- Phnom Penh
An estimated one in 25 Cambodian people, or 600,000 people, require speech therapy. Yet, there is not one single university trained Cambodian speech therapist. There is no government policy to implement this, and minimal community awareness. Without speech therapy, this population faces an exacerbation of poverty, limited social inclusion and hindered education.
Speech therapy aims to treat people with communication and swallowing disabilities. Children with communication disabilities, such as those with cerebral palsy, autism or Down Syndrome, often cannot speak (clearly or at all) or process communication.
Swallowing disabilities, often as a result of brain damage, result in higher risk of developing pneumonia as food and liquid enters the stomach instead of the lungs. Ultimately, this can result in death.
Established in 2013 by Australian Weh Yeoh, OIC Cambodia is the only non-profit organisation in Cambodia that is developing speech therapy as a profession with the Cambodian government – and then aiming to exit. The organisation will exit Cambodia once it reaches its end goal – to see 100 speech therapists graduated by 2030.