Mother’s Day is May 12! Did you know you can sponsor a workshop for Cambodian women in Mom’s honor? We think it’s a really cool gift. When you donate to Women’s Resource Center, Mom will receive a personalized card from you via mail or email AND loads of warm fuzzies for making a real difference in the lives of Cambodian mothers, both present and future.
- Your gift of $30 buys a health workshop session for 8 teenage girls…. Because mom taught you so much about your body and how to care for it.
- Your gift of $60 buys a parenting workshop session for 16 moms…. Because every mom should have the chance to be as great as she is.
What’s more, if you make a gift in honor of Mom before May 13, WRC will get a $5 bonus (up to $8000) from GlobalGiving on top of your generous donation!
Thanks to all the moms out there, and thanks, as always, to you for being a kind friend to Women’s Resource Center,
Sally, Pisey, Sophal and Rathna – Team WRC.
This year, thanks to your support, we kicked off a new workshop on Family Law and Domestic Violence to make sure women here know their rights, how to protect them, and how to navigate the murky processes it sometimes takes to do it. We just completed our first sessions, and we wanted to drop you a note to tell you how it went and thank you for making programs like this possible.
Here’s an interview with Sophal Ken, the workshop’s facilitator, to tell you a bit about the program and how the first sessions went. Sophal comes to WRC with a law degree from the Royal University of Phnom Penh and crafted the curriculum for this course especially for WRC.
This interview has been translated from Khmer, the native language of Cambodia.
WRC: What are the goals of the course?
Sophal: We want participants to understand the importance of civil status (birth, marriage, and death registration), divorce rights, property rights, and especially the complicated procedures involved.
Also, regarding domestic violence, it’s really important for women to know healthy and unhealthy signs in a relationship and especially how domestic violence impacts not only the victim, but the family, children and the community.
WRC: What are your students like?
Sophal: My participants are of varying education and backgrounds. They work in different jobs, from teachers to NGO workers, aged from 22-35 years old. [This is beneficial because] we are not only sharing legal facts with them. We also want them to share their experiences and learn from each other. In their pre-tests, I found that most of them knew very little about the topics covered before the workshop.
WRC: Were you pleased with the outcome? Was there anything that surprised you?
Sophal: The most surprising thing for me in this group was how much they improved their knowledge. I play a “hot potato” game at the end of the workshop to test their knowledge. They all could answer every question correctly! I conducted a formal post-test, as well, and saw an average score of 90 percent.
Also, one particular woman shared with me that she felt a new understanding about her relationship. She said she didn’t recognize before what an unhealthy relationship or emotional abuse are. “I learned a lot from the workshop,” she said.
Again, thank you for all that you do to support Women's Resource Center and make sure that we can continue our mission to inform and empower the women of Cambodia.
Hello and I hope you and your family are having a lovely holiday season! Thank you so much for your kind support of Women's Resource Center this year. We hope to be able to continue and expand our work in 2013 with your continued support. If you are able to make a year-end contribution, we hope you’ll consider giving to WRC. Regardless, though, please know that your contribution this year made a huge difference to this woman’s children, and I think you’ll be surprised about how.
The holidays often inspire visions of children laughing and playing. As you know, Christmas is not celebrated in predominantly Buddhist Cambodia, but did you know that children here often are discouraged from play?
This is a photo of Dara, one of our parenting workshop students. She has two children. Because of you, she learned this year that it’s normal and good for her children to play, and that she should not punish them for it. This may sound unbelievable, but Dara was just five years old when the Khmer Rouge genocide struck Cambodia. Families were put in work camps and starved. Children worked the fields from dawn until dusk. Teachers and anyone with education were killed. You can begin to imagine, then, why her mother didn’t teach her that children must play to learn and develop. Although we don't know Dara's family's whole story, one can only assume that their sole priority was survival.
Dara’s attitude is the rule and not the exception here in Cambodia. This is a sad fact, but I’m writing today to tell you that Dara has a new attitude toward child’s play. After completing her 8-week parenting workshop, she told us that the most surprising thing she learned in it was to encourage her children to play, and to invest in affordable toys they can use to learn and develop. We know that this change will trickle down to impact her children, her children’s children, and so on.
As you watch the children in your life playing with their new toys and other gifts they received this holiday season, I hope you’ll think of Dara’s children, too, and the extraordinary gift you gave them this year.
Happy New Year to you and your family, and thank you so much for your generosity this year. With your help, we are looking forward to changing many more lives in 2013!
Hello and happy holidays! I have great news to share with you: In an act of extraordinary holiday cheer, an anonymous donor has offered to match recurring gifts to Women’s Resource Center’s project for rest of this month! This means that when you commit to give monthly to WRC right now, your first gift doubles to help girls like Sreysor, pictured here.
Although her life in Cambodia afforded her only an 8th grade education, thanks to your kind help, 16-year-old Sreysor just completed WRC’s two-month women’s health course. Here’s what she told us afterward: “I think it’s very important that I understand now that when I get married, I can make a decision not to have a baby if we can’t afford it yet.”
Sreysor is spreading the word, too: “After 7 sessions of WRC’s health education workshop, I visited home and shared this information with my sister and with my neighbor, who has many children because she didn’t know about family planning. After sharing this, I saw her again later. She said, ‘Now I use a [birth control] method that my husband doesn’t know about because if he knew, he wouldn’t allow me to use it.’”
With your help, we’re not only reaching the girls in our classes – through them, we’re educating and empowering entire communities of women.
Your monthly gift to WRC helps ensure that we can continue our fight to empower Cambodian girls through health education they simply can’t get anywhere else.
Please act now so we don’t miss out on this excellent matching gift opportunity!
Monthly commitments up to $100 will be matched, but only if enough people sign on to activate this time-sensitive offer. A gift in any amount truly does make a difference:
For more information about the offer, please visit the GlobalGiving website. Thank you so much for your continued support of Women’s Resource Center Cambodia. Your generosity is changing women’s lives every day.
Yesterday evening, as I was wrapping up for the day, our health facilitator came into my office to discuss a young Cambodian woman who had called her for help.
She was nearly three months pregnant. Her boyfriend left, and she’s scheduled to visit her mother next week. Due to a legitimate fear of being shunned for life by her own family, she felt she had no choice but to end the pregnancy, and fast – before seeing her mother. Rather than referring her to a doctor, this woman’s pharmacist sold her a sketchy mix of pills and enemas to end her pregnancy. (Safe abortions are available in Cambodia, but not so widely available as misinformation and druggists looking to make a buck.) Last night, our staff worked to get in touch with this woman – who never had the benefit of sex education – with the vital information she needs to ensure this decision doesn’t cost her life.
I’m devastated that another young woman may lose her life today to fear and misinformation. But at the same time, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that we’ve come so far. A year ago, we had no health facilitator. Today, because of all the support you’ve given us, this woman has someone to turn to for emotional support and information that – hopefully – will save her life. We may not celebrate Thanksgiving in Cambodia, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t thankful. Truly, we wouldn’t be where we are today, helping women like this every week, without for generous friends like you.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Sally DouglasAdvisor Women's Resource Center, Siem Reap, Cambodia
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