It’s no surprise that the last three months have been full of challenges caused by COVID-19. But it may be a surprise to know that we consider these months to be the most impactful yet. Because when girls are vulnerable, our work is more valuable than ever. So we don’t give up. We continue to provide essential emergency relief to keep girls safe, supported and encouraged.
And despite everything, we have opened the Shine Centre!
This one-of-a-kind centre offers leadership opportunities, training, mentorship, and educational support for girls at risk of being trafficked. We envision a future where all girls are protected and have the opportunity and freedom to realise their dreams. This starts by building a strong resistance to trafficking and exploitation for every girl. And it starts here… for girls like Chanvatey.
Chanvatey was a 12 year-old waitress. If she stayed, she would likely be recruited into exploitative work, or worse. She knew how important education was but was also the oldest child and under pressure to provide for her struggling family. Chanvatey approached one of our AusCam social workers, who performed an initial assessment and discovered her father was an alcoholic and physically abusive. So he was connected with counselling services and it was quickly discovered that he suffered from severe mental illness. After being prescribed antidepressants, his condition significantly improved. Chanvatey was given a bicycle so she could get to school more safely and her family received food support to reduce their household costs. She has now quit her job, focusing on her studies and is now ranked fourth in her class.
She wants to go to university. She wants to study accounting. She wants to work in a bank and help other girls find the freedom she has found.
And there are more like her… 181 to be exact. Girls in secondary school = 150 Girls in university = 17 Girls in vocational training = 1 (Music School) Girls working in valuable careers = 6 Girls coming in through our crisis (“Freedom”) hotline = 7
We ran lifeskills training for 45 girls, career counselling for 47 girls and girls clubs for 46 girls.
And they’re families… 17 families received 540kg of rice 14 girls/families received health support 5 girls and 3 families received counselling 11 cases identified as high risk requiring more intensive support and case management.
We had workshops on values and decision-making, and sexual and reproductive health and rights for hundreds of girls. Tutoring classes to start this month!
Unfortunately Cambodia has now seen all schools closed again, including our Shine Centre. But this is just a temporary pause in our impact. We will continue as soon as we get the green light.
We envision a world free of exploitation and trafficking, and never before has the opportunity to lower the risk been given to those directly at risk. And we plan to look back and see a generation of girls who took that opportunity.
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