A few months ago I was at a program in Manila. I was there to teach about the vulnerabilities of sexually exploited children to a group of senior Asian leaders who hadn’t been exposed to the issue of trafficking. I thought it would helpful for them to see the issue firsthand.
One hundred years ago in Cambodia most families kept together in extended groups. Boys would learn farming from their fathers. Girls would also learn to help out on the farm but would learn child-care from their mothers and quickly become responsible at keeping the house and finances in order.
Today is my third day visiting our prevention programme in Moldova. I was especially keen to get out of the capital city Chisinau and see the rural villages. It was not that there isn’t enough to do in the city, but I was glad to balance all of our meetings about the programme with some face to face time with those most at risk.
I have been back in Cambodia for 3 months and one of the most disturbing things have heard about was about the situation with youth leaving orphanages in Cambodia. There are more than 200 orphanages in Cambodia that have often been set up by well meaning people (including many expatriates) who just wanted to “do something.”
I am well aware that the locals understand the context far better than me. Believe me, it sometimes feels very uncomfortable. So what is the added on value me being based in the region?