Cultural and religious issues converge to add to the marginalisation of the disabled in Cambodia

Even though Cambodia has made progress in caring for people with disabilities, there is still much that can and should be done. Consistent with the demographics of the country, more than half of those with disabilities are under the age of twenty. Children with intellectual disabilities, along with their families, face significant discrimination in society, and often this is compounded by intra-famlily discrimination blocking children with disabilities from receiving the services they require.

Complexity is added to the issue of children with disabilities by religious and cultural factors in Khmer society. In particular, the Thervada Buddhist belief in karma, along with a deeply engrained social hierarchy, and widespread ignorance, shape social views and service provision. Children with disabilities come to be seen as a burden and a punishment.

In a society with so many needs, those with disabilities can be easily forgotten. There is a need for resources to commitment to care for those with disabilities, to help them find dignity and hope. Pray for families who live and love a child with disabilities in a society that fundamentally discriminates against them. Pray for work to grow in this sector to bring hope and dignity to these who are considered the least.

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