A word from our Chair
“Dear Friends of Cambodian Kids Can,
I trust you all enjoyed the festive season and 2019 is off to a great start! And for our Cambodian readers, we look forward to celebrating the Khmer New Year with you in April!
As always, a lot has happened in Prey Veng since our last newsletter!
In December, our Mekhala House girls and staff were invited on an all expenses paid study tour to Sihanoukville courtesy of his excellency Mr Sar Sokha, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport. This was a wonderful experience for our young students and a reminder of how valued our work is in the community.
Our Mekhala House girls recently enjoyed some yoga lessons and stress management classes, thanks to visiting board member Ka Mun and they are also busy training for an under 14’s football match in Phnom Penh later this month. These extra-curricular activities encourage the girls to develop a broad range of skills, including teamwork and leadership, that will put them in good stead for their futures.
At Mekhala Learning Centre, 55 more students have just completed our six month course which means we have now offered these courses to 598 students, greatly enhancing local employment prospects.
As for our Mekhala House alumni, we currently have 14 girls pursuing their dreams at university. Two of these girls, are still seeking sponsorship- Sok Srey Eay (who you may remember from our November newsletter) and Pich who you will hear from in this newsletter. Should you have any interest in sponsoring either of these girls we would love to hear from you!
In closing, a big thanks in anticipation for your ongoing support and I look forward to catching up at one of our many upcoming events!
A word from our girls: Meet Pich
“My name is Pich. I’m 21 years old. For the last 12 years I’ve been living in Mekhala House.
Before Mekhala House, I lived with my grandmother in a small house. My parents passed away when I was a child. Because of financial problems, my grandmother asked me to drop out of school in grade three. Every day after house work, I helped her to sell fried bananas and sometimes I went to the farm to look after the cow.
In 2007, I moved to Mekhala House. Since then, my life has changed to what I had never imagined. I got a chance to start school again, have enough food, clothes, and proper shelter. I don’t feel lonely as I have many friends both at school and in Mekhala House. After school, I and all the other girls learned English and computer with our teachers.
I now study Agriculture at Chea Sim University of Kamchaymear. I hope that I will be successful in my university studies and get a good job so that I can help my grandmother.”
A word from our volunteer Board: Meet Ka Mun
“I visited Prey Veng for the first time for five days in January 2019. During my stay, I ran English classes, sex education workshops, and a stress management workshop at Mekhala House. I also got to visit the local primary school and high school attended by the girls of Mekhala House. By far the best part of the trip though, was the opportunity to get to know the girls as we conversed at mealtimes and during free time between activities.
These experiences showed me what Cambodian Kids Can has made possible for the girls in our care. They came to us from disadvantaged backgrounds that meant their families could not afford to support them or send them to school. Given a safe, loving environment where they can focus on gaining a well-rounded education, they have developed into unique young women with the agency to determine their own futures.
For instance, Pich, whose boisterous personality belies the fact that she volunteers teaching English to local children at the pagoda. She was the loudest and had the most outrageous expressions when we played charades, but she also cares deeply about others, making sure I got back to the hotel safely in the evening.
I also met Sivmey, a high-achieving Year 12 student who feels keenly the weight of her peers’ expectations. She came into the office to say hello and stayed for an hour-long chat about what she wanted to do in the future and her thoughts on gender inequality in Cambodia.
Then there was Nak, who instantly offered to help when she saw me collecting litter around the Mekhala House compound. Quiet but observant, she was always willing to lend a hand. And Sreynoy, who is keeping Khmer culture alive by coaching the younger girls in traditional Khmer dance.
These young women all have distinct personalities, dreams and ambitions. What they have in common is that they are all thoughtful, confident and educated – no mean feat in a country where less than 45% of girls attend secondary school. I am excited to see how they make their mark on Cambodia in the years to come.”
Dates for your diary
International Women’s Day 2019: #balanceforbetter
This year, we’ll be celebrating International Women’s Day early! Lock the evening of Wednesday 5th March in your diary to celebrate the achievements of women across the globe! Stay tuned for more details!
Register Now to join our Run Melbourne team!
Looking for an excuse to get fit? Register for Run Melbourne, run alongside our volunteer board members and raise some money for our life changing work!