Project Spotlight: Women’s Empowerment

In a new series of features, we will be casting the spotlight on some of our integral projects, focusing on the lives of the people, animals, or communities that they directly benefit. 
 
To launch this new series, we’re meeting some of the ladies stories at one of our mot recent partners – the Women’s Empowerment project based in Siem Reap, Cambodia.  

The project provides previously marginalised women with new skills, a steady income and the opportunity for personal development in a safe, friendly and fun environment. They all have their own story to tell, many have come from abusive and very troubled backgrounds but they have put this behind them and have now become strong independent women who have the opportunity to learn, develop, earn and income and provide support for their families.

The ladies and support staff have been incredibly busy recently at the project. Have a read of some of their recent and upcoming highlights!

- The project has opened a new workshop and retail shop in the beautiful lanes near the old market in Siem Reap– in addition to the original workshop that still exists just outside of the city centre.
- With the expansion, the ladies have taken on commissions from various shops and brand-new luxury hotels to provide them with bespoke products.
- In December, they created a beautiful Christmas tree for the Made in Cambodia Market, as a centrepiece for their festive display.
- They have been asked to contribute to the Giant Puppet Parade as part of the ChubMet World Music Festival in Siem Reap in February – with some surprise designs that no one will have seen before!

- The project is also now looking at some new materials – in addition to the plastic bags they already work with - and we’re very excited to find out what new products they might unveil – so stayed tuned!

Nee

Why do you like coming to the project?I like coming to the project because I find it easy to create the products using the recycled plastic. It’s great that we are recycling the bags in Cambodia. I feel very proud that the NGO has given me a job. I am now very happy to come here and I am healthy.

How do you feel when you come here?
I am happy and proud to work at the project. It is the first time I have felt beautiful and good inside.

What impact has this had on your life?
Before I worked at the project I had nothing to do, I had no money and no education. Now I have money to give to my children. It is very good working here and my life is now much better than before.

Do you enjoy your Khmer classes and how do you feel about being able to now write your own name?
Yes, I enjoy my Khmer classes. I’m very happy that I can write my name in Khmer. I can read a little bit and now I am able to recognize words on the television and on signs around.

Souen

Why do you like coming to the project?
I like coming to the project because I find the work easy to do. I have learnt more about recycling and it’s good that the project helps people and helps keep the streets clean by taking the rubbish away which makes me very happy.

How do you feel when you come here?
I feel very proud to come to the project and I like everything about my work.

What impact has this had on your life?
Working here is nothing like my life before – I had no money and no job. Now I have a job and I have money and I have something to do.

Do you enjoy your Khmer classes? How do you feel about being able to now write your own name?
Yes, I enjoy my Khmer lessons. I am very happy that I can now write in Khmer, and that my Khmer has improved.

Sokki

Why do you like coming to the project?
I am very happy to come to the project because I now have a job. I enjoy helping Kate (project manager) I love to design the products and help the world by recycling the bags and not throwing them away or in the river.

You’re role is slightly different to the other women – what is your role?
My job here is a designer. I draw the products, including dresses, bags and other products. I also design bespoke products to order. My favourite thing to design is dresses!

*Sokki is making a dress from recycled plastic bags for the Giant Puppet Parade in Siem Reap in February. *

How do you feel when you come here?
I feel proud and excited to work here. I also work with my mother and my sister and I like working with them. Working here has changed my life because before, I was not healthy and didn’t have enough food to eat.