Dear friends of WRC, We're very excited about the upcoming International Women's Day celebrations. We have a lot planned! We are so happy with the progress Cambodia has made these past couple of years and we are especially proud of the accomplishments of our previous workshop participants. Our post-workshop testing and follow up sessions have shown that our workshop participants are indeed practicing and sharing their newly acquired knowledge with their community. For example, our previous Women's Health Workshop participants reported sharing their knowledge about ensuring safe and healthy pregnancies — a long-term sustainable method of decreasing the current rate of 1 in 200 women at risk of dying during childbirth. Speaking of our Women's Health Workshops, I would like to share with you the story of one woman, in particular, that caught our eyes. Srey Meas attended the second group for the Women's Health Workshop last year. She was just 15 years old at the time and was already married. She didn't know how to take care of her health. When she became pregnant, she never went to see a doctor. After the third workshop session, she went to see a doctor, began taking iron supplements for her pregnancy and had a tetanus shot. By the end of the eight workshop sessions, she started seeing the doctor regularly. She knew to how to better look after herself and to check for danger signs during her pregnancy. Srey Meas confidence increased and she began talking with her husband about family planning. Her son is now two-months old and her and her husband have decided to try for another child when Srey Meas turn 25.
We are so happy to have been able to support Srey Meas and we know she and her son will have a better life as a result. Of course, on International Women's Day next Tuesday, we will not only be celebrating our participants' achievements, but we will also be advocating for gender equality. Gender is a new word for us in Cambodia and so our free event will have a strong focus on what is gender and what does it mean for Cambodia. First you have to help people identify the situation and then help them solve it.
You can help us with our advocacy and informal education work by donating during the International Women's Day celebrations. GlobalGiving UK will be matching any donations to WRC by 50% (from 2pm GMT on 7 March - 2pm GMT 14 March). UK supporters will need to add Gift Aid on top of their donation for WRC to receive the bonus support.
Please give generously and help us continue our work throughout 2016.
As always, thank you for supporting WRC and enabling the team to support other women and girls in Cambodia. Slowly but surely, we are making progress and making an impact on women and girls' lives in Cambodia. And your support really goes a long way in helping us achieve a stronger impact.
Stay tuned for updates on our International Women's Day activities on Facebook.
Pisey KhimManaging DirectorWomen's Resource Center, Cambodia
We're super excited to announce the release of our latest video, which celebrates our 5th anniversary – in other words, five years of working hard to empower women and advocate for women's rights in Cambodia.
The video shows just how much WRC has changed the lives of two of our previous counseling clients and one of our previous Parenting workshop participants. It also shows just how important the organization is to our team.
We believe we have found a long-term, preventative method of self-empowerment. We believe our work creates community mobilization and collaboration, and requires women and men; girls and boys to actively change the social norms that perpetuate gender inequality.
The video took six months to make but it was so worth it. First, we lost all our translations when our external hard drive broke. Turns out the regular power cuts during the hottest months of the Cambodian year fried the inside of the hard drive so that we couldn't read anything off it. Then we lost the next lot of translations when one of our computers broke down. All this was a big IT learning curve for the team.
With the perseverance of our wonderful director, Steffi Eckelmann, we finally got a finished product uploaded to Youtube. The first time we watched the video, we cried. So often we can become too focused on the projects of the future, that we don't realize the amazing accomplishments of our past.
We are so happy to have been blessed with the opportunity to touch the lives of our fellow community members. And this blessing is thanks to you. Your support has been truly invaluable and we couldn't have graduated 1,000 workshop participants without you!!
Turning five years old makes us feel established and wise, but we still have a lot of growing to do. In 2016, we are expanding our work to include village workshops as part of our outreach program. That way we can directly tackle the current culture of silence and stigma around education for women and girls by directly advocating for women’s rights and gender equality in the community.
Too often women cannot attend our in-center workshops because they can’t find anyone to look after their children. By maximizing her ability to gain knowledge, we’re maximizing her potential to be self-empowered. Plus these village workshops offer the chance for men to also participant and understand their role in bringing about gender equality in the community. They are an effective, holistic approach to breaking down existing myths and inappropriate social norms.
We have a microproject on Global Giving, specifically taking donations for this outreach project in case you’re interested.
Please share our video with your friends and family, and feel proud knowing that you helped change the lives of the people in the video.
As Pisey says in the video, “When we empower women; it’s not just for one day; it’s for her whole life!” That’s why we will continue our work.
Thank you again for your support!!
What is it really like to be a Cambodian woman affected by violence and why should we eliminate violence against her?
As part of our #16days of activism for the elimination of violence against women in Cambodia, we're asking our community to address these two very important questions.
For many people in Cambodia, women and men should be equal. However, practicing equality is not so easy and Cambodian women still have many hurdles to jump. According to research from the UN and UNICEF:
So from the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women until the International Day of Human Rights (25 November - 10 December), we're advocating for women's rights and for an end to violence against women in Cambodia.
Everyday we are doing something different. Our activities range from facilitating free workshops for Commune Chiefs, Village Chiefs and local businesses about domestic violence and alcohol abuse, to visiting high schools and universities, to parading through the streets on Siem Reap in orange.
We also asked photographers from all around Cambodia to submit an image that portrayed violence against women is never OK. We're displaying the finalists' photographs in the center of town and asking the general public to vote for the most impacting image.
The idea behind the competition and exhibition is further encourage a much-needed conversation about violence against women in Cambodia. We don't want women to be seen as victims – we want people to understand the reasons for violence and its subsequent impact on women, children and the community.
We believe that when both women and men, girls and boys, come together to support each other, Cambodia will break the cycle of violence. When gender stereotypes are dissolved and girls can finish schools and boys can help with the housework, Cambodia will break the cycle of violence. When parents are empowered with knowledge about health, financial literacy and non-violent practices of discipline, Cambodia will break the cycle of violence.
We're half way through our campaign and already we are so impressed by the response and support we have received. With the right information and tools, and the full participation of our community, we know in our hearts that we are making a brighter future for women and girls in Cambodia.
If you would like to follow our campaign’s progress, visit our Facebook page.
Please support us as we continue to empower and fight for the rights of women and girls in Cambodia.