Happy Football Cambodia Australia
HFCA was founded in 2005 to work with underprivileged youth in Cambodia through football. They work on a regular basis with up to 250 youth in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in the north.
Their three partner organisations in Cambodia work with young people who come from families who are living in extreme poverty, children who have been orphaned, lived on dumps or rescued from brothels or other forms of slavery. HFCA’s weekly training sessions and competitions are attended by male and female players aged 12 to 30. Most of their coaching staff are former Homeless World Cup players.
Cambodia’s seven largest urban centres are home to nearly 2,700 homeless adolescents who face numerous health and education-related obstacles (The Phnom Penh Post, 2017).
Cambodia is highly vulnerable to natural disasters, with regular monsoon flooding in the Mekong and Tonle Sap basin and localised droughts in the plains region. Climate-related hazards have a major impact on the livelihoods of Cambodians already living on the brink of poverty, and an estimated loss of just US$ 0.30 in income per person would double the country’s poverty rate (World Food Programme, 2019).
There are currently 13% of the population living below the poverty line, while 32% of children between 6-59 months are suffering from chronic malnutrition (World Food Programme, 2019).
While the poverty rate has decreased significantly in recent years (from 47.8% in 2007 to 13.5% in 2014), a a significant portion of the population remains ‘near poor’ and still at high risk of falling back into poverty at the slightest shock. Under-nutrition remains a public health concern; 32 percent of children under 5 years suffer from stunting, 24 percent are underweight.
Limited access for the poor to education and health services and low levels of investment in public infrastructure further perpetuate food insecurity and undernutrition (World Food Programme, 2019).