There is much exciting news from the last quarter regarding our programs in Cambodia! First of all, the Lotus House is at full occupation. The Lotus House is a safe house for young women who have been subjected to violence or exploitation. With a focus on restoration and reintegration, Lotus House primarily receives referrals from NGOs or relevant bodies after a woman has received initial crisis services, such as legal support and health checks. We are so happy to be able to help the most women to our capacity at the time being.
A second Lotus Kids' Club has opened in October. We serve an additional 25 families with this second location, now helping a total of 68 families (with the first LKC). Our early-intervention on human trafficking and education program has grown considerably since 2010 and includes a Pre-School Program, a Sponsorship Program, a Family Program and a Community Drop-In Program. We also underwent a Monitor & Evaluation with This Life Cambodia to evaluate the program and also identify areas in which we are succeeding and areas we still need to improve upon.
The evaluation findings are here: The cross-cultural component of the LKC program, which involves bringing together Vietnamese and Khmer children and their families to learn and socialize, has proven highly successful. Although this aspect of the program has created some challenges for staff, it has also been one of the most rewarding aspects of the program, with most LKC staff and parents praising this component of the program for creating more harmony and solidarity in the community. Furthermore, the Pre-School Program appears to be very successful in terms of preparing children for entry to primary school, and providing nutritional supplements and health care. The Sponsorship Program, on the other hand, while successfully providing opportunities for Pre-School Program children to continue their schooling, has been shown to require extra resources and support for children and their families to ensure children can stay at school. The Family Program was reported to be very successful in terms of education sessions being useful for participants, and all families appreciating the 16kg of rice provided monthly, however, all parents reported they would continue to attend education sessions even if they weren't receiving rice. The Community Drop-In Program whilst successfully providing recreational activities for up to 50 children four times a week, does however, have many issues that require addressing in order for this component of the program to be delivered successfully for program beneficiaries. It is recommended that Senhoa and LKC should spend a considerable amount of time and energy focused on clarifying the purpose of this aspect of LKC, to ensure the best possible outcomes for children attending this program. Finally, in terms of program beneficiaries, this evaluation has highlighted how important health care checks have been in determining health issues and prevention, with more than 2/3 of children showing dental decay issues, and 1/3 requiring vision re-testing. Ensuring health check processes are consistent and tailored to the needs of program beneficiaries would however improve the outcomes for children.
Our third field program, the Jewelry/Life Skills Program, is a holistic rehabilitation program that prepares survivors of human trafficking and other marginalized women for reintegration. We offer two components of training: Jewelry Vocational Training and Life-Skills Training. This program is now moving forward to become a social enterprise. We have partnered with Siem Reap hotelier Shinta Mani to staff 15 full-time artisans (who will also receive health and paid holidays benefits) to create beatiful jewelry for the Senhoa LLC line, co-brands, and the Our Own Hands line (orginal pieces designed by the artisans themselves as opposed to our Creative Director or collaborators). We are very excited as we take on this new project. We are so happy to be able to provide full-time employment for all of the trainees and artisans in our program (the trainees will graduate from their program to become artisans and/or supervisors in December 2013). We look forward to further building the jewelry program so that we can continue to provide employment and benefits, education and scholarships to private school for the girls in the program.
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