Senhoa Foundation

Supporting vulnerable persons and survivors of human trafficking by providing income-generating opportunities, social reintegration, and programs for self-empowerment. We believe in: - Income generation so that vulnerable women can gain economic independence. - Educational and social programs for intellectual empowerment. - Using business sensibilities to achieve humanitarian goals.
Mar 29, 2016

A Second Chance

Our artisans thriving in their jewelry career
Our artisans thriving in their jewelry career

Chaya* is Vietnamese and the eldest of 3 siblings and has 4 step-siblings. Her mother was her father's second wife. Chaya grew up poor and learned Khmer up to Level 2 and Vietnamese up to Level 3. As a young child, she and one of her sisters suffered abuse at the hands of a family member.

In 2009, Chaya approached Senhoa (when we were working under the nonprofit VOICE) for placement in a vocational training program. Right after she started the program, her mother fell ill and needed immediate and costly medical treatment. Desperate for the money to pay for the surgery, Chaya spoke to her family about working in a brothel. Despite starting a promising training program with Senhoa, she knew there was no other way to come up with the funds needed for her mother's operation. 

Senhoa stepped in and paid for the procedure for Chaya's mother. Chaya did not have to resort to her desperate plan to work for a brothel. She also entered Senhoa's safe house, rehabiliation and reintegration program, Lotus House, to stay away from her abuser. 

Chaya worked hard during her training and was promoted to jewelry trainer in the beginning of 2011. During her time with Senhoa she learned life skills, basic education and housekeeping and participated in a work internship to get more experience. The program taught her how to live independently, and in July 2011 the program reintegrated her to live in the community.

She enjoyed her time with Senhoa but in 2012 had to return to Vietnam to sort out some family issues. While she lived there, her mother's health improved and she got a good job in the city.

Senhoa followed up with Chaya in April of 2015 to see how she was doing and asked if she was open to working as a Supervisor and Design Coordinator for us. Chaya showed exceptional skill when she was in our jewelry program and at the time we were in need of someone to fill this role. We offered to pay for her moving costs back to Siem Reap, and Chaya agreed to come back. 

Chaya: I am so thankful of what Senhoa has done for me.

The day that I know Senhoa, it looks like the lucky day for my life. If I do not know Senhoa program maybe I am not who I am today. Senhoa saved my mom’s life and my future. I cannot imagine if Senhoa program does not come to me. What can I do if does not have this program?

The last 6 years I did not imagine that I will have today. I am only a simple girl and will be a simple person in future, did not have a job and life is bad, too. Because I am a Vietnamese girl and the most of Vietnamese girls in Cambodia always choose the easy way to get the money. They all get a job in the bad places. Sure that I will choose the same way to them when my family has problem with finance and my mom also sick at that time. But when I know Senhoa program everything has changed. The program supported in my mom’s treatment and gave me the job also. Senhoa taught me how to have confidence in myself. How to have a dream and how to catch it and make it come true.

Last few years I wrote a letter by pen and paper, but now I can write these letters today by typing is because I have Senhoa and who are supporting the program. These letters cannot show out all my grateful to Senhoa program but what all of you are doing is not futile.

Today for small amount of people, tomorrow will for a lot of futures and dreams.

I hope this program will open in the others country that has people like me.

 

 

*Chaya: name has been changed for privacy.

Mar 1, 2016

Success on Two Fronts

It is refreshing when I feel like the work I do with the teachers is actually making a difference in how they assess and work with the young children of Lotus Kids' Club. And it’s heartwarming when the learning and knowledge the teachers now have has a positive and long-term impact on a child.

Anyone who works with young children knows that each child is unique. When   working with young children it is important to not only know a child’s age but also, and more importantly, their developmental stage. It’s all about ages and stages.

We have a young boy 5 years old in our Preschool/Kindergarten Program where the children are 4-6 years old. We split those children up by age or what stage we believe they are at when they begin the school year. One group who will have another year in our program—the “younger kids—meet for a brief “circle time” before free play. The other group, who has already spent a year in the program, spend more time with a teacher before free play. They will be exposed to more formal learning (letters, numbers, literacy work) in a fun way with songs, rhymes and books.

This 5-year-old boy ended up in the latter group although it was his first year with us. I feel the first success was that the teachers realized that he wasn’t very happy being at LKC. He didn’t interact very much with the other kids, and he seemed sullen and stressed. In the formal learning class he did not participate. There are expectations for that class to begin learning the basics of literacy and do homework, mostly practicing writing numbers and letters. He rarely completed the work. Unfortunately he was also beginning to be absent a lot and not wanting to come to LKC.

After the teachers and Social Worker spoke with the parents it was decided that he was not ready to be in the older kids’ group. He was placed in the younger kids’ group.

This was the second success. He adjusted quickly to the younger group and then began to thrive. He was interacting more with his playmates, he spoke more at the small group circle time even raising his hand to offer his thoughts. His whole demeanor changed to being more joyful and he rarely is absent now.

Our main goal in Lotus Kids’ Club’s Preschool/Kindergarten Program is to prepare the children for primary school. This means instilling in them a thirst for knowledge, to have them feel learning is pleasurable. We want them to feel confident in themselves and competent in their abilities. We want them to be able to communicate their feelings, thoughts and ideas. We want them to develop good self-control. In general we want them to strengthen their social skills and emotional characteristics. This takes practice, and that practice happens best through play and being in the appropriate setting.

For this young boy that setting was one less formal with little pressure to perform at a level he was not developmentally able to accomplish. Without the teachers’ caring, observation and assessment he may still be struggling to just keep up. Now this boy will have a much greater chance of developing and strengthening those necessary skills and characteristics to be successful in school and in fact life itself.

Jan 15, 2016

An Artisan's Story

Our artisans at a self-improvement workshop.
Our artisans at a self-improvement workshop.

Sovanna is 22 years old and one of our most skilled and committed artisans in our program. She came from a farming family with 6 other siblings in the household. Aside from economic struggles, Sovanna had to deal with domestic violence at home.

In grade 8, Sovanna quit school to find more income for her family. Her family wanted her to work in the capital at a sewing company. Although she missed school and wanted to continue her studies, her responsibility to care for her family had her planning to migrate to Thailand for a better opportunity.
In 2010, she was able to move to Siem Reap and found a job as a nanny for $0.50 USD a day. She became friends with one of our artisans who eventually introduced Sovanna to Senhoa and recruited her for jewelry training. She was able to get not only a better salary but also the opportunity to return to school. She began working part-time at Senhoa and continued her studies until she graduated Grade 12 in September 2015. 
“I would like to say thank you to Senhoa Foundation and donors who have supported my education. If I didn’t meet Senhoa, I might be a migrant in Thailand” - Sovanna 
She hopes to continue her studies at a university in 2016.
Our artisans at work. Photo by John D Russell.
Our artisans at work. Photo by John D Russell.
 
   

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