Since 2008, Doorsteps has organized an annual Project Cycle Management training for its members. This training teaches and equips grassroots Khmer leaders to strengthen their knowledge and skills in protecting vulnerable children and adults in their community. This last December, Doorsteps held their annual event in Phnom Pehn, where 46 Alumni members came together to celebrate their accomplishments, share lessons learned and form new partnerships. The event was filled with workshops on management, various networking activities as well as graduate presentations on their current projects.
The presentations at the event highlighted Doorsteps’ training and mentorship program as playing a key role in preparing leaders to start and run programs that are impacting and empowering their communities. As one member stated, “before coming to the training, it seemed like I was working without a plan and strategy. But in the training, they taught us how to set up and prepare our projects. It is important to have consistent goals and expected outcomes for the project.” One of the 2010 PCM graduates, this momeber is working as an HR and Operations Manager with a rehabilitation organization. Another inspirational piece shared at the event was presented by a PCM graduate who runs a prevention project in his local village. This village has a high illiteracy rate and the children often play in the garbage that surrounds their community. This PCM graduate started an education centre that offers training on parenting skills, information on domestic violence, human trafficking and child rights to education to help empower his community.
Many of the graduates expressed strong appreciation for the Doorsteps training and mentorship program for being able to build up their capacity to be influential and have a positive impact in their communities. What was most exciting at the event was the ability to actually measure the change our leaders are making. This change has been documented and measured through an increase in parent knowledge about domestic violence and child trafficking. We have also seen lower dropout rates for teenagers when they continue with employment training and hold a part time job to support their studies; this allows families to stay together because children are not forced to look for employment across the borders. Lastly, we have seen how Doorsteps training has had a positive impact on gender equality and empowerment to Cambodian women. Since its launch in 2008, we have seen an increase in female participants by 50%, bringing the male to female ratio to almost equal. This event showed the major progress and accomplishments we have made together and cannot wait to see the future progress of our many leaders.
International Day of the Girl,
On Friday, October 11th, we celebrate the International Day of the Girl. On this holiday, we remember that women and girls face extreme hardships all across the world, from social and cultural stigmas that deny opportunities for education and social mobility, to violent and dehumanizing forms of abuse and exploitation. These are the realities of daily life for women and girls around the world, and they exist alongside all of the tremendously positive things that women contribute to our world: ideas, innovations, inspiration. The Day of the Girl is therefore a time for us to share the stories of women and girls and learn about how we can continue to empower the women in our global community to create a better future for all of us.
Did you know… in Cambodia, due to lack of social service infrastructure, girls and boys in rural and urban communities are highly vulnerable to abuse, trafficking and exploitation.
So how can we plan for a better issue? One way is the Doorsteps Initiative. The Chab Dai Coalition is proud to collaborate with local partners here in Cambodia on the Doorsteps Initiative, a project that positions Khmer Christian organizations to help individuals and families make the most of rising opportunities and face the challenges in their communities, such as human trafficking. This project is grounded in our training here in Cambodia; it teaches organizations how to evaluate the needs of their communities and their effectiveness in responding to these problems, and then we provide training in project design and collective implementation in the communities that they serve. We do not just train individual actors or isolated organizations. Instead, we connect local groups to develop unified standards based on Khmer values. These learning tools are important for social justice organizations to use now, and they are a crucial part of the future collaborations that we help to foster. We believe that by sharing knowledge and empowering local actors, we can ensure that social actions go beyond good intentions.
In Prek Russey Village, inside the Banteay Meanchey Province, an organization called the Freedom Stone Project is working against human trafficking and the exploitation of vulnerable children whose educations are interrupted by poverty. When children in this community turn 14 years old, they are expected to contribute to the family income; thus, children in grade 9 are at the greatest risks for dropping out of school. With the help of our Quality Improvement System (QIS) program, members of the Freedom Stone Project translated this research into community action. They established a training center to teach 13 girls and boys vocational skills like sewing and carpentry, and they used the QIS program to build a network of local officials and donors to support the center. These crafts teach students to take pride in their work, and they provide an immediate source of income for students’ families, as well as a sustainable way to continue their education. Likewise, the QIS program trains community leaders to design, execute, and learn from short-term projects as they carry out their visions of long-term, sustainable change. By providing at-risk students with real-world, marketable skills, the Freedom Stone Project helped vulnerable children to stay in school while still providing for their families and respecting their community obligations. This is exactly the type of work that we believe in – it responds to local needs, implements collective action, and empowers women and men to make long-term, sustainable changes in their communities.
