This past Saturday, June 1, was Children's Day. I suppose I should have blogged about it on that day, but better late than never, right? Andrew and I attended a program at a local elementary school that has been involved in some SP programs. There were actually several elementary schools present, and different NGOs donated school supplies, drinks, water, etc. to give to the kids. The program consisted of various community leaders giving speeches, then handing out gifts to the children. The speeches all lasted about an hour and a half, and it was a bit amusing to see the kids listening to absolutely nothing being said. They were far too busy talking, fidgeting, throwing things at each other, picking their noses...pretty much like kids anywhere.
Children's Day is actually an international holiday started in 1950, and here in Cambodia, it's a national holiday. Children under the age of 18 years make up 41% of the national population, making Cambodia one of the youngest nations in Southeast Asia.
Growing up in Cambodia has never been easy, but thankfully it is getting better. The below infographic from Unicef Cambodia highlights the progress made in the past few years, yet also shows that much work is to be done to improve the lives of children growing up here. In America, we take it for granted that we can access vaccinations for our children; that they have toilets and running water; that they won't grow up stunted due to poor nutrition; or that obtaining a birth certificate or an education would never be difficult.