As part of my job here is to understand the local context and the counter-trafficking programs and interventions, I have taken some time to visit organizations (coalitions, shelters, outreach programs, government offices, etc.). While visiting them, I have seen many good practices, some bad practices, and a couple very innovative strategies. For now, I have decided to share a couple of those practices which are of particular creativity or interest. — This one is not specifically human-trafficking related; however, I was impressed by the focus on sustainability and local capacity.
I have already written here about how 2 to 3 people per day continue to be affected by land mines in Cambodia. I have also mentioned how far behind the west the country is on disability rights issues. I have been lucky enough to get to visit several wonderful disability agencies (look under local agencies in the blog roll). I just wanted to take a moment to point out one agency that is a little different.
Cambodia Trust, like many agencies, supports disabled people by fitting them with prosthetics, orthopedic braces, wheelchairs and bicycles; what makes them unique is their focus on sustainability. This sustainability comes twofold. First, they have opened a school, The Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics (CSPO) where people from all over (Cambodia, Sri Lanka, East Timor, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Japan, Laos, etc.) come to study for three years how to craft and fit prosthetic limbs and orthopedic braces. This way local people, including women and individuals with disabilities, can be involved in the process. They no longer have to rely on charity or expatriates.
Secondly, they help people with disabilities and their families buy goods for a small business. If their extremely tiny businesses succeed, they then help them navigate the micro-lending system to start a full-scale small business and become leaders in their community.