After his father left the family when he was only 12 years old, Dara* quit school to find work to provide food for his mother and three siblings. With no opportunities for earning money, Dara and his family travelled to beg on the streets of Vietnam. Life in Vietnam was difficult for Dara and his family, who barely made enough to survive begging and selling lottery tickets. Living on the streets was dangerous and eventually the family was deported back to Cambodia by Vietnamese authorities. Back in Cambodia, Dara’s mother had no money for school and the family got into debt.
When Dara was 19, local authorities referred him to the Cambodian Center for the Protection of Children’s Rights (CCPCR), a partner of USAID’s Cambodia Countering Trafficking-in-Persons (CTIP) program implemented by Winrock International. CCPCR sponsored Dara to learn mechanics, providing accommodation and counselling while he studied. Dara discovered his talent for the subject, working hard and learning quickly. After one year, he completed his course and received equipment from CCPCR to start a small business.
“My life was changed through the skills training, accommodation and equipment provided by CCPCR. I never expected that my life would flourish like today. Before I had so many difficulties, my home was so old with a leaking roof and I had nothing to eat. But now I can earn money every day,” said Dara, now 23-years-old. Dara’s skills are improving, and he can now support his family and avoid re-migration, earning $5 a day. “I dream to extend my business…and I will teach my skills to other youth who face the same difficulties as me”.