Our Commitment to a Community
CCF is committed to rebuilding futures and bringing new hope to children and families who have been discarded and deserted. The Steung Meanchey community is where so many of our students once lived and worked, and even in times of uncertainty, as the community members’ needs evolve, so will we continue to redefine our methods and reshape our care to devote the best possible attention and respect to these families.
We are motivated in our community outreach services in part by the profound changes we have seen in the CCF students, and in 2008 we have redoubled our efforts to give Steung Meanchey families the information, security and assistance they need to live healthier lives. It has always been our hope that by fostering a sense of community and a sense of pride through our Community Center, evaluation and responsibility by community members will follow.
Our expanding services have shown remarkable progress in uniting a formerly fragmented group of families and shaping a more positive social network. No longer reliant on local healers or unsanitary health remedies (see photo left) people in the Steung Meanchey area now have unprecedented access to clean water and free daily medical care, health education and counseling.With the help of twice-weekly visits from a mobile medical unit, our community center health program – originally developed to serve 100 people per month – now offers care to an average of 700 children and families per month. Urgent cases are referred to area hospitals, often with Community Center nursing staff accompanying the families to serve as patient advocates.
Our latest outreach initiative, food relief and distribution, is one of the most urgent needs CCF has faced to date. Our newly launched food program is providing rice to the most destitute families via a voucher distribution system whereby individuals have the opportunity to buy rice at subsidized prices. By negotiating directly with local rice mills for bulk costs, CCF is able to sell the rice to community members at subsidized prices, thereby providing for a larger section of our target population and avoiding placing the recipient families in a cycle of dependence. Money from these sales is used to purchase more rice for subsidized distribution. On the first day of sales, we sold over 1,000 lbs of rice. The CCF Community Center has also opened an evening café offering subsidized meals made from locally purchased produce, and we frequently distribute free meal vouchers to families in need. Open for four hours each evening, the café typically serves over 500 people per month.
Our Community Child Care Center opened in December with a planned capacity of 40 children, but due to community response and the overwhelming need of area families, we now have 58 children enrolled in our program.
We currently have three preschool teachers and are creating childcare and classroom staff opportunities for Steung Meanchey residents, many of whom are mothers of the children enrolled in our program.
In doing so, we are providing employment opportunities beyond the subsistence work of the garbage dump and are creating a supportive atmosphere in which parents can become physically and emotionally invested in the health, social and academic progress of their children – thereby working collectively with us and with other parents for their children’s growth and success.
In October, 2008, the first two ‘graduates’ of the Community Child Care Center were accepted into the CCF6 residential education program. Ten months ago these little girls were adrift in a sea of hopelessness. Today they’ve found a safe new home. We think that’s pretty good cause for celebration.
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