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About Caritas Cambodia
Caritas Cambodia is an official social development arm of the Catholic Church in Cambodia. It has been built on the values of Love, Concern, Justice, Peace Unity, Sharing and brotherhood. It draws inspiration from the Gospel and aims at integral development of people irrespective of race and creed. Hence the objectives of Caritas Cambodia specifically include the following.

To promote and strengthen activities that are aimed at the integral development of communities particularly to help in Sustainable Agriculture, empowerment program, economic program, Welfare program,
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Latest News...
25 mothers and fathers of children with intellectual disability and autism gathered together on 11 September, 2015 at Caritas office to take part in an “Effective Communication” workshop. The workshop is part of capacity building program for leaders and members of the Cambodian Intellectual Disability and Autism Network (CIDAN), which was launched on 02 April 2015 and initiated by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, Disability Action Council (DAC), and 14 NGOs including Caritas Cambodia.
The session was facilitated by Hands of Hope Community who works for children and youths with intellectual/physical disability and Caritas -CCAMH.
This network is supported by the Asia Pacific Development Center for Disability (APCD). Dr. Hong Chea, Developmental Disability Service Program Manager of Caritas’s Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CCAMH) program and the president of CIDAN (representing Caritas-CCAMH) said the capacity building workshop seeks to provide participants with broader knowledge and skill on effective communication, coordination and collaboration. “This workshop mainly aims to enable them to discover their own communication abilities in order for them to raise issue of intellectual disability and advocate it broadly within their communities and nationally”, said Dr. Chea.
Intellectual disability is defined as limitations in mental functioning and in skills such as communicating, taking care of him or herself, and social skills. These limitations will cause a child to learn and develop more slowly than a typical child. Children with intellectual disabilities may take longer to learn to speak, walk, and take care of their personal needs such as dressing or eating. They are likely to have trouble learning in school. They will learn, but it will take them longer. There may be some things they cannot learn.

We know that children with intellectual disability need special support from their parents and parents also need other support of doctor, counselor, and communities as well as their government. According to draft CIDAN constitution, CIDAN is created with the aim to support and advocate for persons with Autism and Intellectual Disability and their families to exercise their legal rights and responsibilities. CIDAN ultimately seeks to contribute to the development and implementation of the strategies of the Royal government of Cambodia, and policies towards persons with Autism and Intellectual Disability.
Parents are considered the great boost to the network. To date, CIDAN has approximately 100 members representing parents and NGOs. Parent groups can serve many purposes. Em Chhorvy, 33, a mother of two children and whose 12 year-old daughter has intellectual disability was newly elected as the vice-president of CIDAN. She said as business women, earlier, she had limited knowledge on communication especially within the working place and how to communicate well with national authority. “CIDAN is a new network. There are a lot of things to learn and discover. As a leader, I need to build up my communication skill because I will need to work with people from different background, Chhorvy emphasized, adding that only capacity building program can provide us as leaders and members the ability to perform work effectively”.
A mother suggested to have a special school for children with intellectual disability
What’s particularly frustrating is hearing about how society is accepting of intellectual disability, Chhorvy said “I do wish to see my daughter and all children with intellectual disability to be able to survive by themselves and be included in the society and live with dignity”.

Most participants also emphasized the importance of the workshop that helps them to have broader understanding of the essential role of communication and ways in advocating for intellectual disability and autism in the country, while they think there is still discrimination among local population at large.

Mrs. Sek Marum, 58, a mother of 17 year-old son with Down syndrome, said this workshop will enable her to know how to explain the issues comprehensively to other people using communication skill. Mr. Mao Samang, 52, a father of four daughters, from Takmao town in Kandal province is also a member of CIDAN. His 7 year-old youngest daughter was born with Down syndrome. Like other children with Down syndrome, his daughter learns and progresses more slowly than most other children. He said communication is important. “In life, we need to know, we need information, we need to share it to other people and therefore we need to communicate.” Samnang raised.

CIDAN is the first and only group network for parents of children with intellectual disability in Cambodia. This new network is working hard over the last couple of months and has designed learning activities and action plans. This capacity building workshop is just the beginning of their journey.
Participants were practicing several role plays on how to build effective communication


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