Most recently, our head office team visited Cambodia and Laos for nearly two weeks. We had a number of missions to achieve, most of which were executed flawlessly. I share them with you below.
Our first sets of meetings were with various members of the Cambodian government, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Cooperation, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Social Affairs, Veteran & Youth Rehabilitation. We met with the office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enquire about our registration efforts as an NGO in Cambodia. We were advised that our request is still pending, and that we should resubmit all paperwork again. And so the journey continues as we push ahead to obtain official recognition for the work that we have and are doing in Cambodia.
For the past few months, we have been corresponding and working with a wonderful NGO in Cambodia called the Cambodian Center for the Protection of Children’s Rights (CCPCR). On this trip, I had the pleasure of meeting face to face (after months of conference calls!) with Mr Nget Thy, Executive Director of CCPCR. We discussed in length the details of our partnership agreement. Senhoa and CCPCR are now in the final stages of setting up the CCPCR Lotus House, a transition home for up to 15 women, providing them with safe and secure subsidized accommodation. We have two specific targets in mind:
· Young women who are vulnerable to sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking;
· Women who have completed a shelter program and are in ‘transition’ from living in a shelter to full reintegration back into society.
For the past six months, we have informally provided accommodations to women in need; the CCPCR Lotus House is an official launch and continuation of this work. It is planned that the Lotus House will commence operation in January 2011.
Another exciting project is the re-launch of a community center to provide early childhood development programs and community-building activities to marginalized families in Cambodia. Children are taught to develop social skills, motor skills, encourage mental and emotional growth and prepare them for entry into primary school. They are washed and provided with a nutritious snack, vitamins and regular medical check-ups. After school hours, the space is also used as a community center, providing community-building workshops. Senhoa will be partnering with Million Kids to re-open this facility in January 2011.
The final leg of our trip was a visit to AFESIP in Laos. AFESIP Laos combats the causes and consequences of trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls. In addition to providing holistic care and recovery for those rescued, we were particularly drawn to AFESIP’s social enterprise projects, which aim to support sustainable community reintegration. Our research trip was made very pleasant by the friendly staff at AFESIP, and particularly the Executive Director, Dr Didier Bertrand. It is our hope that one day, Senhoa could work with AFESIP Laos in partnership to provide more sustainable solutions to women in need.
Until next time,
The team at Head Office