Reflections from Children’s Future International, Cambodia
Children’s Future International (CFI) operates in rural Battambang, Cambodia, near the border with Thailand. A feature of our work is helping families living in abject poverty create sustainable and safe futures for themselves and their families. We run safe migration workshops and help families to create safe livelihoods for themselves and their neighbors. We support many families to stay connected with their communities and to avoid the devastating impacts of unsafe migration and human trafficking.
However, when COVID-19 hit, our world changed. At first, families were bemused, wondering why all the fuss for yet another version of the flu. However the longer the global pandemic lasted the more scared people became. Families were fearful of their neighbors and worried they might get sick.
Over time, family members started returning to Battambang from Thailand. Those who had fled before in search of a better life for their families were making their way home. Now the team at CFI has a new crisis to manage. Those families living in poverty, that the team had managed to bolster up, suddenly had new mouths to feed. Family members with no way to make a living were being told to stay home and self-isolate.
Never before had the gap between rich and poor been so apparent. All of the ways for families to keep themselves safe from COVID-19 are freely available to the wealthy, and much easier said than done for the poor. Isolation, when you have no money and live in crowded conditions, is not accessible to the poor. Washing your hands and wearing a face mask is not possible if you don’t have additional income to spend.
So our world has changed. But it hasn’t stopped. We are learning new ways to support families, and adapting to their new needs. Our staff is working remotely and thinking outside the box on what helping in our new world means.
Find out more about how our teams are adapting and changing by watching our videos here. And thank you for helping us to figure out this new world, and supporting us, so we can support communities, in this new-look world.