Cambodia is ranked 136 out of 187 in the UN Human Development Index, with 20 percent of the population living in poverty.
Inadequate housing is common place in Cambodia. Evictions and forcible confiscation of land are one of Cambodia’s most pervasive human rights problems. The lack of land in urban areas has resulted in an increase in urban slums, especially in Phnom Penh.
Families living in slums have little to no security of land. Despite laws being passed, implementation is a problem, and they are often widely ignored. Evicted families are offered inadequate resettlement on the outskirts of the city without access to basic services or livelihood opportunities.
Those living with HIV/AIDS are doubly disadvantaged. In Cambodia, there is a significant stigma attached to people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. Although the prevalence has decreased in Cambodia over recent years, there are still over 70,000 people known to be living with HIV/AIDS, with more than half of these being women, and over 6,000 children. Housing plays a catalytic role in turning these lives around.
Safe and decent housing provides security and stability, which is especially important for children. As part of our Building Homes, Building Positive Lives project in Phnom Penh we are working with vulnerable families and households living with or affected by HIV/AIDS to construct simple, affordable, disaster-resilient shelter and provide legal access to secure land. Our project also focuses on providing health, hygiene and livelihood training.
We are also working in Battambang with communities to access secure land tenure and build decent homes. Water and sanitation, health and hygiene, and livelihoods training are all key components of housing projects, so that families can build a brighter future free from poverty.