Empower HIV+ Women in Cambodia to Start a Business

by Salvation Centre Cambodia
Srey Bunna
Srey Bunna

Srey Bunna is a 25 year old woman who lives in Takok Village in Battambang Province. She has 7 brothers and sisters, Srey Bunna is the fourth daughter in her family.

Srey left High School during her 11th grade in 2008 because her family was in poverty.  She had to move to Malaysia in order to earn income that would help support her family in Cambodia.

After she returned from Malaysia in 2012 to her homeland, she heard of a program that teaches young girls sewing skill. She was very interested and wanted to learn sewing very much, so she visited SCC to ask for the opportunity to participate in the program and become a tailor.

Srey Bunna is a new participant in the sewing and tailoring program at SCC-F2F Community Centre. But her contagious laughter and smile hide her family's tragic story: When she was just seven years old, her father divorced her mother and later passed away suddenly.

Srey Bunna told us that she always wanted to learn sewing and tailoring when she was young but could never afford to pay for it.

"Before joining this program, life was difficult because I’ve desperately but unsuccessfully tried to scrape together enough money for sewing training," said Srey Bunna. “I am still very poor, but now I am happy because I have the chance to learn how to sew at SCC-F2F Community Centre. For the future I hope to gain enough professional skills for earning money on my own, so I’ll be able to help my mother.”

Srey Bunna’s biggest wish is to open a sewing business and sell clothes if she will have the opportunity someday. She would like to express her deepest thanks to all the individual donors and SCC related donating organizations, which have helped her in begin a new and better life

Srey Bunna 2
Srey Bunna 2
Students eating lunch provided by GG donations
Students eating lunch provided by GG donations

Salvation Centre Cambodia continues to be astonished at the generosity of individuals like you. Your donations have enabled SCC to continue to provide sewing vocational training for new selected women and interest free microloans to the poorest of the poor families, many of whom are women with HIV/AIDS and live at Battambang province Cambodia.

More than just vocational training, this unique sewing program also teaches orphaned girls and women suffering from HIV and poverty to manage finances, operate home businesses, and to assist similarly affected women in their community, SCC support for all materials for them to learn.

There are now 20 women (16 of whom are new students) chosen for learning sewing skills this term at the SCC community centre at Battambang.  The project assigned a new trainer for this skill and provided her with training materials and sufficient equipment.   She produced training modules and materials which were then distribute freely to all students to use as reference when needed.

"Before joining this sewing training, I was complicated and hopeless because I am very poor. Now I can learn skill to help my family. Thank you SCC for choosing me for this sewing project" said Sang Sodalisda. “I am now in very high spirits because I am learning how to sew at SCC. In the future I hope I will have the professional skills to earn money on my own, so I can help my family.”

Thanks to your generous donations through GlobalGiving, Salvation Centre Cambodia in Battambang has also been able to make additional interest-free loans to impoverished women, many living with HIV/AIDS. 

New Student Seang Sodalisda
New Student Seang Sodalisda

This has been a fantastic year for Salvation Centre Cambodia, especially with the work being done in the Battambang Province. Your donations have enabled us to train and support 32 women in vocational skills, provide 20 microloans to families affected by HIV, and much more. In addition to these life-changing programs, SCC-Battambang is also home to a school that provides supplementary education to Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC), many of whom are affected by HIV in their families.  

Attached is our annual report on these particular programs, so please read more about how your generosity is improving the lives of those in desperate need of your support. In addition to the work at the community center described in the annual report, SCC offers a wide range of support for those families struggling with HIV. This includes food support (in collaboration with the World Food Programme), microloans, HIV counseling, health monitoring, HIV prevention, emotional support and more. SCC prides itself on its holistic approach to combat this illness and give hope to those who are the most vulnerable. Read more on our website http://www.scc.org.kh/program.htm 

S'rei Mom showcases the work of SCC students

Salvation Centre Cambodia continues to be amazed at the generosity of individuals like you. Your donations have enabled us to continue to provide vocational training  and interest free microloans to the poorest of the poor, many of whom are women with HIV/AIDS. 

Yup S’rei Mom is just one of those women who receives support from Salvation Centre Cambodia. Yup S’rei Mom is 22 years old and lives in a rural village near Battambang with her elderly parents, her brother and her sister. Mom was lucky enough to have reached grade 12 in school, however, because so much of her home time was dedicated to caring for her frail mother and father, she did not have enough time to study and subsequently failed her final year exams. Because of her exam results and her family’s low income of only $5.50 per day, there was no way her education could continue any further.

Instead Mom went to live and work with neighbours in her community in the city of Poipet, at the border of Thailand. Rather than receiving pay, she was given servings of rice and accommodations in return for making alterations to clothes produced in Poipet. Feeling isolated from her family and with no prospects to a better future, Mom was in a vulnerable situation.

After being informed by a friend that there was a vacant position in the sewing class at Salvation Centre Cambodia, she embraced the opportunity. After nearly a year of training, Mom is headed for a brighter future; a future that will enable her to support herself and her family. The ability to create her own clothing and accessories has given Mom a new sense of pride and self esteem. She is able to share her experiences and teach others in her village, creating a ripple effect of skilled local talent.

Mom’s dream is to work with all styles of clothing so that she will be able to open her own shop and contribute to supporting her family.

To all Global Giving donors, Mom says “Thank you so much for supporting poor families like mine. Now I can learn sewing skills and have fun at the same time with my new friends. But please continue to donate money to SCC. Sometimes material and equipment is damaged or is of a poor quality and we cannot use it. We need money to pay for repairs or to buy new and better quality materials. I wish good blessings, good luck and good fortune for you and your families. Thank you again”.

Pou Somphors learning to sew
Pou Somphors learning to sew

Thanks to your generous donations through GlobalGiving, Salvation Centre Cambodia in Battambang has been able to make additional interest-free loans to impoverished women, many living with HIV/AIDS. We have also applied the donations to our vocational sewing program, purchasing fabric and sewing materials, as well as providing lunch for its participants. This training program offered by SCC gives young women from poor families, often living with HIV/AIDS the chance to develop new skills for themselves such that after graduating they will be able to generate their own income and provide a better future for their families.

Pou Somphors is one of these young women. Somphors’ mother died when she was just a teenager and she was left as the figurehead of the family, caring for her much younger sister and older grandmother. Somphors learned about the sewing training program through a family member that attended an HIV/AIDS self help group, another one of the many programs offered by SCC to support people living with HIV/AIDS. With an opportunity to gain skills and independently generate income, Somphors jumped at the chance. Somphors lives 16km from the training center and, although this initially posed a problem, generation donations enabled SCC to buy a bicycle for Somphors so that she could ride to and from class.

Now, at the age of 21, Somphors has been in the training full-time for one year. Her dream, she says, is to become sufficient in all styles of sewing and satisfy all types of customers while she is running her own business.

“Thank you so much for supporting everything offered to us in the class, and especially for the bicycle”, said Somphors. “It would not be possible for me or other girls from poor families to go to sewing classes were it not for the donations that paid for our bicycles. I would also like to thank SCC for the food we are given in the afternoon, easing the burden on my family’s living costs.”

The SCC-Battambang vocational sewing program gives young women from poor families both pride in their own work as well as hope for a more prosperous future.

Thank you for being part of the SCC family and supporting our work to combat the economic hardships that HIV imposes on women and their families in rural Cambodia.


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Organization Information

Salvation Centre Cambodia

Location: Phnom Penh - Cambodia
Website: http:/​/​www.scc.org.kh/​
Project Leader:
Kristy Becerra
Battambang, Cambodia

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