In addition to the long and arduous process of national reconciliation, Cambodia has had and still has to face problems related to economic fragility, serious human rights violations, corruption, the spread of sex tourism, the exploitation of the territory and natural resources.
The country is one of the poorest in Southeast Asia: 17.7% of the population lives below the poverty line and the nation relies heavily on international aid [CIA WORLD FACTBOOK, 2017]. The economy mainly depends on the tertiary sector, followed by industry and agriculture; in recent years, GDP has undergone a significant increase thanks to the increase in production in the textile, construction, agriculture and tourism sectors. However, the distribution of wealth remains very disparate; most of the population living in rural areas does not have access to basic goods and services.
The main ethnic group is the Khmer one, followed by the Vietnamese and Chinese minorities.
In Cambodia, Mani Tese operates in the province of Banteay Meanchey and in the municipality of Sihanoukville in the south of the country. Intervention in the country has always focused on the protection of children and support for family income. The growing difficulties in rural areas and the economy push the inhabitants to migrate to the big cities where, due to the growing urbanization, living conditions are increasingly precarious especially for children and women, vulnerable sections of the population.
Mani Tese acted by supporting mothers of children potentially victims of trafficking by starting income-generating activities. In rural areas, the goal is to recreate the social fabric destroyed by decades of civil war and to stimulate the economy to improve the quality of life.
The main beneficiaries of the interventions are street children, who are most exposed to exploitation, violence and the danger of becoming victims of internal and international trafficking. The main activities are protection and awareness, formal education and professional training, psychological support and provision of art therapy, IT, English, dance and singing courses at the reception center located in Poipet.
Mani Tese has been collaborating since 2008 with the local organization Damnok Toek. (WEBSITE: www.damnoktoek.org).
My name is Giulia Donnici, and it all started here. I was still a university student when, in 2006, I arrived in Mani Tese as an intern. It was my first experience in international cooperation and I immediately thought it was the most beautiful and interesting job in the world. Thanks to the internship, I got close and passionate to the topic of corporate social […]