A Case Study: Post Release Student – This Life Beyond Bars

There is no juvenile justice system in Cambodia: children who come into conflict with the law are detained in adult prison and face extremely poor living conditions, lack of education opportunities and social stigma. Ratha* is one of the children who has successfully completed the This Life Beyond Bars Project (TLBB) vocational training program. The program takes a holistic approach to improving access to education for incarcerated children and children whose parents are in prison.

Ratha served two years and six months  in Siem Reap prison for a poverty related crime. During his incarceration he completed TLBB’s one year motor mechanics repair course, which aims to engage with children to think about their future. Thanks to TLBB donors and the TLBB program this child has been able to start a new and better life and now runs his own Moto repair business.

After his release from prison, TLBB worked with Ratha and his family to help him reintegrate into his community in Oddar Meanchey Province. Ratha is now using the skills he learned to earn daily income to support his family. “I’m so happy to be able to earn some money to support myself and to help my family by using these new skills”, he says. TLBB contributed an air compressor to help him get started, and with his profits Ratha plans to continue to develop his shop.

Not only did he learn a vocation, but Ratha values the social and emotional awareness he gained through participating in the program. “TLC has provided me the opportunity to learn new skills and it is important to me to use them for my new life…During my involvement in the vocational training course the subject that I was most interested in was the morality course” he said. Ratha still keeps in touch with the other students to continue the friendships formed while learning together.

*Names have been changed to protect the individuals’ identity as per TLC’s Child Protection Policy

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