A Story from Cambodia

A tale less told –

I want you to meet Arun.  Arun runs a school called ‘Hope School’ for impoverished children in a small village in Siem Reap. A local hero, Arun supports his community through raising the standard of childcare working with children who are at risk of abuse and trafficking. He stands in the gap for vulnerable children who are not able to speak for, or protect themselves, and he advocates on their behalf.

Arun, like many in the world right now, has had his livelihood taken away from him with the lockdown and closure of schools. With no means to support his family and, at present, no longer able to continue providing education for children, he has chosen to work to make the situation better for those worse off than him, families who are running low on food and supplies. Despite being impacted economically himself, he continues to give what little he has left to bless those in urgent need by providing emergency food parcels. Arun is a hero! Not only is he showing generosity despite his own circumstances, he is also continuing to support those most at risk.

Children in lockdown are at a significantly increased risk of abuse and trafficking.  And when you throw in the additional stress of not being able to find food, this is having a severe impact on children and families all around the world. We have seen a spike in reported abuse and trafficking cases since the start of Covid-19 lockdowns, not only in Cambodia but all over Asia. So here at Viva, we have continued to focus on protecting children by providing food and supplies for families most at risk in order to relieve financial pressure for families.

When someone has food in their belly, they are able to make better choices for themselves and those in their household. By contrast, when families live with food insecurity, they are more vulnerable to making desperate decisions, such as selling off children to traffickers, in order to survive.  Arun and his team of volunteers are helping to provide food relief, raise awareness about good hygiene, and engage with families on how to protect children during these incredibly challenging times.

The reality is that Covid-19 has not only led to the deaths of so many around the world, but has also unleashed a wave of job losses, economic instability and supply disruptions, worst affecting those in Asia who were already living in severe poverty. In addition to the deaths due to Covid-19, many are dying and suffering due to the impact that comes with poverty as well.

However Viva’s work is significant as our work equips, empowers, and sustains local Christians and Churches to provide an effective, long-term response to the needs of children in their communities. Viva changes more children’s lives more effectively.

Viva is one of the best placed organisations to make a difference at this time as we don’t rely on external individuals; we work through locally-based partner networks who know the needs of the communities they serve. We are seeking to raise £300,000 to support our partner network’s ongoing relief work. Please give a gift today to support vulnerable families at http://www.viva.org/give