Boran* is a 16 years old boy who lived on the Poipet’s streets, in Cambogia, where he joined a street gang to survive and became addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Before living on the street, Boran lived with his mother and stepfather. In fact, after his parent’s separation, his father had moved.
When Boran was 11, he was forced by his stepfather to work on a construction site every day. His stepfather hit and threatened him constantly, especially when he was drunk. His mother, however, was unable to express either love or support.
Boran then decided to run away from home and went to live on the street. To survive, he joined a gang, within which he was forced to serve older boys, smoke cigarettes, inhale glue and take other drugs. He also had to beg and sometimes steal.
In February 2019, one of Boran’s friends invited him to participate in an activity organized by the Drop in Center** for trafficked children of Damnok Toek, a partner of Mani Tese: Mobile Rehabilitation. Boran didn’t know it yet, but this rehabilitation project would radically change his life.
When Boran arrived at the rehabilitation center was initially too shy to talk to the other children or staff and was very ashamed of his lifestyle. Thanks to the project Boran and the other where able to have many experiences in different places such as a football field, a local pool or places to carry out group’s activity.
“This is the first time i’ve had free food and sports clothes. Before, i would either force youger children to find food for me or would beg form myself ” told us Boran.
“The Damnok Toek team not only taught me to practice different sports – he continued – but also to be a good man. My mother and stepfather never taught me that. They always scolded and beat me”.
“At the center i was encouraged and worked with my family. Now i live at home again and have become a Peer Educator. I participate in many activities in my community to help other vulnerable children and young people. I study and participate in training courses.
I owe Damnok Toek and the donors who support him a big thank you for always helping and caring for children like me. Now everything in my life has changed. I have hope and have developed skills and competences to lead a happy life. Also, I am no longer taking drugs”.
The Mobile Rehabilitation is the only drug rehabilitation program in Poipet and helps reduce stress and drug abuse through sports, art therapy, and other healing activities.
You too can help children and young people like Boran to get out of the streets and addictions with a donation to the Damnok Toek center: https://www.manitese.it/en/project/children-safe-in-cambodia
*Boran is a fancy name to protect the privacy of the child.
**Drop In Center offers a safe and suitable space for street children to take a break from their daily work.
Children can also benefit from a daily two-hour literacy and numeracy class, recreational activities, meals, and a safe haven at night.
Assistance takes place regularly on the streets, in landfills, directly in the municipalities and where children work on the border between Thailand and Cambodia. Every month, mobile libraries and workshops are organized in communities to raise awareness of children, young people and adults on topics such as trafficking, the importance of education, HIV, substance abuse and sexual exploitation. A mobile rehabilitation unit travels to communities 4 times a week to identify and help children who use drugs.
Here are some photos of the activities that take place in the Drop In Center of Poipet: