21 March 2009

Cambodian Children's Fund

Cambodian Children's Fund (CCF) was founded by Hollywood film executive Scott Neeson after a visit to Cambodia in 2003. Having been forever changed by his experience, Neeson left the glitz of Hollywood to live in Phnom Penh year round as CCF's Executive Director.

CCF was originally developed as one shelter providing a safe haven for 45 children in critical need. Today the organization has grown to five separate facilities, where nearly 400 children receive nutrition, housing, medical treatment, dental services, and vaccinations. The also receive an education, job training, and access to cultural and athletic activities.

CCF is also increasing  their community relief efforts to provide suffering families better access o education, healthcare, food assistance and safe drinking water- which is essential in an environment where an estimated 80% of illnesses are water related.

CCF Programs include the following:
  • The CCF Education Program- which provides a comprehensive education, culture and sports and extra-curricular activities, and eventual public school integration. Subjects include: multi-level English,  local language reading and writing, social studies, and math. In addition evening cultural classes teach traditional Khmer music, dance and drama.
  • Region of Lazio Community Leadership Program- designed for students who are smart, articulate and charismatic- children who are demonstrably natural leaders, regardless of their education status or grade level. The program emphasizes entrepreneurship, human rights issues, social activism and media studies, as well as land rights and community intervention. The goal of this program is to prepare a select group of promising students to enter Cambodian society with skills, ambition, and integrity to become progressive leaders and spokespeople for the emerging generation.
  • The CCF Vocational Training Program- is invaluable to older children who came to CFF with limited schooling, as they are unlikely to complete high school at a reasonable age and go on to higher studies. The program encourages children to pursue on- and off-site studies in: computer training, cosmetology, hair-dressing, graphic design, restaurant management, and language instruction. In 2006, CCF also opened Star Bakery, a facility that provides training in baking techniques, bread production, food hygiene, and business management.
  • CCF Healthcare Program- the program oversees the healthcare, nutrition, and medical treatment of over 300 students.

"Cambodian children are some of the most deprived and abused in the world. They've had no choice in being born into a country with some of the highest rates of child prostitution and domestic violence in the world... In such a plentiful world, it is inexcusable that any child should have to live this way."

The above statement appears to be ever-present in the minds of those working to advance CCF's mission. It is a call to action for all of us. As Bono has said, we cannot let the misfortunes of geography determine the fate of others.

For more information, including how you can sponsor a child, please visit CCF's website.

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