Participatory. Creative. Empowering. These are just several words that describe Voice’s innovative approach to homelessness. By giving a voice to disempowered people Voice seeks to engage marginalized people in reshaping and rebuilding their own life.
Voice is a humanitarian organization with offices in Australia and Cambodia, and is involved in various projects supporting those in need. People who come to Voice are often homeless, hungry, sick, desperate and in need for help. In the short term Voice provides emergency assistance, and in the long term the team of Voice focuses on helping people to find sustainable solutions through income/employment opportunities, debt management options and other livelihood opportunities.
At the moment Voice has three projects in Cambodia. From Crisis to Independence Project provides people in crisis with access to emergency support and helps to find a sustainable way for them to regain social and financial independence. Reducing the Impact of Sickness on Kids Project seeks to reduce negative social and economic impact of sickness and disability on families. Children’s’ Communities Cambodia Project supports children who are vulnerable to exploitation work.
The distinguishing feature of Voice as an organization is attention and carefulness. Voice listens to people and tries to understand their situation, thereby dedicating the time to every particular case.
The example of Borey illustrates the approach and means Voice used to help a woman facing discrimination and poverty.
“My name is Borey. I am 9 months pregnant and I am due to give birth to my third child any day now. My landlord kicked us out of our house because he was scared my baby or I would die during birth in his house and he would then have a ghost in his house (which means no-one would rent it again). My children and I are now homeless and sleeping next to our rubbish cart. I am finding it hard to work because I’m so pregnant. No one will rent me a house because they are also worried about ghosts.”
Borey came with her family to one of Voice’s community crisis centers when she had nowhere else to go. Voice assisted Borey to get approval from local authorities and the maternity hospital to have her baby at the hospital and helped her to find a new apartment to rent, reassuring the landlord that she would have her baby in hospital. Voice paid the hospital fees for the birth and has assisted Borey to find employment. Voice’s support meant Borey could keep her baby despite being offered numerous times to sell her baby.