to operate a Joint Mother to Baby HIV Prevention Program with the Home Based Care Team and the HIV Department of the Battambang Provincial Hospital (BPH). The program was started in 2009 to work with very poor and disadvantaged HIV positive pregnant women. Medical staff from the BPH and the Home Based Care Team arrange for these women to be given antiretroviral (ARV) medication for the duration of their pregnancy and for the first two years of their child’s life. While HOPE and BPH prefer that all women breastfeed their babies, the milk formula distribution and monitoring program is used as a last resort. Women, who they believe cannot satisfactorily or safely breastfeed their baby due to illness, poverty or malnutrition, are referred to HOPE who provide baby formula to the mothers and train them in bottle and water sterilization. There are currently 18 babies in this program and 130 babies have completed the two year program and all are healthy and HIV free.
As an extension of this program, and as an expansion of HOPE’s activities in the Community Assistance program, the Community Family Room at the HOPE Centre is also used to provide these mothers, and others from the local community, with training in hygiene, nutrition, sewing and other life skills. This training is delivered by suitably qualified people from BPH and other providers. The community family room is also used regularly for meetings of other community groups.
A new program this year, which HOPE has been selected to participate in, is Family Preservation. This program is an initiative of MoSVY and aims to avoid family breakdowns, and the consequent disruption to children’s lives, by identifying at risk families and then offering them assistance to keep their family together. This assistance could include food, clothing, hygiene supplies, repairs to damaged housing, temporary shelter in rented housing and counselling of families.
HOPE is an active member on 3 local commune committees and has its own Cambodian Advisory Committee that is made up of 5 influential community leaders, from across the Battambang Province.
The work of HOPE has changed dramatically over the last 3 years, but our mission “to care for, educate and improve the lives of very poor and vulnerable children and their families” has not changed. Over 400 children and their families show there is a clear need for HOPE to continue its work in a different way which will give HOPE the opportunity to help more Cambodian families to be healthy, educated and self-sufficient.