Spotlight on HCC:
HealthCare Center for Children's Skills Training Program Saves the Day for SH!
Cambodia is faced with the serious problem: the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children and young women. The causes are complex, often involving children’s inability to manage difficult family relationships, cultural bias against education for girls, and the lack of basic life provisions. CIRCLE partner NGO HealthCare Center for Children (HCC) has been working with severe forms of trafficking and sexual exploitation and has developed an integrated approach to prevention and rehabilitation of at-risk children and child laborers. Their comprehensive program involves creative awareness-raising on child labor and education issues with parents, villagers, school children and other stakeholders, non-formal and vocational skills training for children in the Center, facilitation of access to formal school, employment assistance, and counseling and creation of community-based support for reintegration of children victims.
This story highlights the journey of SH *, one of HCC's beneficiaries:

SH's applies a new technique in hair re-bonding.
June 2006. SH’s family live in poverty. Her father had recently decided to take another woman to live with his wife and family. As a result, SH felt rejected and emotionally abused. She became so sick and dispirited that she dropped out of school. For survival, she sold vegetables in the community. She eventually left her village and moved in with her sister. There she had no work and was easy prey to traffickers and pimps who were everywhere in her poor village.

Villagers who knew SH’s story referred her to HCC where she began training in a hairdressing course. She also participated in counseling sessions and non-formal classes from July to December 2005. After a successful six-months, HCC facilitated SH’s reunification with her sister. Today, SH receives on-going support from HCC’s community support system, which is composed of local volunteers who act as advisors and monitors of children reintegrated back to their communities.

One volunteer reported the following positive changes in SH’s life six months after her departure from the center:

"She had obtained good hairdressing skills and accumulated enough capital to start her own shop. She now enjoys practicing her skills and earns at least US$ 3 per day. She works in a stable, safe place and is highly regarded by her neighbors. She eats more nutritious food and wears better clothes. More importantly, she has overcome her traumatic past and has regained her self-confidence. She attributes her hopeful outlook in life to her temporary stay at HCC. At the center, she felt nurtured and affirmed and gained practical skills through her non-formal classes. People saw her talent and helped her despite her lack of formal education. She learned to trust her ability to chart a new course for herself and she sees no reason why she should risk leaving her village now to go elsewhere."

* initials have been used to protect the child's anonymity