Siem Reap, Cambodia
To empower Cambodians to create sustainable futures for themselves through projects focused on education, vocational training and community support.
For Cambodian to transform their lives through empowering and sustainable methods which are passed on from generation to generation.
With 20% of Cambodians living below the poverty line, we focus on addressing the causes of poverty instead of giving out direct aid. We have identified the causes of poverty in our communes are quite simply, a lack of education and training. When our villagers are not educated, their job opportunities are limited; hence they end up working as builders, rice farmers, begging, etc. There are many underlying issues associated with a lack of education, including hygiene issues, domestic violence, poor nutrition and bad behaviour.
Our English program equips our students with a language required in all tourism related jobs. Our living values program empowers our students with knowledge on topics such as hygiene, child abuse, rights of the child and tolerance. Our preschool program keeps small children off the streets and provides them with Khmer language skills, which then proves to their parents how important education is, and results in them enrolling their children in public school. Our art class encourages creativity and independent thinking, which is often stifled at public school. Our Khmer language classes ensure children who are of school age, yet not in school, get the language skills they need on the condition they are enrolled in public school when registration opens next.
Additionally, the community needs to diversify the types of jobs available and have access to vocational training to create and attain other opportunities. We provide a year long sewing program to marginalised villagers, providing them with a sustainable skill in addition to chemical-free farming training and weekly life skills workshops. Our students are able to borrow sewing machines through the microfinance component of our sewing program and receive small business advice, enabling them to generate income themselves.
The use of chemical pesticides in Cambodia is frightening, and our family farm program teaches chemical-free farming to our villagers over the course of six months, resulting in the villagers involved turning their unused land into a farm full of nutritious vegetables they can sell or use to feed their families.
There is also a need for financial support to help people get business ventures started, which our microfinance program can support.
The community in addition needs general support; e.g. someone trained to help assist with parenting issues, family violence, etc. In particular there is a need for this to be culturally appropriate and non-judgmental. Our community workshops on domestic violence, child protection and budgeting aim to address these issues, in addition to general community outreach.
Only around 16% of Cambodians move into tertiary education when finishing high school. The inability to pay fees is one of the reasons for this. In order to invest in our community we also must invest in our staff, which is why we provide university scholarships to our team. They are able to develop themselves and take the knowledge they have learnt to pass onto other staff and use in their roles at our organisation.
By working directly with the community and providing them with knowledge and training, we can increase their capacity but also have an influence over their attitudes, which is a big cause of poverty. By addressing these development needs, our community members can increase their income and feel the impact for generations to come.
Saney studied until second grade in school, and as a result, didn’t have the knowledge or skills to gain a stable job. She, her husband and her daughter only had enough money to eat two meals a day.
After studying for a year in our sewing program and borrowing a machine through our microfinance program, Saney now has a thriving sewing business at her home, a stable income and an increased standard of living. Her daughter now studies English with us, her business continues to expand and now she has gained respect from her husband.
“My life has changed a lot comparing to before I learned sewing skill at HHA. Now I am not just relying on my husband to earn the income or to work very hard as a builder again because I can earn a stable income and I have enough money to support my family, especially to buy healthy food and my daughter’s study. I have new life with self-esteem and love from my husband. I am very happy when my husband said ‘I can earn much money than him’.”
Human and Hope Association
Sambour Commune, 0000 Siem Reap