SOS Children's Village Ratanakiri is located in Banlung, the capital of the province of Ratanakiri. The region has around 210,000 inhabitants who come from mixed backgrounds and speak a variety of languages. Most of the population lives in rural areas, surviving off agriculture.Years of conflict has resulted in stressful social and economic conditions in Cambodia, which have an impact on family life, and left countless children without parental care.
Since 2011, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Ratanakiri.
Although the infrastructure has improved recently, Ratanakiri remains rather isolated. Families here experience some of the worst living conditions in Cambodia.
The region has some of the worst health indicators in the country. It is often hard for people to access health care, due to language and cultural barriers, or because the medical centres are so far away that people simply cannot afford the cost of travel and treatment.
Over 30% of children under 5 are not registered at birth. This creates problems later on when children are denied access to basic rights and services like education and healthcare.
Children suffer most from the harsh situation in the region. Children that are most vulnerable are those who live in rural areas or have had to move from their homes. Also children who live with elderly relatives or in households that are headed by a child or a woman are at risk of harm. They are often forced to go out to work to contribute to the family income.
Approximately 60% of Cambodia’s population is under the age of 25. The young population has the potential to contribute to the country’s social and economic development, but many don’t have the resources to do so. Prioritizing education and training will allow young people to have more employment opportunities.