In an effort to address speech and communication disorders, which affect about one in 25 people countrywide, Unicef Cambodia awarded the organization OIC: The Cambodia Project a $42,000 grant on Wednesday to provide informal speech therapy training to Cambodians.
The funds will be used in part to train 24 community volunteers in Siem Reap province’s Prasat Bakong, Sotr Nikum and Banteay Srey districts to identify symptoms of speech and swallowing disorders among children, according to Philip Nalangan, OIC’s communications manager.
The volunteers will be selected by commune councils and the provincial department of social affairs, he said.
Children with disabilities identified by the volunteers will be referred to the NGO Cabdico, which will provide the children with speech therapy also supported by the grant.
“It’s about [volunteers] knowing what the norms are in terms of normal [speech] development, and then giving them the tools to say, ‘OK, there is something you can do about it,’” said Weh Yeoh, OIC’s managing director.