Finding affordable and safe child care is an issue many working parents struggle with, whether living in a developed western nation or in a country like Cambodia.

On a recent visit to our Community Shelter we talked with Dara*, a young mother of three little children aged 2 ½, 4, and 5 years old.  She and her husband live in Phnom Kiev, one of the poorer areas of the city, and where M’Lop Tapang’s Community Shelter is located. Three years ago she learned of the day time Baby Care Program after meeting one of our Outreach workers in the neighborhood.

She told us that before she met M’Lop Tapang she felt overwhelmed and did not have the energy to manage all her responsibilities as a wife, as mother of three young children, as the main income provider for her family, and as a caretaker for her ailing father-in-law.  Dara and her husband earned money by selling street food and used to pay a neighbor to take care of the children when they were out working.  This child care would cost her between $2 and $2.50 a day plus diapers, milk, and rice for the children. She was also upset with the lack of care her small children were receiving telling us “they only gave my children milk and let them sit on the floor all day”.  Dara’s husband had to stop working to take care of the children due to the high cost of child care.  With only Dara working their income as street food vendors was reduced to between $5 and $10 a day, and after the cost of supplies this left very little for the family to live on.

Since being introduced to the Baby Care Program she has used the service for all three of her children at one time or another.  The cost to parents is a 2000 Reil ($0.50 USD) per day. With the support of the Baby Care Program, Dara told us she feels much better than before and has more energy now to take care of herself and her family and is thankful for the program that provides her children with day time care, nutritious meals, a safe environment to play in, and the supervision of attentive teachers. The day time care for their children has also allowed her husband to go back to working, earning an extra $5 a day for the family.

Learn more about M’Lop Tapang’s Community Shelter at: http://mloptapang.org/projects/community-shelters/

*name changed for confidentiality