WHEN CHILD PROTECTION IS EMBRACED BY SPECIAL MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY
‘Hero’ comes from the Greek word hērōs meaning ‘protector’ or ‘defender’. Two words couldn’t be more suited to describe our #EverydayHeroes, the many staff members, particularly our social workers, project managers and hotline team who on a day-to-day basis support, counsel and case manage families and children, often in very difficult situations where they face risks and challenges every day.
But what happens when our teams can’t be there?
Who can we rely on to help us protect children and youth?
The ChildSafe Agent program was born out of the need to involve members of the community to also be our #EverydayHeroes – our eyes and ears when we are not around.
A ChildSafe Agent can be anyone with true intentions of protecting children. We seek out key people in the community such as parents, teachers, tuk tuk drivers, street sellers, travelers – responsible members of society dedicated to the rights of children. We also have ChildSafe Agents within those businesses that have been certified as a ChildSafe business. ChildSafe Agents volunteer to monitor their environment to ensure children are not in danger of harm, such as abuse or neglect.
From general awarness training, the Agent can choose to learn specialist skills to be able to respond to youth at harm or risk in specific areas such as sex work, drug addiction, school drop-out and migrant issues to name a few.
[pictured here: Chantrea – a ChildSafe Project and Social Worker]
“We train Agents to become our eyes and ears to watch the streets in the community because we are not there all the time”, said Khemreth (Tito) Vann, International Coordinator for the ChildSafe Movement. “Children need to have people in the community that they can trust – and these Agents are the ones that can help and do the action. These Agents spend their valuable time each year to build and refresh their knowledge through out ChildSafe Training. Without them, we are alone. They help us to change the lives of many street kids. We want to thank all Agents – as well as their families – for always supporting us”.
Trained in ChildSafe practices, the Agent is empowered to respond to any situtation where a child may be in danger, by taking action and reporting directly to the ChildSafe Hotline, or relevant local authorities.
The ChildSafe Hotline consists of a team of professionally trained social workers who are active 24/7 across 11 cities within South East Asia. They are on-hand to respond to reports of children at risk, with the aim of securing the child’s safety and where necessary, referring them to appropriate social services. During 2018 over 2,000 children received direct protection services through calls to the Hotline.
Across Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia and Thailand we are proud to count just over 4,000 in our ChildAgent network!
At last year’s Phnom Penh ‘ChildSafe Agent Annual Meeting’ hosted on December 22, over 100 ChildSafe tuk tuk drivers, street sellers and key members from the local community were brought together to be recognised.
The Annual Meeting provides the ChildSafe Team with an opportunity to share key achievements throughout the year, provide updates from the ChildSafe Hotline Team, conduct role play scenarios and discuss case studies.
The ChildSafe team were also honoured to present certificates of recognition to 21 tuk tuk drivers who have dedicated over 10 years respectively to the ChildSafe Agent program. True Everyday Heroes!
ChildSafe Agents are crucial to the ongoing impact of the ChildSafe Movement and we applaud and say thanks to these #EverydayHeroes for their continuing dedication and commitment to protecting the children who need it most.
Stay tuned for more stories on our #EverydayHeroes as we continue to shine the light on these special members of the global ChildSafe community.
“ChildSafe can protect more and more children with the help and dedication of ChildSafe Agents. As a citizen, we encourage you to also do something to stop abuse to children and youth and refer any suspected case to a professional. You also could be an #EverydayHero. We need your protecting hand for the future of Cambodia”, said Tito.
Would you, or someone you know, like to become a ChildSafe Agent – as a business or citizen – and join our expanding network of #EverydayHeroes? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org