The following is a postcard from Charissa Murphy, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative in Southeast Asia, about her recent visit to the Women's Resource Center in Cambodia.
Do you ever feel controlled or restricted because of your sex, age, education level, or income level? In Cambodia, just as everywhere else in the world, gender roles and societal expectations play a major role. In Cambodia, though, the differences mean that women are beaten down and/or left behind both literally and figuratively. For women, their role entails less access to education, a 1 in 4 chance to be a victim of domestic violence, and earning less income than men while often solely caring for not only her own children, but also extended family and living parents.
While visiting the Women's Resource Center (WRC) in Siem Reap, Cambodia, I met the staff members who are incredibly passionate about empowering women to make informed and healthier life decisions through life skill educational workshops and individual counseling. During my visit, I had the opportunity to observe some of the reason that the small staff is increasingly more and more qualified to provide support to women in Cambodia: staff capacity-building. The local staff of four was engaged in a capacity building workshop on gender roles led by a social worker from Australia, Kate, who volunteered her time with WRC for two months and shared knowledge to help build the skills and perspectives of the staff. This time that the staff dedicates to improving their technical and emotional intelligence is going to amplify the support they can provide as they reach more and more women and create stronger systems to support the women in setting and implementing healthier life goals.
When asking the staff what they thought about the workshop, they found learning about gender roles in other countries very interesting. They want to incorporate similar content into their own current workshops.
Can you imagine what it would be like to only follow a society-assigned role because you are not aware that other roles exist and you can be whoever you want to be? Knowing the resources and options available is exactly what the WRC team wants to share. Currently, WRC provides free workshop series in Health, Legal Aid, Financial Literacy/planning, and Parenting throughout the year. It also holds workshops for youth at local schools and organizations in the area.
Additionally, I had the pleasure of volunteering with WRC for a month, working with the staff and another volunteer on a strategic plan and vision. Honestly, it was difficult to leave! The plans the local staff established are captivating, and I will surely stay connected with WRC as it continues to affect positive change in more families throughout Cambodia, helping to diffuse the gender role inequalities and strengthen the resources and opportunities available for women, children, and men alike to make healthier life decisions for themselves, for their families, and for Cambodia as a whole.
Thank you all for your support of WRC. Without generous donors like you, WRC wouldn’t be able to provide as much assistance to the women who so desperately need it in Cambodia.
Upcoming Event on GlobalGiving - TODAY, this Wednesday, July 16th, is a Bonus matching day!:
Today, July 16th (Wednesday), beginning at 9AM EDT, GlobalGiving will match 40% of any donations (of up to $1,000 from any individual donor) to WRC. There are $130,000 in total funds available for matching that day for all of GlobalGiving’s partners. To ensure your donation is matched before the funds run out, please consider donating earlier today shortly after 9AM.
I want to thank WRC for allowing me to visit! I look forward to following WRC as it reaches more women and builds a network well-informed people making healthier life decisions.
Mork identifies as an ophan. She grew up with her mother and father until her father died when Mork was 13. Mork doesn’t get along with her stepfather so she went to live with cousins in Siem Reap city.
Mork had her first child when she was only 16 but the baby died very young. When she was 23, Mork adopted her brother’s young daughter, who he had with his first wife. Her brother didn’t want to raise his daughter with his new wife after he got remarried.
At the beginning, Mork struggled to take care of the young girl, who was only 14 months old when she was adopted. When the child got sick, Mork would lie awake with worry. She also found it very hard to discipline her new daughter, who often didn’t listen and didn’t want to study in school as she got older.
At WOMEN’S RESOURCE CENTER, Mork learned how to educate and discipline the child. She learned that there are ways to discipline without hitting. She also learned about family law, domestic violence, and gender rights, and how to tell a healthy relationship from an unhealthy relationship.
Mork says WRC helped her to be a better parent. When she is angry, she now speaks with the child and finds ways to solve problems without using violence. By teaching the child how to be peaceful, the child will know good ways to discipline her own children one day.
This Mother's Day, support a mother in Cambodia, like Mork, a chance to learn and grow, in honor of your Mom.
Women's Resource Center : Women helping women
Growing up, Ny lived with her adoptive mother and her adoptive mother’s daughter. She has no recollection of her birth mother. She grew up very poor because her adoptive mother is a widow who struggled to support the family. Although there was little money, Ny felt loved and supported by her adoptive mother, who pushed her to study and get an education. Despite this, Ny cannot read and write well since she stayed in school only until grade 3.
A mother to seven children ages 7 to 20, Ny had her first child when she was only 16. She had six more children with her second and current husband. Unfortunately, both of Ny’s husbands have been violent. Ny once left her current husband but since she had no home or work she became a beggar. She went back to her husband because it was the only way for her to support her family.
When Ny gave birth to her first child she didn’t know what to do when the baby cried. She didn’t know how to hold, carry or bathe the baby. She was especially worried about having food for the baby since she had little money and wasn’t always able to work.
At WOMEN’S RESOUCE CENTER, Ny learned about family planning and how to take care of her children. She learned about how a woman’s body changes as she grows from being a girl to a woman, and also about having healthy and safe pregnancies.
Ny will share what she learned about women’s health and reproduction with her own daughters. By educating Ny, Women’s Resource Center is making a difference for her entire family.
This Mother's Day, support a mother in Cambodia a chance to learn and grow, in honor of your Mom.