Students at Siem Reap's best school celebrate
The last three months were one of our busiest and most exciting. We got some really exciting news when Chann Sar Lower Secondary School, who we support with your help, was named Siem Reap's number 1 school for Outstanding Achievement by the Siem Reap Youth and Sports Education Congress.
What makes this achievement incredible is that just two years ago their school was struggling with teacher shortages, demoralised students and a community that wasn't fully engaged. That's why TLC was asked to support the school, encouraging the community and students to play a much more active role in the school's development, backed by an enthusiastic principal and team of teachers.
In just two years the school has grown remarkably fast, the community has formed an energetic School Support Committee, the student council is active, the facilities are enhanced and teaching has improved so much that they are now a shining example to other schools.
We also undertook a rather serious campaign. When we do our work in schools, and in communities generally, we are often told that domestic violence is one of the biggest problems families face. This affects children as much as women and can blight their education.
At least 1 in 5 Cambodian women experience domestic violence, as well as almost 50% of children. Yet only 8% of the population knows that there is a law that gives women and children the right to live a life free of violence. These tragic facts inspired End Violence Together, a creative campaign we put together to raise awareness of the law and provide practical support to those experiencing violence.
Many celebrated Cambodians publicly backed the campaign, amplifying its message by recording video messages, sharing photographs, and writing messages of support. Well known supporters include Nikki Nikki, Yan Linda, Mr Oun, Ting Tong, Sam Rocker, Nov Dana and Catherine Harry.
The flagship of the campaign was a creative short film exploring the danger inside many homes, and imagining a world where abused women and children have to wear motorcycle helmets inside their own houses to protect themselves. Of course, in the real world this is not possible, which is why the video directs people to an interactive campaign page which includes a copy of the domestic violence law and information on where women can seek help. The team at This Life Cambodia even created the country’s first audio version of the law, recognizing there were no resources for people who cannot read. These resources will now be available to anyone in Cambodia experiencing violence.
To date the campaign has reached more than 1,800,000 Cambodians, while the video has been seen by almost 1,000,000. 200,000 have engaged with the campaign through sharing, liking, commenting and using a specially designed Facebook “helmet” frame. We have heard many stories of women taking action to end violence as a result of the campaign and will be measuring whether its impact is lasting in 2019.