Senhoa Foundation

Supporting vulnerable persons and survivors of human trafficking by providing income-generating opportunities, social reintegration, and programs for self-empowerment. We believe in: - Income generation so that vulnerable women can gain economic independence. - Educational and social programs for intellectual empowerment. - Using business sensibilities to achieve humanitarian goals.
Jul 10, 2015

More Than a Job

Sinoun with our artisan students
Sinoun with our artisan students

The Senhoa Jewelry Social Enterprise strives to support its artisans beyond stable employment. With the help of our Education Supervisor, Sinoun, our artisans are also able to focus on personal development and basic education.

Most recently, Sinoun facilitated a goal-setting workshop with the artisans.  She wanted the artisans to set clear goals for both their work and personal lives. “Without goals, you’re only maintaining a life, a life with no direction,” said Sinoun. By setting goals for both their professional development and personal development, the artisans learn to take initiative. “They can come into work and be told what to do and go home. Or, they can come into work and understand that there is room to grow and excel within this social enterprise.” These goals were set with a detailed action plan to achieve within a certain time frame. They also discussed how to determine what goals are realistic within different constraints such as time.

To empower at Senhoa means to provide a supportive environment where an artisan is motivated to learn, make mistakes, and reach their goals – no matter how small or big. “There was one artisan who stood out from the others for me in this activity,” shared Sinoun. “Her goal was to completely learn the newest jewelry collection arriving the following week. For her action steps, she had in place that she would review her own pieces first before the quality check by her supervisor. She wants to take responsibility for her pieces and make sure it’s done well before receiving feedback from the leader. She’s learning to recognize her own mistakes and this way she can learn even faster than having someone else critique her.”

With each step taken to reach their goals, these artisans take more and more ownership of their lives towards whatever direction they desire.

Jun 16, 2015

Special Child, Special Teachers

Our Senior Teacher, Chenda, with the children
Our Senior Teacher, Chenda, with the children

Special Child, Special Teachers

I would like to give praise to the teachers of the Pre-school Program at LKC 1. 

Two of the three teachers have been with us for almost four years and the third teacher was promoted from the cook/cleaner position.  The two longest-serving teachers do not have any university training in child development or early childhood education.  They have been learning from me over the years, as this is my area of expertise.   They have also attended workshops and trainings. 

To see how quickly the teachers have learned and implemented these foreign concepts of working with young children has been amazing.  We operate with a play-based curriculum and encourage child-directed play.  This philosophy of working with children is even questioned in the West, in the USA.  In Cambodia this approach to early childhood education is relatively new.  In some ways it goes against traditional Cambodian cultural practices and thoughts about children.  However, a wealth of research supports this as an effective way to help children in being ready to learn upon entering school. 

Albeit hesitantly, the teachers began using this method of working with the young children and after a few months they began to see positive behaviorial change in the children.  The children were more cooperative, had better self-control, and were gaining confidence in their abilities.   The teachers then began to fully embrace the methods.  They have since sourced their own materials and designed their own activities that support the children’s play and learning.   The teachers encourage whole heartedly the children to direct their own play.  The teachers have been able to discipline the children firmly but with compassion and understanding.  This is done in a way that doesn’t punish or shame the child but teaches so the children learn and practice appropriate behavior. 

All that is stated above is in itself amazing and commendable.  However the teachers deserve even more praise and admiration for their work in the last school year.  At the beginning of the school year we were approached by an NGO that works with children with various disabilities.  They wanted us to consider accepting a child with down-syndrome into our pre-school program.   I was reluctant to do so.  I myself had not much experience working with children with down-syndrome.  The children in the preschool program were living in dire poverty.  Some suffered from abuse or neglect, some lived in single-parent homes, and many lacked adequate food and shelter.   So the teachers already were dealing with many challenges.  I thought perhaps it was unfair and nonproductive to overwhelm them with a special needs child when they have not had experience working with any previously.

After some research regarding how to work with a child with d-s and several discussions weighing the pros and cons, we decided to accept the child into our program.  He is a lovely child who is a bit chronologically older than the other children and had never experienced a pre-school setting.  Of course he did prove to be challenging at first.  It took a lot of hard work and caring by the teachers, but after some time the child along with the other children was able to sit for circle time, sing songs and listen to story books being read.  He eventually participated in the arts and craft activities and made friends with his classmates.  The teachers never complained but would ask for information and guidance when they were challenged by his behavior. 

I get choked up while writing this because clearly this child won the hearts of the teachers.  The teachers stepped up to the challenge, quelled my fears and exceeded my expectations.  The parents were so happy to see their child having fun and making friends.  What a wonderful learning experience for him.  It was as well a great learning experience for the teachers, his classmates and indeed me. 

I can’t thank these special teachers enough.  They are truly amazing.

Apr 10, 2015

2013 Impact Report and Letter from the Executive Director

Our 2013 Impact Report is now available, and we would like to share it with you as well as this letter from our Executive Director, Lisa TD Nguyen:

Thanks to increased funding by our coporate partner, Normerica, Inc., and its inspirational CEO, Mr. John Kimmel, we doubled service users in our early intervention program in 2013. A playground was added to our Lotus Kids' Club by the team at Solera, Inc., for the children to further build their motor skills. To prepare for the opening of a second LKC, we underwent monitoring and evaluation of our program model by partner agency This Life Cambodia.

2013 also saw the Senhoa jewelry program continuing to blossom. Senhoa jewelry graced the stages of Freedom and Fashion and Orange County Fashion Week. We ended the year with Senhoa jewelry receiving the prestigious SOURCE Award at the House of Lords in London conferred by the Ethical Fashion Forum, a global award for sustainable and ethical fashion.

At Headquarters, 2013 was also a transformative year. We tightened our reporting and financial policies and procedures. TDL International Law Firm came on board as Senhoa's corporate counsel, and Harper & Harper Tax and Accounting Services was engaged to manage our bookkeeping. With the support of these two valuable partners, our goal at Senhoa Foundation is complete transparency and meticulous management of our supporters' donations.

The hard work of our staff, volunteers and donors was rewarded when the Girl Effect selected Senhoa as one of twelve fantastic girl-centered projects to support. Of the twelve organizations, Senhoa was chosen as one of three to receive the Crystal of Hope award and a share of the €100,000 endowment. This was presented in Vienna, Austria on May 25, 2013 at the Life Ball. The lavish ceremony took place in front of 40,000 people and was broadcasted live on television in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, as well as live-streamed on the Internet. I had the privilege of representing Senhoa Foundation to accept the award, which was presented by Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank and before notable guests such as Bill Clinton, Elton John, Fergie and Aishwarya Rai.

There were some amazing accolades in 2013, and we are humbled by the recognition. However, the challenges have also been the greatest that we have faced so far in the organization. I want to personaly take this opportunity to thank the people who have stood behind this organization and its mission during its highs and especially during its lows. I am grateful and indebted for your friendship and loyalty.


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