As we celebrate the International Day of Girl Children, we at the Chab Dai Coalition are honored to work with local organizations and to share our commitments with a global community. The challenges that face our world are real, many, and at times overwhelming. But by working together for a greater good, we can effect change in all the ways that really matter.
Research on brain activity shows trauma significantly impacts a person's ability to think and learn. Children and young adults in shelters and other care facilities affected by trauma often find learning, remembering and making choices difficult. This is especially true when it comes to understanding emotional and social interactions with others. So when caregivers are responsible for teaching and training tramatized clients in their care it's essential they understand how their clients learn. However, too often the time pressure and heavy workload for caregivers get in the way of learning how their clients learn.
Doorsteps has recognized this need for caregivers to understand how their clients learn. Therefore, a major component of our training provides capacity building for direct caregivers to understand the complexities surrounding trauma and learning.
Last month, we facilitated a 2-day workshop called "Learning to Learn" in which 20 national caregivers from five anti-trafficking shelters came together to learn how trauma affects brain functioning - the older or primitive part of the brain takes control when it perceives danger which in turn affects the part of the brain that processes new information. This can affect clients' ability to learn new skills, make choices and remember what they've learned. Participants of the training also learned, in interactive and practical ways, different learning styles and methods that can be harmful or conducive to creating a healthy learning environment.
Following the training, one caregiver said: Before this training I didn't know that the trauma our trafficked clients have experienced affected their learning. I did not understand their difficult behavior but this course showed me why that happens. Now I feel I can help them better and will not get as discouraged when it takes a long time to see change.
Our team at Doorsteps will follow up with all of the participating caregivers on how they manage to implement their new knowledge, and due to the satisfaction of all those who participated we plan to give similar trainings on a regular basis with shelter workers, managers, and those who work in community settings such as group homes or through foster care.
Thank you for your support!
Recently, one of Doorsteps local partners working in close proximity to the Cambodian/Thai border expressed its satisfaction with our Project Cycle Management training, which they report has increased their capacity to address vulnerability of children in their border community.
Job opportunities in Cambodia can be difficult to come by, especially for communities in rural areas, and this puts families under huge financial pressure. For communities living in close proximity to Thai border, work opportunities on farms and factories across the border in Thailand provide a much needed source of income and usually better salaries than the ones in Cambodia. This daily migration of adults across the border often results in many young children being left in the care of siblings, older family members and/or the community. Without appropriate monitoring and protection mechanisms, children are often more vulnerable to abuse. Migration for work also impacts the education of children who are left to look after younger siblings and those who are old enough to join their parents at work to supplement the family’s income.
Doorstep’s training, mentoring and collaborative support with this local partner has helped to increase local community leaders' capacity and effectiveness in running their local grassroot organization focused on informal education. Their daycare center for children at risk in the border community has grown from being a small informal project into a well-organized and strategic program. As our partners move on to the next step in development, they will be piloting a small business project with the aim of creating sustainable jobs within their border community. By creating a local job market this new project has great potential in decreasing the vulnerability of their border community to abuse and trafficking and will keep families together. It's a sustainable solution, led by grassroot leaders and empowered by Doorsteps.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
To have hope, to empower leaders, to change community... takes vision. Not the vision of one leader or individual, but the collective vision of the community-at-large. Chab Dai's Doorsteps project has just finished its 3rd round of training and supporting project managers this year to protect children in communities throughout Cambodia. Through needs assessment training, leaders have greater capacity to carry out the visions in their community and create sustainable change. Rather than simply having a vision and beginning a program, Doorsteps has trained leaders to address the needs and wants of their community. Doorsteps has brought together leaders from all over Cambodia, building a strong environment for future collaboration.
This year Doorsteps has trained 67 people through Project Cycle Management. Beginning with strong potential and desire to learn, participants complete the program with ability to assess needs, analyze community capacity, and implement and monitor change. 67 leaders are now ready to carry out visions for their community. We are also continuing our own needs assessments – a weeklong road trip throughout Cambodia helped to map out the needs for future Doorsteps projects in northern regions. Together, Doorsteps is helping to change the nation, and we thank you for being a part of that change.
Be part of the change this Holiday Season by donating to Chab Dai's Doorsteps project, or by giving the gift of freedom and donating on behalf of a friend or loved one.
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