The charities or NGOs (Non-governmental organizations), M'Lop Tapang and Mith Samlanh/Friends were chosen because of their grass roots orientation. Both are small local organizations set up by responsible travelers that upon coming to Cambodia and seeing the plight of children, decided to stay and do all they could to help them.
We have first-hand experience with these NGOs and have seen the resounding success they've had and continue to have with Cambodian street-children. Based on this we decided to raise funds for these smaller community-integrated organizations, who had such an impact on us while visiting the region.
Mith Samlanh/Friends and M'Lop Tapang also work jointly on the Child-Safe Cambodia Program, a child protection network aimed at protecting children from all forms of abuse, especially sexual abuse.
If you would like to donate to one of this organization after learning more about them please click on their logo to be taken to their website. Thank you for your support!
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M'Lop in the Khmer Language means Protection.
The Tapang tree, also known as an umbrella tree for its peculiar shape, provides shelter and protection.
M'Lop Tapang initially started in January 2003 to help several homeless children on Ocheutel beach in Sihanoukville who were seeking refuge under a large Tapang tree.
Its mission is to reintegrate street-living and street-working children in the Sihanoukville area into both their families and their homes and to ultimately help this next generation to become responsible educated adults and eventually loving parents.
In addition to providing protection from all forms of abuses -physical, sexual, emotional- the organization also provides nutritious meals, medical care, support, mentoring, education, counseling and assistance to drug addicted children in their "safe environment" centers.
M'Lop Tapang is based out of Sihanoukville but operates a strong community outreach program giving them better access to children and their families in the outlying slums and streets around the city. Sihanoukville is the main destination point for homeless children of Southern Cambodia. As a result of the high number of poor homeless street children the almost certain impunity the city has recently become a major interest point for sex tourist in the South East Asian region.
M'Lop Tapang combats these tourists through the education and reintegration of disenfranchised children. In 2007, the organization will possess the capability to offer one or more services to 2,000 living in the in the slums and streets in Sihanoukville. An additional 3,000 will be contacted and helped by the community outreach program.
These are some of the ways M'Lop Tapang assists the children:
- Formal Education
- Informal Education (arts, drama, play)
- Mobile library to outreach areas
- Reintegration to Khmer and English Schools
- Counseling to children
- Basic health care
- Information on services provided at the center
- Life skills education
- Referrals for physical and emotional illnesses
- Initial medical evaluation
- Emergency care
- Vaccinations Medical treatments, therapy and medicine
- Community education and health promotion
Skills and Vocational training Training for girls at the risk of sexual exploitation:
- Sewing and basic literacy skills
- Beauty and hair styling
Training for young men:
- Motorbike maintanence
- Agricultural Training
In addition M'Lop Tapang is beginning to place young adults into suitable work placements with training and monitoring them within the workplace.
Mith Samnlanh was established in 1994 as a non-religious association working with street children in Phnom Penh. The NGO was established in response to the needs of the street children, including their families and their community.
The goal of Mith Samlanh and its projects is to help the children's social reintegration into their families, the public school system, the workplace and their culture. The hope is that these children will become independent and productive members of their communities.
Mith Samlanh is currently engaged in their "Friends, Building, Futures" land campaign to raise US$3 million to save their brightly painted center in the heart of Phnom Penh which serves as the core base for the organization providing shelter, food, medical care, training and educational facilities for over 1,800 homeless or abandoned children each day. The center also houses the educational center, vocational center, the internationally acclaimed "Friends the Restaurant" and is the epicenter for their outreach programs.
Mith Samlanh works primarily within the Phnom Penh, but does have outreach programs across Cambodia. A large number of street children come from various squatter areas across the city. Approximately 50,000 people live in these squatter communities, including an estimated 30,000 children, who receive little or no parental support. This populations is already a prime target for prostitution, trafficking and sexual violence.
Mith Samlanh is the only organization services to street children over the age of 16 who have specific needs for their future, especially finding gainful employment. As a result the organization deems it essential to provide them with quality vocational training to allow them to gain the social and technical skills necessary for a harmonious and sustainable reintegration.
Mith Samlanh's holistic program is organized into the following sixteen steps:
Working with families and communities to prevent children from coming to the streets by helping to establish income generation with their families.
- Outreach Program
Links with children on the streets and provides them with services to remain safe, thus allowing them to escape the streets.
- Young Migrant Project
Supports and provides information to young migrants (especially girls) about safe migration. It also assists them in finding adequate placement and employment by reducing the risk of being trafficked into the sex trade.
- Boarding House
A place to rest during daytime hours for boys who work at night and who are not prepared to join "traditional" centers. Boys receive education of how to protect themselves from risk and are urged to seek alternatives to street life.
- In Center Support Team
Helps children to integrate into the various programs and provides on-going attention and support to children during the studies and their stay at Mith Samlanh.
- Transitional Home
Provides up to 300 children with a safe shelter for the duration of their studies.
- Training Center
Provides up to 350 young people (from 15-21 years of age) a range of vocational training to help improve their self-confidence and allow them access to gainful employment.
- Educational Center
Provides up to 300 younger children (from 3-14 years of age) with remedial education and literacy classes. This allows for their reintegration into the public school system.
Supports the placement of children into their families, employment and/or the public school system.
- Youth Reproductive Health
Provides information and education to street children both on the streets and in the centers along with the children's wider communities thereby allowing them to make informed decisions immediately and in the future about their sexual life and access to Reproductive Health Services.
- HIV/AIDS Protection Program
Raises awareness about HIV/AIDS among street children and their families, to care for infected children and family members and the assistance to find orphaned children a foster home.
- Drugs Program
Provides a holistic response to drug misuse including prevention, detoxification, rehabilitation and monitoring of substance use among street children.
- Child Rights Program
Promotes the implementation of all aspects of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Cambodia and protect and supports children who have been subjected to abusive situations.
- Culture (Club Friends)
Allows children to discover their rich culture and allow them to express themselves.
- Friends' Businesses
A series of business project aimed at building and reinforcing the financial sustainability of Mith Samlanh. All initiatives are part of the training process for students within the Training Center. In 2005 the businesses enabled Mith Samlanh to achieve 34% self-sustainability. Businesses include but are not limited to the internationally renowned "Friends the Restaurant", "Romdeng" -a taste of the Cambodian provinces, a French café "Le Café du Centre" and "Friends'N'Stuff.
- Staff Development
Develops the staff's capacity to run the programs effectively and develop the organization as a whole.
The staff of Mith Samlanh consists of 220 Cambodians. They include social workers, teachers, skill trainers, doctors, house parents, cooks, cleaners and a small administrative staff.
In addition to helping the future generation of Cambodia, Mith Samlanh also provides the current with sustainable employment and invaluable skills.