Pharady with volunteer Chhav Sokhey in Prey Kuy
Happy New Year from Youth Star! As I write this report Cambodia is caught up in celebrating the beginning of the Chinese New Year (the year of the monkey) and there is the usual mayhem and festivities on our streets. This is one of my favourite times of the year in Cambodia, with the colourful displays of lanterns, puppets and tradition of gift giving. The only part I don't like is that it takes me three times as long to travel from the Youth Star office in Phnom Penh to my home!
This report profiles our program officer and rising star Ms Kao Sokunpharady (or 'Pharady' as she is known to us), who has the important responsibility of helping support 12 volunteers out in the field. Pharady’s work history before joining Youth Star has provided an excellent background for her current activities. Her resumé includes stints with the Cambodian Ministry of Women’s Affairs (assisting vulnerable women and children); the Junior Chamber Movement; and as a project coordinator for Caring for Young Khmer, which runs a child-care program to assist the healthy development of deprived young children in impoverished Cambodian villages.
Pharady joined us in August 2015 and particularly likes visiting our volunteers out in the field, whom she coaches, supervises and mentors during their placements. She is impressed by the ‘capacity building’ aspect of our work, achieved through our Youth Star volunteers training local volunteers to run ongoing programs. These programs include book clubs, tuition for “out-of-school children” (to assist their reintegration into the school system), helping run youth and children’s clubs and providing lessons in literacy and numeracy.
I asked Pharady to describe the skills she was learning from her Youth Star work and her response was “Management, leadership, communication, facilitation, problem solving, planning, report writing, monitoring and evaluation are the simply great skills I earn from working in the current position.” She is also observing the civic leadership skills being developed by our volunteers, enabling them to be “agents for change” in developing a more inclusive and democratic Cambodian civil society.
Pharady holds bachelor’s degrees from the Institute of Foreign Languages and Royal University of Law and Economics majoring in Education in English and Public Administration.
As always, if you would like any further detail on Youth Star’s programs and activities please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pharady with female volunteers in cohort 21
With local partner Mrs Sokin in Trapeang Ruessei
With the children In Kompong Chen Choueng commune