Meet the Cambodian dads raising the next generation of female-leaders

Round-the-clock contract work and full-time farm management leaves many parents in Cambodia unable to kick back and play with their kids. So local communities within Siem Reap have established Father Groups to encourage dads to take an active role in early childcare - this is how they're shaking up new paradigms of parenthood.

For most of us, playtime is interchangeable with our fondest memories of childhood. And standing on the sidelines of these memories are often our parents – reading bedtime stories in playful voices, or cheering on as they’re forced to sit through a clumsy made-up dance routine for the sixteenth time – all thoughtful actions that helped lead us down the path of learning and development. But in the developing world, poverty and time-pressures on working parents mean that play can quickly become a rare luxury – or not considered at all.

In Cambodia, 80% of workers are employed in informal contract work, with many managing their own small hold farms for food, meaning parents are unable to dedicate their time to play. In fact, national statistics show that only 5% of Cambodian children receive early stimulation from parents and caregivers, and are more likely to be asked to help out on the farm than engage in play time.

And with only 52% of children in Siem Reap having access to preschool education between 2017-2018, the integral role parents play in allocating time for play is clear. So one initiative is hoping to change the paradigm – by getting dads on board.

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