Providing a Safe Environment for Children

As a father of four children, I feel very strongly about promoting the welfare of youth and children.  This topic is especially relevant to us at the U.S. Embassy because of Cambodia’s large youth population.  Last week, I had the pleasure to host a roundtable discussion with development partners on U.S.-Cambodia cooperation to protect children in adversity.  Of particular focus was the U.S. government’s Action Plan on Children in Adversity (APCA) which provides guiding principles for this cooperation.  I am very pleased that Cambodia has been selected as a focus country for implementing the APCA.

I met with these at-risk children at the Cambodia Children’s Fund center earlier this year.

The APCA has three objectives:  to build strong beginnings for children, to put family care before institutional care, and to protect children from abuse and exploitation.  Support for these goals was expressed by the roundtable participants, including members of the Global Alliance for Children – a network of governments, civil society organizations, and private sector representatives who share many of the same goals as the APCA.

It was a pleasure to speak with this group about the pressing needs of Cambodian children.

The roundtable discussion was joined by Dr. Neil Boothby and Dr. Richard Rinehart of USAID, who came to Cambodia last week to meet with Cambodian officials, development partners, and private sector representatives.  They worked to explain the APCA, gather support, and identify next steps for implementation of the core objectives.  I was interested to learn that the APCA is grounded in evidence that shows that supportive caregiving in early childhood is directly linked to children’s cognitive, emotional, and motor development.  Cycles of poverty and inequality are being broken by countries making investments in early childhood health and development protections, while failure to do so is undermining social and economic progress in other countries.

During an NGO visit earlier this year, I was glad to see these children receiving the educational support they deserve.

Millions of children all over the world still live in dangerous conditions and face significant risks.  Providing a safe environment for children is a priority that requires our immediate attention and best efforts.  I was encouraged by the ideas, interest, and dedication of the roundtable participants and I hope that the new partnerships formed in support of the APCA will help achieve the vision of a world we all share, in which all children grow up in a safe family environment free from deprivation, exploitation, and danger.

One thought on “Providing a Safe Environment for Children

  1. Dear Todd
    Ambassador Of The United State
    Base in Phnom Penh Cambodia

    My name is Keo Sannty Cambodian work as New experiences 3 years as general assistant at Dukkha Foundation and 8 months as Director of Dukkha Foundation on nominated.
    Our project is Education and vocational Training for children.

    On our work as my duty base at Steng meanchey in dump area. And we are focus on raise small children from 2 to 14 years old to Day Care Center and send 6 to 14 years old kids to public school, so their parents are could have no worried to go to work and they are able to have more time to work to make money to feed their family.

    Children are stay at the center from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm, Our staffs will send them back home with our Tuk Tuk and make sure they are being safe until they arrive home with their parent, On our work field with our children make sure they are have got enough ( food 3 time a day ) with healthy fruit, health care, cleaning, education and social living training. for older children are get class support after public school on focus on writing reading and maths,
    On holiday time children are have tour to outside and have an Iced Cream at good popular store ( Blue Pumpkin or Swensand store ). So they are can learn and see the new things and get to know what is outside world that they are use to growing up and where they are living, and that is the experiences for them to build their thought for the future not to working at the dump place as their parents doing, because many good things and experiences that they are saw from their tour.

    But unfortunately for my poor foundation had been chose the wrong person on in charge the foundation, For last 3 years have been lose a lot money from donation to run this project, But it’s was so late that I found out about those dirty work. But our budget already empty from the save. But we are won’t give up on this work after those dirty people are gone, We keep continue working on this crises with less budget but still struggle with budget we have less from donated for 200 children at the center.
    But for several months on my hand in charge we are have been try to changing all the work system properly and move forward to getting better with small amount support by Mr Djorn Rump from Netherlands, but even those the budget to run the center is such big expend to the project bills,
    we are spending on staffs salary, food and rice, rental building, children public school materiel including uniforms 4 set a year, shoes, backpack etc. classes materiel at center for small children, Uniforms for kids and staffs and such. So all this expending is big amount for our Foundation to get through every months, So Mr Rump couldn’t handle that much every months as he is own the center and project. then he was considered to close the center and quit this project on October 2013,
    ( next months )

    On my hand and as I am Cambodian as blood the same with those poor children then I couldn’t stand to see all the children going back to their horrible living with scared and unsafe and face to many kind of danger in the village, their parents are can’t protecting them all the time, because of they are have to work outside to make money for their survivor, I couldn’t stand to see them lose their school lose their education lose their future lose their dreaming and goal. Because I was a poor kid too. so I knew what is like, I knew what is feel to be scared and worry and famished.
    I am created this center and put a lot of time Idea and heart to this center and children even I wasn’t the one who is on in charge. I work so hard to this project and I wanted to make it keeping further and help many more children, teenagers, widows that live in the dump area on Education and training skill for their future living, I don’t wanted to stop or quit like that, Because its so much disappointing to me and all my employees that they are working so hard with me, so they are also on my responsibility,

    Well, all the reason that I said above to your discussing program of Providing a Safe Environment I hope that I able to get a chance or opportunity to my 200 children 20 employees at my Center on economic crises of our Foundation to asking for support Founding from your program and USIAD request by regard from us.
    I’ll be happy to providing any prove and any information about our project and budget expend to you, and I am happily to accept any judgment and any interview from you on my responsibility with my work field also and I would love you to send your agencies to our center to see our work and children are any time freely of yours.

    One again I am please you to help us and all poor children that needed help and safe with time their growing up.

    By regard

    Mis Keo Sannty
    Directore of Dukkha Foundation
    Project Education and Vocational Training for Children
    Base Steng Meanchey ( Dump Area )
    Phnom Penh Cambodia
    Tel: 012 796 892

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