Salvation Centre Cambodia (SCC) began in 1994 with the initial aim of encouraging Buddhist monks to reduce the stigma associated with HIV by educating their communities on HIV/AIDS, in particular on its causes, its effects and on possible prevention measures.
At the same time, the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Cambodia spread increasingly up to an all-time high prevalence rate of 2.4 percent in 1998. But a joint effort of international aid organizations, NGOs and national authorities led to a decline to about 0.7 percent in 2013. Contributing its faith-based development approach to this 'national answer', SCC has been a proud partner in Cambodia's success.
However, many challenges remain regarding the negative effects HIV/AIDS has to Cambodian society, in particular to the poorest sectors of society who are the most vulnerable to the epidemic and face the most severe consequences: A dramatic increase of households without income earners; the challenge for already poor households to cope with the disease; the pressure on children to abandon their education and on women to turn to prostitution; children in trouble often face difficulties in accessing adequate nutrition, basic health care, housing and clothing.
These are just some of the many challenges Cambodia has to deal with in order to prevent a second wave of the HIV/AIDS epidemic that is continuously spreading among high risk groups like drug users, men having sex with men or entertainment workers and their clients.
Thus, SCCs prevention efforts nowadays focus on these most-at-risk-populations, however HIV/AIDS education to the general population remains a vital component to keep the risk of infection for the majority of the Cambodian people on a low level.
Besides prevention mechanisms, SCC has been implementing a comprehensive care and livelihood program to enable people living with HIV and the poorest of the poor a life in dignity and freedom. As they face both social and economical exclusion, we are committed to strengthen their rights and to eliminate all forms of stigma and discrimination, whether they are caused by insufficient knowledge about HIV/AIDS or by gender stereotypes.
Furthermore, we steadily develop our basic education program as a supplementary offer to children who access the public schools and to meet the needs of children who are excluded from public education due to economic or social reasons.
SCC has made an impressive and hard-fought transition from a small local organization to a well-staffed national resource, capable of changing lives for the better.