Situation report Cambodia
When frogs are the last hope
A poor country like Cambodia is particularly hard hit by the corona pandemic. In contrast to the industrialized nations, the state does not have the ability to protect people from the consequences. And as always, those who are least able to defend themselves are hit the hardest: the children! We report what the crisis means for them.
A father who must leave his children unprotected. A mother who is no longer able to provide her family with the essentials. These are real nightmare scenarios playing out in rural Cambodia during the Corona pandemic. And yet they are real. They happen every day.
To understand them, we must first understand how most families made their meager income before the crisis. In addition to a bit of agriculture, it is mainly the women who work in the huge clothing factories, of which there are also a few in the vicinity of the Smiling Gecko Campus. The wages here are ridiculously low and yet, together with the yields from the fields, they are usually just enough to make ends meet for the families.
These incomes are now completely gone as the factories are closed due to Corona. There is no more work and therefore no money. There is no social security, such as unemployment benefits. How could there be? In a country where, even before the crisis, millions of people lived below the poverty line.
And now? The parents try to find a job in the cities. They leave their children behind. Must leave them behind … Because even if they were to find a job, it would be so badly paid that it would be impossible to pay for adequate accommodation.
Left to their own devices, the children have no choice but to look after themselves. They literally become hunters and collectors. From frogs, crabs, and lizards that they grill or cook to eat. Hannes Schmid made a short but very impressive film about this hunting and collecting. They are bitter images that we still want to show here.
SMILING GECKO SUPPORTS THESE CHILDREN
Wherever we have the opportunity, we support the children left behind with food and everything they need to survive. We regularly organize distribution campaigns. Knowing that it’s not what we want to do for the children. Because, frankly, we don’t have the money elsewhere. But do we have another chance? Decide for yourself!