Welcome to World Relief Cambodia!
With a past that includes French occupation, a brutal genocide, years of civil war, and UN occupation during the last half of the 20th Century, Cambodia is still recovering and establishing its identity. This turbulent history has left an indelible impact on the country and its people; according to the World Bank, around 40% of the country lives below the poverty line. On a daily basis, this is an income of less than $1 per day. At least half of the population (around 14 million) are below the age of 21, and older generations lack education and basic health knowledge. As a result, Cambodia has a high child mortality rate-- one of the highest in Southeast Asia-- and an average life expectancy of less than 60 years. Amidst these sobering realities, World Relief staff members bring hope and healing to a nation greatly in need.
“Many people look at Cambodia and see a land of heartbreak, devastation and poverty," said Country Director, Tim Amstutz. "But a new generation of young Cambodians filled with a sense of hope for the future has emerged to help their country step out of the recent shadows of violence, fear and poverty. World Relief is working with them to make that vision a reality.”
Now in it's 14th year in Cambodia, World Relief is committed to working alongside the Church of Cambodia in building its capacity to serve the poor in the name of Jesus Christ so that the healing and transforming power of the Kingdom of God is manifested in all its fullness in Cambodia.
Our specific ministries range from microenterprise development to community health intervention, and from children's clubs to adult support groups for those living with HIV/AIDS. WR Cambodia works with the Church in AIDS and child development ministries, for the Church by providing micro-finance services and mobilizing mothers for maternal and child health community outreach, and from the Church in cell church planting and compassionate care for those in need.
World Relief focuses our work on five key sectors. These are:
HIV/AIDS Prevention and Education
Cambodia has the highest prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in Southeast Asia, and only 16% of those living with AIDS are able to use anti-retroviral drug treatments. HIV/AIDS represents a crucial area of ministry for World Relief, and this is especially true in Cambodia. Our work in this area focuses on helping Cambodians understand the nature of HIV, how it is spread, and tactics to prevent infection. WR Cambodia equips churches, community health groups, and the community to teach their neighbors and bring about lasting behavior change. Church and community volunteers also to provide support and encouragement through home care to those suffering from the disease.
Maternal and Child Health
A major initiative of World Relief around the globe, maternal and child health projects aim to decrease infant mortality rates and improve women’s health. In Cambodia, the nation with the highest child mortality rate in Southeast Asia, our projects involve community groups, called Care Groups, formed to educate women on essential health information, such as pre and post natal care. We also work with child and teen groups to bring life-saving health information to individuals across the country in ways that young people can understand.
An essential mandate of World Relief is to relieve poverty. To achieve this goal, while ensuring sustainable economic development, WR Cambodia supports CREDIT, a licensed micro-finance institution established by World Relief. By providing small loans to clients across the country, as well as financial education and training, WR Cambodia is able to support cottage industries and alleviate poverty while ensuring dignity to those we serve.
As a consequence of our HIV/AIDS and maternal/child health projects, WR Cambodia has witnessed the growth of over 1000 cell churches in the areas where we work. Supporting these churches by providing leadership and discipleship training, as well as using these groups to disseminate health information is a vital part of our ministry. In addition, WR Cambodia works with established churches in Cambodia to provide HIV/AIDS information and training in compassionate care to people across the nation.
One important issue facing Cambodia is the problem of human trafficking into prostitution and forced labor. WR Cambodia desires to work through the community and the local church to prevent the exploitation and abuse of women and children in Cambodia.