10 year-old Rithy* is one of the youngest children are Drugs Team has worked with this year.
Rithy boy was born in Sihanoukville, one of eight children in his family. His parents are divorced and Rithy and his three sisters and four brothers lived with their mother and grandmother in one of the slums areas of the city.
Rithy had started to go to school but dropped out in the first grade and started working on the streets, begging for money that went to his family. When he first started working on the streets he always went back home at night. After a while he stopped going back home and instead began living in the streets and started sniffing glue with friends. He was 8 years old.
Our Drugs Outreach team met Rithy often during the time he was living on the streets. Like many drug using children it took a long time to build a trusting relationship with him, but after a year and a half Rithy decided to leave the streets and started staying at our 24-Hour Drop-In Center where he had access to hot nutritious meals, shower facilities, sports and counseling.
We are very happy to report that after three months living at the Drop-In Center, Rithy was helped to reintegrate back to his family earlier this year and will start school again soon. The team continues to visit Rithy and his family regularly to monitor his progress and work with the family.
*name and photo changed for confidentiality