Outreach Program for inclusion and self-sustainability for people with disability
Project Code: KHPT-1200007 | Project Location: Northwest Cambodia
About the Project
The Outreach Program has been in operation for around 20 years and has seen inspiring transformations for individuals, families and communities across northwest Cambodia.
Outreach Team members visit people with disabilities and their families in remote areas and build trust and relationships to understand their needs and the needs of their communities. Help is always offered without any pressure, giving the people who benefit from the program full power whenever a decision needs to be taken.
The Program focuses on assisting and equipping families of people with disability to look after their loved one and support their needs. Without the Outreach Program these people would not have access to crucial resources and services, including wheelchairs and vocational training. For the last 20 years the Outreach Team has been working to make sure that people with disability and their families are not forgotten or left behind.
The barriers to employment faced by people with disability are compounded further by challenges in the Cambodian labour market, which sees on average 300,000 people enter it each year. With no minimum pay to ensure long-term security or without opportunities for employment in their home communities, many people migrate to cities or to neighbouring countries, such as Thailand and Vietnam. Only a small percentage of migrants use regulated channels, relying instead on social networks and other intermediaries without licenses. This leaves jobseekers extremely vulnerable to the violation of their human rights through human trafficking, exploitation and sexual abuse.
- Number of landmine casualties from January 1979 to December 2019
- Percentage of the population in the region works in farming
Thanks to the Outreach Program, three rural communities for more than 70 families have been established, each with improved living conditions, such as proper housing, clean water supply, sanitation hygiene devices and assistive devices, including wheelchairs. Over the last three years, the Program provided financial support to 183 families to improve their agriculture and farming techniques or develop new business, gave emergency or food support to over 780 families, and sponsored 24 students to attend vocational training courses. However, support is still needed for each community to become self-reliant and economically sustainable. One community, Prey Thom, generated almost US$4,000 through the production and sale of traditional Cambodian scarves (called kromas in Khmer). With your help, they can expand upon these promising early results, to achieve lasting independence.
Built in old battlefields cleared by demining organisations, the communities contribute valuably to regenerating and healing the land. Families from the region who were nomadic workers and did not have land were invited to receive a house, a hectare of land for agriculture and a pond for irrigation. They were also given 200kg of seed and training to build capabilities in poultry farming, vegetable gardening, cow feeding and rice planting. The Outreach Program currently supports more than 900 families in the area, performing periodic visits to the families and communities to ensure close follow-up on implementation and ongoing improvement of activities.
About the Project
“Our job as servants of this mission is to reach out, encourage, empower, and support people with disability and their families in the best way possible.”
- Outreach Program Team member
The overarching objective of this project is to support the continuation and expansion of the Outreach Program. Specifically, it seeks to develop communities for people with disabilities and their families, by providing them means to expand their socio-economic activities and improve their livelihoods. This project aims to enable people with disabilities and their family members to find decent jobs and reduce employment driven migration, thereby minimising the risk of human trafficking, while at the same time increasing resilience and economic independence.
The four main communities on which this project focuses are Prey Thom, Rattanak Mondol, Outagnia, and Komreang (the former three being established by the Outreach Program). There is also some broader outreach activity to families located more remotely.
Key project activities include:
- Vocational training in agriculture,
kroma weaving and sewing;
- Capacity building for farmers, helping
them to improve their crop raising and
- Purchasing equipment and materials for rice farming, and livestock for farmers;
- Distributing wheelchairs;
- Setting up socially responsible tours of villages through social enterprises of Battambang Prefecture;
- Environmental impact and sustainability awareness raising activities, grounded in Laudato Si';
- Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) support for families of people with disability;
- Providing emergency and food support where needed for families of people with disability;
- Promoting employment, vocational training and scholarships to people with disability and their families;
- Providing connections to jobs and support in preparing for recruitment process;
- Raising awareness on the importance of including people with disability and challenging harmful stereotypes through community events, including local authorities and NGO partners.
How you can make a difference
By contributing to this project through Catholic Mission, you will be helping to reach out and support those living with a disability, enabling them to access vital resources and a means of improving their own livelihoods.