15 year old Chenda* was born to a poor family in a rural province. When he was younger his family moved around several times as his parents looked for work in factories.

He dropped out of school in Grade 4 when his family was living in Phnom Penh and spent most of his time with a group of children and youth that were using drugs. Last year he and a friend decided to run away and found a ride to Sihanoukville.

When he arrived in Sihanoukville he didn’t have a place to stay or money to buy food, so like many runaway children he begged for food during the day and slept on the beach at night. It was on a local beach that he met one of M’Lop Tapang’s trained ChildSafe beach sellers who gave him some food and told him about M’Lop Tapang. He sat with her while she phoned our 24-Houtline to ask the staff to come and meet him.

Chenda is now staying at our 24-hour Drop-In Center and has started attending classes at the MT Education Center. For now he seems very committed to studying hard and tells us that in the future he wants to work in an office.

*name/photo changed for confidentiality