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Protect 20 girls from abuse in Cambodia

by Cambodian Women's Development Agency
Protect 20 girls from abuse in Cambodia
Protect 20 girls from abuse in Cambodia
Protect 20 girls from abuse in Cambodia
Protect 20 girls from abuse in Cambodia
Protect 20 girls from abuse in Cambodia
Protect 20 girls from abuse in Cambodia
Protect 20 girls from abuse in Cambodia
Protect 20 girls from abuse in Cambodia
Our two university students
Our two university students

This is an email to say thanks so much for your support over the last four years - your generosity has enabled the young women we've worked with to be nurtured, healthy and achieve their potential - and also to announce the closure of this project.

In recent months, CWDA has reviewed and revised our provison for young women who are at risk of being traffiicked. This is to ensure that we're complying with best practice in childcare and education. Simply put, children are best looked after in family situations and shelter care should only ever be the last alternative.

We've assessed the families of children we support and worked out what needs to be put in place for them to guarantee that the children are safe, healthy and remain in school. We are in a position to now support 14 families of children who have been identified by the local authorities as at risk of being trafficked or dropping out of education. This might be because their families have suffered bereavement, illness or disabilty. The village which we're concentrating on is 36km from Phnom Penh, but the roads are in bad condition so it's actually quite hard for families to access all the opportunities available. We're ensuring that local authorities safeguard these children appropriately and will provide ongoing financial support and education to care-givers.

CWDA will also continue to support our two previous residents who now attend university.These two young women are the first of our residents to attend university, and are studying Management and Accountancy - two careers which are in demand in Cambodia's developing economy.

We're excited about the new opportunity to support children and families in the best way we can. We're also very proud of the progress which the young women who've accessed our provision have made. Take Chanda, a girl who arrived with us at the age of 9. She hadn't attended school for some time as her Mum was suffering from mental health issues which meant she relied on Chanda to look after the younger children. Not being in education, being a young carer and having a difficult home life are real 'push' factors for being victimised by traffickers. When she first lived with us Chanda found it hard to listen to advice and information and struggled to concentrate at school. Years of patient care, and encouragement has meant that she is now achieving her potential in lessons and has good friendships with peers and healthy relationships with adults.

Other highlights of the Safe Shelter programme have included "Girls Speak Out" - a project which we've collaberated with several other NGOs on. Through this the young women have gained confidence and knowledge to enable them to be peer-educators on topics like positive relationships, safety and gender equality. Your donations have also enabled young women to access much-needed lesiure and cultural activities - a field trip to Ankhor Wat, weekly swimming, skateboarding and yoga lessons and English lessons with native-speaking volunteers.

If you'd like to continue your support for the work of CWDA - please visit our other projects on the Global Giving website. These projects will include supporting the 20 families we've identified and continuing to provide for the education of our two young women who attend university.

In the meantime - thanks a million - and we wish you all the best.

Playing in the Olympic Stadium
Playing in the Olympic Stadium
Skateboarding
Skateboarding
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one of our young women enjoying playing in the sun
one of our young women enjoying playing in the sun

This is a quarterly report from CWDA's project "Safe Shelter" which offers accommodation and intensive support to young women aged 11 -18 who have experienced or have been at risk of gender-based violence in their home. With us, they get a chance to recover, heal and access education, health and other resources.

You'll be aware of how your support has meant that the girls are able to be involved in education and positive activities. They continue to suceed and achieve at school and enjoy sport, personal development and well-being programmes. Through partnerships with other well-respected NGO's such as Skateistan, ECPAT and Krama Yoga the children can participate in their activities, which have made a real and proven difference to both their aspirations and well-being.

We are exceptionally proud of Sokunthea (not her real name) who arrived with us aged 12 after being trafficked into domestic servitide. A very bright child, she arrived with us having lost out on years of school and her childhood, and suffering from symptoms related to the trauma she'd experienced. The profesional care and support she recived from CWDA enabled her to heal and learn- both in formal education and about her rights as a young woman. She is now 19 and working part-time for a Sports NGO, teaching and as their accountant assistant as well as studying for her degree at 'Human Resources University' in Phnom Penh. One of her ambitions is to head up an organisation fighting for womens and children's rights.. She represents the stunning potential of Cambodian young people, and her achievements simply would not have been possible without your support. Thank you so much.

However, things will be changing at CWDA, including the Safe Shelter Programme. We are looking into ways of supporting young women and girls to live in their home communities - free of gender-based violence and with the ability to access formal education. We're really excited to give you news about how this will happen in the near future. We have just celebrated Khmer New Year, so it is a great time to start new projects, consolidate our previous work and really look forward to a posivite and productive future..

Once again,we appreciate your previous donations and can't understate what a difference they've made to the lives of many young people here in Phnom Penh. 

With very best wishes,

Anna and Phanna

Anna Reilly, Technical Advisor & Phanna Hun, Executive Director

CWDA - Cambodian Women's Development Agency

Sokunthea showing off her skills at work
Sokunthea showing off her skills at work
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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
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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
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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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Organization Information

Cambodian Women's Development Agency

Location: Khan Makara 7, Phnom Penh - Cambodia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @CWDA1
Cambodian Women's Development Agency
Anna Reilly
Project Leader:
Anna Reilly
Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh Cambodia

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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