Cambodia, a country of landmines, a country severely affected by the civil war in the past decade. There is 36% of the whole population living under the poverty line, which means earning less than USD$1 per day. We, thirty chosen Young Envoys 2005 of Unicef went to Cambodia for six days in July this summer. We were on a mission to know more about Cambodia. It was a fruitful trip; we went to 13 organizations there in order to look into the real situation there. On the second day of our visit, we went to the place where the street children live.
It was an abandoned place; there was a pond filled with dirty water and surrounded by trees and weeds. The children there aged from 5-20, however, they don’t look like their age, they look much younger. It’s probably because of the long-term malnutrition. Some of them came from the rural areas alone, some of them were born in there, some of them don’t have parents; they all work on the street. They pick rubbish and sell them for their living, earning approximately HKD$4 per day. A few of them had a chance to go to school before, but their family couldn’t afford them anymore, so they work on the street.
The FRIENDS staff was there teaching the children about simple sanitary knowledge and sex education. They came there to help the children. However, they don’t have enough funding to change their living conditions. This cycle will continue if nothing changes, children without education have no future at all. They want to study in school, but they don’t have such an opportunity. It makes me reflect on myself, am I treasuring what I already have? Having a chance to go to school, to them is not a MUST! After that, we went to the Cambodian Youth Development Centre, we had youth exchange there.
The youth there are at our age, they are the more fortunate ones, they are studying in high school or in college. The HIV/AIDS problem in Cambodia is also a severe problem, 1. 9% of the people were infected by it, and it’s the highest among Asia. The youth unite together; use their power to spread the news of preventing HIV/AIDS. They underwent training, and use their knowledge to educate their friends in school, this is called peer education. We had a nice time there; we played games and sang songs. Cambodians are all nice people; they know how to make people happy.