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CRS in Cambodia

After enduring 18 years of prolonged conflict, Cambodians are working to rebuild a peaceful society. CRS serves Cambodians who are gaining a voice in government and civil affairs. 

Cambodia has serious lingering health problems: Tuberculosis infection rates are the highest in the region, and more than 70,000 people have HIV or AIDS. Mothers in particular require special attention so they can prevent the transmission of HIV to their infants and ensure they get appropriate nutrition. CRS and local partners support home-based care, health training, awareness and education.

Poor children, especially those with disabilities, often find a good education out of their reach. CRS has implemented a program that improves access to education, especially for children with disabilities. We help place special needs children in mainstream classrooms and support teachers and parents so they can care for their young students. 

Catholic Relief Services, along with local partners, strives to enhance human dignity and alleviate poverty in Cambodia.


People served: 4,388,377

Population: 15,708,756 (July 2015 est.)

Size: 69,900 sq mi; about the size of Missouri

CRS' History in Cambodia

From 1973 to 1975, CRS provided greatly needed assistance in health and nutrition to Cambodians struggling through a war. In 1991, CRS reopened offices in Cambodia as the signing of the Paris Peace Accords brought stability back to the country. Now CRS works with 11 partners to serve thousands of Cambodians living throughout the country.

CRS Cambodia works holistically with the government at both the national and sub-national levels to improve service delivery and management by developing and updating technical guidelines; training community health workers, teachers, school administration, and parents; and facilitating linkages within communities to ensure the prioritization of their needs.  

CRS Cambodia's newest program aims to enable all students, particularly those with disabilities, to attend and achieve in school. By focusing on inclusive education (integrating children with special needs into regular primary school classes), children with disabilities benefit from improved and expanded education and community support. CRS and our partners provide training to teachers, principals, and school administrators on disability awareness and management of inclusive classes; identify and screen children who need medical or social support; mobilize communities to bring children with disabilities to school; and advocate for the needs of children with disabilities within the general education system.

With support from Tailored for Education, in 2013 CRS Cambodia complimented the education project activities in 18 schools by providing school uniforms and shoes to a total of 12,878 students (with and without disabilities) and 242 teachers. The uniforms have alleviated the economic burden for parents struggling to purchase uniforms and encouraged better school attendance.

Cambodia has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in Asia. While Cambodia has made progress in reducing the spread of the disease, many challenges remain. People living with HIV/ AIDS (PLHIV) lack access to adequate health services and health care workers often lack the capacity to cater to the special needs of PLHIV. Our programs train community health volunteers to visit patients' homes to help them take their medicines correctly, learn about possible side effects of medications, and know when to seek care for other illnesses. Community support groups help people with HIV and AIDS deal with social stigma.

CRS and its partners have supported 533,160 individuals through various TB initiatives. CRS engages community volunteers to raise awareness about TB, to increase knowledge about TB signs and symptoms, and to detect and refer suspected TB cases to health centers for diagnosis and treatment. 

CRS and our partners also work to strengthen community-level health systems. Our programs focus on helping village health workers to deliver their services more effectively; educating communities about their rights to seek health care; coordinating referral and feedback systems to ensure high-quality services; and helping create community transportation systems so that people can access health services when they need them.