Cambodian Women's Development Agency

Vision: Women and children in Cambodia have quality of life, dignity, safety and are free from discrimination. Mission: To enhance the capacity of women in Cambodia through empowerment, education, self-development and advocacy in collaboration with stake-holders. Goal: To find practical and innovative solutions to social problems by empowering vulnerable women and children in under-served communities to govern their own lives and become autonomous and self-reliant.
Dec 30, 2015

Our girls return to school!

A new school uniform for high school
A new school uniform for high school

With the end of rainy season approaching, our girls returned to school in November. As is customary in the Cambodian (public) school system, they attend either morning or afternoon sessions in primary, secondary and high school. During their free time, they are supported by CWDA staff in reviewing lessons and receive additional classes on difficult subjects.

Thanks to the funds raised through Global Giving, they returned in new uniforms and backpacks filled with essential school materials and books. What is more, all of our girls received two new pairs of shoes which they have been proudly wearing every day. Thavy* who now attends high school particularly likes her brand-new backpack which she says made her feel much more excited about returning to school. 

The funds from our Global Giving campaign have also allowed us to support two girls from the shelter to go on to university in Phnom Penh. While they also hold jobs at local NGOs, they have been studying hard to keep up with their peers in university. CWDA staff regularly provide counseling to them.

All of the girls living in the shelter have also regularly attended meetings of the Girls Speak Out (GSO) advocacy program offered with support by COSECAM. These events bring together young trafficking victims who provide mutual support, engage in confidence-building exercises, and advocacy training.

Our girls in particular learned about child rights in Cambodia and how to recognize and address everyday issues themselves. Ravin* particularly enjoys meeting other girls in similar situations and relating to them through activities and story telling.

The highlight of this program was certainly a trip to Kampong Thom province in December 2015 where they got to see a new part of Cambodia, interact with their peers and enjoy themselves during a fun-filled day. Kanha* now wants to see as many provinces around Cambodia as possible to learn more about her own home country.

The staff at CWDA would like to thank you for your much-need support for our girls who continue to thrive in school and outside. 

*Names have been changed

GSO trip to Kampong Thom
GSO trip to Kampong Thom
Sep 29, 2015

Crafting and hospitality lessons for our girls

Flower girl
Flower girl

Preparations for the internationally celebrated Peace Day helped our girls discover their more creative sides. The team at Skateistan Cambodia showed the girls how to make intricate paper flowers to be used in Skateistan Cambodia's Peace Day ceremony on September 25th 2015.

Our girls quickly picked up the required techniques and joined their peers and other volunteers in producing a considerable number of colorful flowers. Each of our girls dedicated one flower to an especially important person in their lives. SreyNuth* for example, gave her flower to her mother, saying that she loved her very much. Chanthana* went wild with colors, creating green, blue and purple flowers in a single afternoon.

Besides flower-making, the girls enjoyed many a skating session over the course of the past summer months. One of the older girls in the shelter, Rothana* has started to volunteer 2-3 times per week as a skating instructor. Being responsible for the safety and progress of younger kids, she says she feels empowered and more confident in her own abilities.

Several workshops held at the Cambodian Women's Development Agency gave the girls a unique opportunity to learn more about the topic of hospitality. With tourism being one of Cambodia's most important industries, these skills cannot be valued highly enough.

The girls' shelter mother instructed them in preparing a variety of traditional dishes, ranging from savory pastries and meat-filled buns to sweet coconut jelly for the workshop participants. Besides perfecting their knowledge on general food preparation, they were also able to learn the art of carving appealing designs into watermelons, pine apples and rambutan (a kind of lychee commonly found in South-East Asia) as well as correctly displaying these fruit with a variety of condiments including spicy-sweet chili sugar.

The girls enjoyed these activities a lot as there was always some fresh fruit that could be snacked on during the preparation process.

Thank you! As always, these activities were made possible due to generous donations from CWDA's donors from around the world. As our girls continue to strive we look forward to meeting the responsible, well-trained and kind adults they will become.

 

*not their real names

Teaching instructor
Teaching instructor
May 27, 2015

The girls love to skateboard!

The girls in their gear
The girls in their gear

CWDA has been collaborating with Skateistan Cambodia since 2012. Skateistan’s mission is to use skateboarding as a tool for empowerment, to create new opportunities and the potential for change for vulnerable youth. As it’s second project after its monumental success in Afghanistan, Skateistan is now impacting the lives of many youths, including our girls, here in Cambodia.

Every Thursday without fail the girls attend a two hour session at the skateboarding park in Phnom Penh. Getting in the tuktuk on the dot of 1.30pm in order to arrive in plenty of time, they jitter with excitement. Arriving at the park, it is easy to understand why.

The sense of community and empowerment felt when walking into the skateboarding park is overwhelming. Skateboarding has become an outlet for creative expression for the girls; they have so much fun showing off their skills on the different ramps and learning new tricks – and they are very good! The girls are well and affectionately known here by the instructors and other students, having been some of the first students of Skateistan Cambodia.

Watching them, it is clear how much they cherish the opportunity each week. Not only does having such an unique hobby increase self-confidence, it develops trust, friendship and valuable life skills such as leadership and teamwork.

Soryah*, one of the older girls, says that skateboarding gives her the opportunity to “escape” and to relieve her stress through exercise. Meymey* loves going each week to meet up with her friends and always has so much fun.

Sokcchoeun, the safe shelter house mother, told me how proud she is of the girls, and that whenever there are competitions people remark on how they skateboard just as well as the boys!

Donations continue make this weekly opportunity possible for the girls, covering the costs of transportation each week and to skateboarding events, as well as appropriate clothing for their hobby.

Everyone at CWDA want to sincerely thank you for your continuing support.

*Not their real names

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