Title: The girls go swimming and one visits Angkor Wat
*Name has been changed. --
After more than two months of holidays, it's now time for the girls of Safe Shelter to go back to school!
According to Srey Mom*, they had a fantastic holiday: “We cooked, stayed at home to relax, and enjoyed our extra English lessons. We’ve been to the riverside many times, we had a party where we danced, we went to the amusement park and to the swimming pool every week! We played a lot of games and did some arts and crafts! That was amazing!”
Chanda* and Meymey* are facing a big change this year: they just entered university! Chanda* is studying accountancy and she really loves what she is studying, in the future, she would like to work in a bank. She really enjoys her new student life, “I have a lot of friends at university, I am the youngest of the class so they are all older than me, and I really like it!”
Meymey* is studying business and management, and is really happy at university and has many friends. She is a very busy young woman, who is now a volunteer skateboard teacher at Skateistan, 3 hours per day and five days a week, and she also teaches yoga to CWDA staff twice a week!
The younger ones are still in primary and high school. Piny*, the youngest one is in grade 3 and would like to work “in a big company with computers”, Kanha* is in grade 4 and dreams of being a cook in a restaurant or hotel. Panha*, in grade 5 says that she is too young to have plans for her future job! Sokunthea*, grade 7, is already incredibly good in English and wants to become a tour guide and translator. Sreaneath*, grade 10, wants to follow her friend Chanda* and study accountancy.
The school year starts with a lot of dreams and projects for these brave and intelligent girls!
With your support, you are helping turn these girl's dreams into a reality.
*Not their real names
The girls at the Safe Shelter have had a busy few months, but now school has broken up for the semester: it is the longest extended break of the year. The girls will be off school for two whole months. The two eldest girls Chayya and Sopheak are waiting for their high school diploma results. They have been predicted to pass with good grades and are expected to start University in October. In the meantime they are attending a vocational educational course run by CWDA. They are working on their English and computer skills and also learning how to compose a CV.
The staff at Cambodian Women’s Development Agency are working hard to ensure all of the girls have activities arranged to keep them happily occupied over their academic break. We are lucky to have a volunteer, Jenny, from England who is working with CWDA for a couple of months whilst on her university summer break. Each day she teaches the girls English, she makes the lessons very interactive; the girls are learning English songs and games as well as having art and craft sessions.
Jenny says “I really enjoying spending time with the girls, watching their confidence grow as they learn to speak English. They are all really keen to demonstrate what they have learnt, but most of all I enjoy seeing how they all help and encourage one another”.
It’s not been all work and study during the holidays, thanks to your donations the girls have been able to pick out some new clothes; they are all growing very fast and are very appreciative of being able to choose some new outfits. They have also been on a picnic to the riverside and are still enjoying their weekly yoga sessions. Pohiek has become so accomplished at yoga that she is running daily yoga sessions during her school holidays for all the CWDA staff which is helping to keep us all fit and flexible!
Sokchhouen runs the day-to-day operations of the safe-shelter and is affectionately known by the girls as ‘house mother’. She lives on site to ensure all the girls in the safe shelter have consistent full time care and support. As well as her main role as house mother, she is also a trained weaving instructor and teaches the girls weaving in their free time. Under her tutelage some of the girls have weaved scarves that are then sold for a small price in the local market.
Sokchhouen joined CWDA in 1995, and has over 20 years experience working with vulnerable young girls to increase their confidence, self-sufficiency and life-skills. She also prepares the daily meals with the girls at the shelter so that they can develop their cooking skills.
When asked what she enjoys most about her role Sokchhouen said “the organization is like a family to me, all the staff care for, and support each other, and I like to share my knowledge and experience with the girls and give them advice and make them feel calm, happy and comfortable; I think of them as daughters”
Phalla (not her real name), one of the girls at the shelter says that “Sokchhouen looks after us well, she has a lot of responsibility but she is happy and never complains about her job, even when she is up at night looking after us when we are sick”.
Thank you so much for donating to the Cambodian Women’s Development Agency. Your donation enables us to employ Sokchhouen to live at the Safe Shelter 24/7, this ensures the girls grow up in a caring, stable and loving environment.
Have you seen our new micro-project? We’re really excited that we can now raise money to send two of our girls who are in their last year of secondary school to university. This is a really important step in helping young women gain their independence, achieve their full potential and a chance of financial security in the future. The two girls want to study accountancy and management at a Phnom Penh university – something which would have been unimaginable for them had they not been able to access CWDA’s Safe Shelter. We’re so grateful to our supporters and pleased to say we’re over $2000 closer to our target of sending these two young women to further education– incredible!
If you’re considering a further donation to CWDA we’d like to encourage you to make use of the bonus matching days which Global Giving have set up – the first is today for the Global Giving US site: make donations today Weds 12th Feb from 9am and an anonymous donor will match 30% until the $75,000 runs out (so get in there early). If you’re a UK-based supporter, then there’s a whole week beginning March 3rd where 50% of your donation will be matched.
CWDA want to thank again our donors for their generous support - we've raised a total of over $10,000 since our campaign on Global Giving began.
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Khan Makara 7,