Learn and play #ChildrenInTheCentre

cambodia thumbnailChildren take centre stage in the work of Viva and our partner networks who ensure that they are well cared for and able to thrive.

This approach does not just benefit the child; it benefits the whole family.



While Cambodia has a high percentage of children enrolling in primary education and an almost non-existent gender gap in primary enrolment (1.2% more boys enrol), challenges that affect a child’s ability to stay in school are strong and the rates of children completing education are low.

The difference between the numbers of children finishing school in rural and more populated areas is growing and poverty means that many parents, especially in rural areas, ‘cannot afford the direct and indirect costs’ of sending their children to school and often need them to help at home and with agriculture.

UNICEF also reported that the poor quality of education is causing more students to drop out.

Cambodia children

PEACE Team Cambodia and Kone Kmeng, Viva’s partner networks in Cambodia, put on a year-long child development course for church and child NGO workers based on Viva’s ‘Celebrating Children’ programme and our Good Treatment Campaign to address the needs of children. Education was identified as a key priority that they could respond to effectively as a group.

classTo raise awareness of the importance of education, the networks provide mentoring for families, giving advice and information about the need to keep children in school for as long as possible and how this can benefit the whole family. This is having a real impact on children’s development.

The two stories that I have written about below are of girls whose parents received education mentoring to emphasise the benefits of educating children and the impact this can have on the whole family.

AryAry is seven years old. She lives with her parents and three siblings in Phnom Penh’s slum area of Steung Meanchey and is the middle child.

Ary loves her family and looks after her little brother when her parents are at work. Life at the moment is tough for Ary and her family, living in this slum area with no legal property.

Despite their hardships, Ary’s family are putting their children at the centre.  They receive education mentoring and realise the importance of educating their children, even though they are working hard to support the family’s basic needs.

The picture to your right is of Ary in her school uniform. She is currently in Grade 1 of her local school. Getting children into school is one way that our partner networks are putting children in the centre.

VannaVanna (pictured left) is four years old with a younger sister, Sopheap who is nearly two years old. They go to a local kindergarten where they enjoy playing and making lots of friends.

Vanna really loves her younger sister and parents and has grown up in a Christian family with lots of support. Her father serves as a Network Coordinator and has been able to see first-hand the importance of putting children in the centre.

Vanna is proud of the work he is doing and really supports him. She often says to her father “please go to work papa but please come home early to take me, my sister and mum to the riverside”.

As part of keeping their children central to their lives, Vanna’s parents realise that they must make time to play, laugh and enjoy shared experiences with their children, no matter how busy they may be.

Regardless of circumstance, simple gestures that put children at the centre can make a world of difference to a child’s development.


We want to see people all over the world pledging to focus on children.You could show your support by posting a photo of yourself on social media with the hashtag #ChildrenInTheCentre and pledging to do one small action to help keep children central in your life.

Here are some suggested pledges that you could make, but feel free to think of your own!
• I pledge to tell my child I love them every day.
• I pledge to listen and spend time with the child I care for.
• I pledge to value my child and recognise their individual qualities.
• I pledge to encourage learning and model the values I want my child to develop.
• I pledge to teach children responsibility and help them to resolve conflict.

You can find out the inspiration behind these pledges by reading this blog.