Sophal, our Legal Aid workshop facilitator
This year, thanks to your support, we kicked off a new workshop on Family Law and Domestic Violence to make sure women here know their rights, how to protect them, and how to navigate the murky processes it sometimes takes to do it. We just completed our first sessions, and we wanted to drop you a note to tell you how it went and thank you for making programs like this possible.
Here’s an interview with Sophal Ken, the workshop’s facilitator, to tell you a bit about the program and how the first sessions went. Sophal comes to WRC with a law degree from the Royal University of Phnom Penh and crafted the curriculum for this course especially for WRC.
This interview has been translated from Khmer, the native language of Cambodia.
WRC: What are the goals of the course?
Sophal: We want participants to understand the importance of civil status (birth, marriage, and death registration), divorce rights, property rights, and especially the complicated procedures involved.
Also, regarding domestic violence, it’s really important for women to know healthy and unhealthy signs in a relationship and especially how domestic violence impacts not only the victim, but the family, children and the community.
WRC: What are your students like?
Sophal: My participants are of varying education and backgrounds. They work in different jobs, from teachers to NGO workers, aged from 22-35 years old. [This is beneficial because] we are not only sharing legal facts with them. We also want them to share their experiences and learn from each other. In their pre-tests, I found that most of them knew very little about the topics covered before the workshop.
WRC: Were you pleased with the outcome? Was there anything that surprised you?
Sophal: The most surprising thing for me in this group was how much they improved their knowledge. I play a “hot potato” game at the end of the workshop to test their knowledge. They all could answer every question correctly! I conducted a formal post-test, as well, and saw an average score of 90 percent.
Also, one particular woman shared with me that she felt a new understanding about her relationship. She said she didn’t recognize before what an unhealthy relationship or emotional abuse are. “I learned a lot from the workshop,” she said.
Again, thank you for all that you do to support Women's Resource Center and make sure that we can continue our mission to inform and empower the women of Cambodia.