TASK – a Khmer acronym which translates as ‘supporting the health and development of the poor’ – serves the practical and spiritual needs of a wide range of the most impoverished peoples of Phnom Penh (notably the Mean Chey district) and surrounding parts of Cambodia.
TASK’s vision is to see impoverished lives transformed by the love of Christ, and empowered through training to improve health, education and living conditions, and to forge stronger community relationships.
The Bassac river, Phnom Penh
Mean Chey district is located in the southern urban area of Phnom Penh. The low-lying land is divided in two parts by Bassac River. Many inhabitants of makeshift homes along the river bank live with very low hygiene levels, relying on polluted water and inadequate food and medicine.
Mean Chey has a population of 254,926 (census in 2008). The majority are Khmer, with some Vietnamese and Charm (Islamic) people, all speaking their own languages.
This is an area of grinding urban poverty. Most are unemployed rural migrants, now working as casual or itinerant labourers in the city or attempting to do small business (selling small quantities of fruit, vegetables), catching fish in local water courses, working in garment factories or as motorbike taxi drivers.
Many children cannot go to school because they are required to work, either collecting recycling material or caring for younger siblings while their parents work.
TASK’s key projects are as follows:-
The Little Conquerors. TLC cares for 140+ children in Mean Chey area who are disabled by cerebral palsy, epilepsy or polio, or are deaf-blind-dumb. TLC’s teams of physiotherapists hold community clinics, train mothers to take their children through tailored exercise regimes, and provide specialist equipment. Where appropriate or possible, children are placed in special schools where they receive education and further care.
HIV/AIDS Education. Using a behaviour change approach to reach out to the community, and peer educators to spread the message.
TB & AIDS Home Care. Medical staff run clinics and home visits, supported by a network of community workers who are trained in counselling. Of around 400 patients, nearly 100 are now receiving ARV, and 15 more start each month.
Project HALO. Hope, Assistance & Love for Orphans. Assisting relatives and foster families to care for hundreds of children who have lost parents to AIDS.
Nutrition. Half of all children in Cambodia are malnourished. TASK offers treatment for the most severely malnourished under-5’s in Mean Chey. Community clinics are held once per week, followed up by home visits. Community workers locate children and carry out health and nutrition education.
Women’s Health. Lack of access to reproductive healthcare is key to keeping families poor, ill and in danger of early death. Alongside traditional midwives, community clinics provide check-ups, treatment, education and family planning. A clinic for female sex workers also offers help to break free from the brothels.
Sanitation. Poor sanitation and lack of clean water are contributory factors to ill health and poverty in Cambodia. TASK works with communities and schools to build toilets and wells.
Of these many projects, WorldShare’s primary focus in partnership with TASK is currently with The Little Conquerors and Nutrition programmes.
With work also extending in recent years to identify and rehabilitate drug addicts, many of whom are only teenagers, TASK’s comprehensive programmes are reaching the very neediest communities of Phnom Penh.
Many areas of TASK’s work is carried out in conjunction with local churches, with pastors very much involved in training to handle and address the pressing practical and spiritual needs encountered in the communities.
WorldShare has been in partnership with TASK - a project of Servants for Asia’s Urban Poor that is now under Cambodian leadership – since 2004.
(Click on the links to see details of the projects of this ministry partner)
260006 Rehabilitation for Children with Disability
G1005 - Clean Water & Sanitation (opens our Gift of Hope site in new window) NEW
G1028 - Therapy for Disabled Child (Gift of Hope)
G1032 - Food for New Mother (Gift of Hope)