Rattanak, a skilled young barber and a participant in the Deaf Development Program. Photo: Richard Wainwright, Caritas Australia.


We have worked in Cambodia for decades. With your support, we are working to improve food security, agriculture, health, water and sanitation, and supporting young people and people with a disability.

Our work in Cambodia

Cambodia’s turbulent history has left a legacy that continues to cause suffering across the country. Although it has undergone rapid economic growth in recent years, Cambodians still have limited access to health care, safe drinking water and sanitation, and life expectancy is one of the lowest in the world. We work in Cambodia to help the most vulnerable to build sustainable livelihoods and to improve infrastructure, health and preparedness for natural disasters.


We have been working in Cambodia since 1979


We support three programs through 10 local partners in Cambodia


Sustainable livelihoods, protection, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and basic health

Program snapshot

Students are taught how to write in Khmer and take maths and social science classes as part of the two year course. Photo: Richard Wainwright, Caritas Australia

Deaf Development Programme (DDP)

Running since: 2017

Partner Agencies: Maryknoll   

Aims: To remove the barriers preventing deaf people in Cambodia from accessing fulfilling employment and social opportunities. The program does this by providing access to basic education services, vocational training courses, employment, business support and Khmer sign language interpreting services

Who it is for: The adult deaf community in Cambodia


  • So far, nearly 300 deaf students have enrolled in the Deaf Development Program’s educational classes across Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham and Kampot
  • Students learn Cambodian Sign Language (CSL), basic Khmer, mathematics and life skills
  • All deaf graduates are able to read and write in Khmer and can use CSL to communicate with the people around them
  • Over the past three years, 80 deaf students have graduated from the education program and have moved into paid work as barbers, tailors, beauticians, steel production workers and small business owners

Fact:  So far, the program has helped more than 1,000 deaf people

More background

Despite the devastating consequences of the Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodia has experienced rapid growth in recent decades, transitioning to peace and improving health and education dramatically. However, development has been uneven, marred by gaps in infrastructure and inequality between urban and rural areas.

Poverty: Although Cambodia’s poverty rate has fallen significantly in recent years, over 70% of Cambodians still live on less than $3 a day, with around 90% of the country’s poorest people living in rural areas.

Health remains a significant challenge for Cambodia where 1 in 3 children under the age of five suffer from stunting. Twenty percent of the population do not have access to clean water and 44% do not have access to adequate sanitation.

Education: Enrolment in primary education increased from 82% in 1997 to 97% in 2016, however, school completion rates are lower for secondary schools. Just 57% students completed secondary school in 2017, significantly below the average for lower middle-income countries. (sources...ADB, World Bank).

You can help

With your generous support, we work in Cambodia to improve access to health care, education, clean water and sanitation for the most vulnerable people. We help to provide educational and vocational training, including for young people and people living with disabilities. 

Become a regular giver

You can provide critical lifesaving aid and assistance to the communities in Cambodia devastated by earthquakes, cyclones, flooding or conflicts. Your donation means that our partners on the ground can respond quickly and efficiently when disasters strike.

Support emergencies now